Hot on the heels of the first time appearance of triple World Champion Tim Reeves last year, the Nottinghamshire brothers will pit their talents against the challenging Mountain Course for the first time in 2009 and have purchased a 600cc LCR Honda outfit for their TT debut. The Mansfield based duo will tackle the first three rounds of the British F2 Championship in order to help them adjust to the smaller outfit prior to the TT whilst they will again be competing in the F1 World Sidecar Championship.
Elder brother Ben (32) spent four years as a passenger before taking over the controls of his own outfit in 2003 when he was joined by younger brother Tom (22) and they have rapidly moved through the ranks ever since. After finishing 2nd in the 2005 British F1 Sidecar Championship, the pairing moved in to the World Championship in 2006 and in the three ensuing years, they have made excellent progress, finishing 13th, 5th and then 3rd in 2008, their best season to date, where they took a win at Rijeka, Croatia and recorded four podiums along the way.
As well as going into 2009 as major World Championship contenders, Ben and Tom are keen to make an impression at the Isle of Man TT, an event they have always been keen to try. With this in mind they began talking to the Isle of Man race organisers in August last year and they readily entered this year’s event where they will contest both three-lap Sure Sidecar Races.
Backed by Mitchell’s of Mansfield, the brothers have spent the winter months preparing both outfits for the coming season and have spent considerable time on the Island, studying the 37 ¾-mile course in great depth to ensure that they are fully prepared for their eagerly awaited debut.
With 2 of the top 3 finishers in last year’s World Championship on the entry list for the 2009 TT, as well as the established leading runners, including Nick Crowe, Dave Molyneux, John Holden and Klaus Klaffenböck, the F2 Sidecar races at the Isle of Man continue to be the most prestigious sidecar races in the world and the two races in June promise action and quality of the very highest order.
The 2009 Isle of Man TT begins with a week of practice from May 30th through to June 5th with the two three-lap Sure Sidecar Races set for Saturday June 6th and Wednesday June 10th.
Ben Birchall commented:
“We’ve done our homework on the Isle of Man but realise that we still have a lot to learn and that there is no substitute for track time. There is a really talented, experienced field lining up in the two races but Tim Reeves’ success last year in achieving a podium in his first year has given us inspiration and we’ll be looking to emulate his achievements.”
Hon Martyn Quayle MHK, Minister for Tourism and Leisure, commented:
“We are delighted to attract racers of the calibre of the Ben and Tom Birchall for the Sure Sidecar Races. I’m sure that they’ll attract many new fans with their exciting racing style and they are a welcome addition to an already strong field.”