It was not the start to the season that Ben and Tom Birchall either wanted or needed as Mansfield’s sidecare racing brothers were forced to pull out of the opening round of the 2013 Eastern Airways British F1 Sidecar Championship at Brands Hatch after encountering technical gremlins during free practice and qualifying.
They lost valuable track time on Friday as they failed to complete a full lap of the short Kent Indy circuit and worked long into the evening to try to rectify the problem.
They did however get out for qualifying on Saturday but after setting the second fastest lap which would have given then a front row start to the first race later that day they were forced to pull in with further problems to the Mitchells of Mansfield-supported outfit.
“The new bike is still in the early stages of development,” said Ben. “Despite the extensive pre season test programme we unfortunately encountered some technical issues at Brands, which can be expected as the new outfit is still in its infancy.
“But even the brief few laps we did put in on Saturday we were quicker than ever before so we are quite excited about what is yet to come once we sort out these technical issues.
“We knew we would not be out in the second race and so withdrew to gain extra time to work on the outfit as we have an uphill battle to be prepared for the first round of the world championship at Aragon in Spain at the weekend. It’s a race against time and touch and go whether we make it although even with only a few days before we have to leave for Spain we are optimistic we will be on the grid.”
There are two qualifying sessions, one on Friday and final qualifying on Saturday ahead of the 15-lap race that is scheduled to take place at 6.10pm CET.