Following their success at the 2012 Isle of Man TT races Mansfield brothers Ben and Tom Birchall headed directly to Hungary for round two of the FIM World Sidecar championship at Hungaroring where they just missed out on a podium finish in the 17 lap race.
The brothers spent time during free practice learning their way around the unfamiliar circuit as they had never raced at Hungaroring before. Despite the hot and overcast conditions the Mitchells of Mansfield supported brothers recorded the third fastest time in the first of two qualifying sessions on Saturday. But they stepped up the pace for final qualifying and took pole position ahead of current world champions Pekka Paivarinta and Adolf Hanni.
The race was scheduled to run over 18 laps but after just two laps the red flag brought the race to a halt because of rain. After a lengthy delay the riders took their positions for a restart to be run as a new race over the shortened distance of 17 laps.
As the lights went out the Birchall brothers slotted into second place but were relegated down to fourth on lap four. There followed a monumental dispute for position with the top two outfits of Paivarinta/Hanni and Steinhausen/Cluze pulling away to take part in their own battle, leaving Ben and Tom to tussle with Reeves/Hawes for the remaining podium position.
By lap 13 Ben and Tom had established third place which they maintained until the last corner of the final lap when Reeves managed to force a pass and snatch third place at the chequered flag. Ben and Tom were fourth, just 0.4s behind their rivals to pick up a further 13 championship points bringing their total to 33 and placing them third in the overall rider standings.
Ben said: “After heading directly to Hungary from a hectic two weeks in the Isle of Man we were a bit drained but we soon recovered and set about learning the unfamiliar track layout, getting up to speed to take pole position in qualifying. We are gutted to have missed out on the podium finish but we are still in touch with the series leaders and will be seeking two top results from the next round at Rijeka in Croatia at the weekend (17th June).”
Ben and Tom will benefit from two races in Croatia; free practice takes place on Friday with two qualifying sessions on Saturday morning to determine the grid for the 10-lap sprint race later in the day. The 18-lap gold race is on Sunday At 12.45pm. (11.45am BST).
Pic credit: Wally Walters