Birchall brothers miss final British Sidecar 600 Cup races at Brands Hatch

SUBSTITUTE STARS -- Michael Dunlop and Dan Sayle.

SUBSTITUTE STARS -- Michael Dunlop and Dan Sayle.

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Newly-crowned champions Ben and Tom Birchall were unable to compete in the final two races of the British Sidecar 600 Cup at Brands Hatch because of an electrical problem.

But it was not all bad news for the sidecar-racing brothers because multi-TT winner Michael Dunlop, with passenger Dan Sayle, took command of the Birchall racing F2 outfit and finished in the top six in both races.

Dunlop, who normally rides in the solo classes on the roads, and Sayle did an amazing job, considering they weren’t used to racing a sidecar and were unfamiliar with the Kent track. They got quicker with each session and after finishing fifth in the opening contest, they secured a podium place in second next time round.

As for the Birchalls themselves, they now head into the closed season to prepare their bikes for 2017 when they intend to contest the World and British Championships, plus the TT and Southern 100 races.

Ben said: “After sealing the 600 Cup at the last round, we went to Brands Hatch with no pressure on us and were hoping to have a nice run out as champions to end our season.

“Unfortunately, after just one lap in free practice and another in qualifying, we had to give up. The problem was an electrical fault, which we were unable to rectify in time.

“It was disappointing, but at least we have secured the championship and won all 13 races that we were able to contest. We have also won the F2 World Trophy, alongside our TT victories, so it has been a good year.”