Birchalls hit by bad luck in race for world sidecar title

The Birchall brothers, Ben and Tom. (PHOTO BY: Mark Walters)
The Birchall brothers, Ben and Tom. (PHOTO BY: Mark Walters)

Misfortune hampered the performance of Mansfield’s Birchall brothers in rounds four and five of the FIM World Sidecar Championship.

Despite showing impressive speed, Ben and Tom posted less-than-ideal results at Assen in the Netherlands and at Grobnik in Croatia.

But they still gave 100 per cent and will go into the final two-race round of the championship with a fighting chance of the title.

The Birchalls trail their main championship contenders by seven points going into those races, which are to be held at Estoril in Spain on Saturday, October 19.

Assen started well for the One Call Insurance-backed duo. They were fastest in practice and started in pole position.

But after a strong start, heavy contact with a rival pushed the Birchalls down to third and with a damaged gear-lever, further contact later in the race made things worse and they had to settle for second place.

At Grobnik, the Birchalls again impressed in practice and qualifying. But they were forced off the track with a broken fuel-pipe in the sprint race, which was a devastating blow.

However, they recovered to win the main race with a masterclass of driving, leading from the start to keep them in the hunt for the title.