Brothers face thrilling end to World Championship thriller
Mansfield's Birchall brothers raced right back into World Championship contention at the penultimate round.
Ben and Tom, of Birchall Racing, picked up a maximum 50 points in the sixth round in Croatia after winning both races, while leaders Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes failed to finish or pick up a point.
It means the Mansfield duo will go into the final round in Germany in October just one point behind the championship leaders.
Ben said: “I’m over the moon about Croatia, not just for myself and Tom but for the whole team and everyone who supports us. The hard work and long hours have really paid off.
“Now we go to the final round with a great chance of clinching the championship.
“It was a long drive here (to Croatia) over the mountains of Austria and that journey mirrored the championship — we had a huge mountain to climb but we have made it and now we are back in the fight.
“We have got some time now to prepare the outfit and ourselves for Germany.
“Hopefully we can carry this pace and form that has been with us since Assen into the final round and take the win.”
Tom added: “What an amazing weekend! We came here with one goal and that was to do our best and fight for the wins.
“We did that and have come away with our championship campaign back on track and everything to fight for going into the last round.”
The Mitchells of Mansfield-backed Birchall Racing had great pace on the track in Croatia and their LCR outfit performed perfectly.
Following a red flag, Saturday’s sprint race was restarted for the full-distance 10 laps.
Claiming the holeshot, Ben and Tom never looked back, taking their Craig Fitzpatrick-prepared Yamaha to the chequered flag with a comfortable 10-second advantage.
The Birchalls were second into turn one in the second race.
The first lap was a close battle with their championship rivals Reeves and Wilke, but they went into the second lap ahead and were then unchallenged, crossing the line with almost 29 seconds to spare and setting a lap record.