Double win not enough as Birchalls lose title chase

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Mansfield brothers Ben and Tom Birchall secured the double win, pole position and the lap record on their visit to Oschersleben in Germany in the penultimate round of the FIM world Sidecar Championship, but despite scoring the maximum 50 points it was not enough to prevent fellow Brit Tim Reeves from claiming the world crown.

The Mitchells of Mansfield-supported team rode well throughout free practice and, qualifying to take pole position, they began the shorter 12-lap sprint race on Saturday ahead of their nearest rivals Reeves/Cluze.

As the race began it was Reeves who got the hole shot into the first corner a whisper ahead of the Birchall brothers and the two British teams pulled away from the pursuing pack.

The pair exchanged the lead several times until, at half race distance, Ben powered the LCR Suzuki ahead and this time was able to put some distance between himself and Reeves. Ben and Tom crossed the finish line for the win setting a new lap record of 1.30.4s.

As Sunday’s Gold race began, again Reeves got the hole shot with Ben and Tom right in his tyre tracks.

The pair pulled away from the pack and on the third lap the Birchall brothers took control at the front and gradually built up a convincing lead continuing on their way to a second victory with a 10 second advantage over Reeves, once again setting the fastest lap of the race with a 1m 30.712s.

Although Ben and Tom won both races to claim maximum points Reeves had done enough to seal the championship and the Mansfield pair were the first to congratulate the new champions.

Ben said: “I would like to congratulate Tim and Greg for winning the world championship.

“Since our accident at the Isle of Man TT races it’s been an uphill struggle, but we have done our best to score as many points as possible to try and pull back the championship.

“This weekend was our last chance and we could do no more than win both races. I am still not fully fit so we were delighted to come away with two great wins.”

The next race for Team Birchall is at Donington Park on 7th September when Ben and Tom will race as wildcard entrants into the Eastern Airways British F1 Championship. There are two races, one on Saturday at 2.10pm and the other on Sunday at 2.15pm.

The final round of the FIM world Sidecar championship is at Le Mans on September 20 whenthe Birchalls will be striving for another win to end their championship challenge on a high note.