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Isle of Man TT 2023: Birchalls break lap record

Wed, 07 Jun 2023

Ben and Tom Birchall made history once more at the 2023 Isle of Man TT Races when a new lap record of 120.645mph helped them to victory in today’s second 3wheeling.Media Sidecar TT Race.
The duo came home nine seconds ahead of Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley, who also broke the 120mph barrier, with the Manx pairing of Ryan and Callum Crowe in third. It was the Birchalls 11th win in a row and 14th in total, the latter figure drawing them level with the great Mike Hailwood.
With overcast skies all around the Mountain Course, the Birchalls (Wyckham Blackwell – Birchall Racing Honda) led through Glen Helen first time around, their advantage over Founds/Walmsley (FHO Motorsport) 2.8 seconds and it was the Crowes who slotted into third on their Haven Homes Honda a further 4.2 seconds adrift. John Holden/Maxime Vasseur were running in fourth, the Blackburn driver having his final TT race, with Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde and Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle rounding out the early top six.
Over Ballaugh Bridge and the Birchalls had added a further four tenths of a second to their lead and by Ramsey Hairpin, they’d stretched it out more to 3.9 seconds, but further down the order former winners Conrad Harrison/Andrew Winkle were forced to retire with passenger Winkle suffering with a shoulder injury.
Daryl Gibson/Tom Christie, sixth in race one, were also early retirements having stopped at Barregarrow but the Birchalls were having no such issues and an opening lap of 118.904mph gave them a 4.5s lead over Founds/Walmsley with the Crowes comfortable in third but some 15s adrift of second place.
Holden/Vasseur were still in fourth, but Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes had fought their way back up to fifth after being down in ninth through Glen Helen. Molyneux/Sayle remained in sixth just ahead of Bryan/Hyde and Steve and Matty Ramsden.
The Birchalls upped the tempo at the beginning of lap two and their lead had gone out to 8.1 seconds at Glen Helen and whilst third to fifth remained the same, the Ramsdens had now moved up to sixth at the expense of Molyneux/Sayle, albeit by just 0.094 seconds.
They were then promoted up a place as Holden/Vasseur slowed with Molyneux/Sayle then retiring at Sulby but as the lap progressed, the Birchalls were on course to better their four-day old lap record and sure enough, they did exactly that as they went 2.8 seconds quicker with a speed of 120.645mph.
That saw them extend their lead over Founds/Walmsley to 11.6 seconds as they themselves lapped at 119.887mph and although the Crowes continued to circulate in third, the changes behind meant that the running order behind was now Reeves/Wilkes, the Ramsdens – who set a new personal best lap of 114.405mph – and Bryan/Hyde. Holden/Vasseur had recovered to seventh as eighth placed Greg Lambert/Andrew Haynes set their first 110mph+ lap.
On the final lap, Founds/Walmsley were continuing to keep the Birchalls honest, the lead hovering around the 13 second mark, and whilst the Nottinghamshire brothers came home for their second win of the week, the eventual winning margin was 9.1 seconds as Founds/Walmsley joined the 120mph club at 120.079mph.
The Crowes got their first finish of the week in third with Reeves/Wilkes finally seeing the chequered flag in fourth as the Ramsdens finished fifth to round out their successful time at TT2023. Bryan/Hyde, Lambert/Haynes, Wayne Lockey/Matthew Rostron and John and James Saunders completed the top ten.


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