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TT 2017: Birchalls do Sidecar double

Ben and Tom Birchall won the second Sure Formula Two Sidecar race at the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races on Friday afternoon, taking victory by 26.5s from John Holden/Lee Cain in a repeat result of the opening race on Monday.

The Birchalls hit the front for the first time on the run from Glen Helen to Ballaugh on lap one and were never challenged again as they took their sixth TT victory. Holden took his 17th podium in second with Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle, in their first TT together, in third.

After taking the lead, the Birchalls surged over the Mountain and an opening lap of 115.567mph saw their lead increase to 7.9s and it was Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes who were now in second with Holden/Cain a further 1.2s adrift. Alan Founds/Jake Lowther were in fourth with Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney going great guns in fifth.


At the head of the field, the Birchalls extended their lead to 13.5s but Holden/Cain were now back up to second as Reeves/Wilkes stopped at Glen Helen before retiring soon after at Lambfell. Founds/Lowther were also in trouble and they retired at Quarter Bridge, which saw Blackstock/Rosney move up to fourth.

A second lap of 116.423mph meant the Birchalls went into the third and final lap with a healthy 20s lead over Holden/Cain with Blackstock/Rosney maintaining their third position courtesy of their maiden 110mph+ lap around the Mountain Course at 110.599mph.

There were to be no changes in the front two over the final 37.73-miles but Blackstock/Rosney slowed and that allowed Harrison/Winkle to take third, the former having to settle for fourth.

Karl Bennett/Maxime Vasseur came through for fifth but there was disappointment for the French female pairing of Estelle Leblond/Melanie Farrier who, after lapping at 109.394mph, were forced to retire from sixth on the final lap. The top ten was completed by Tony Baker/Fiona Baker-Holden, Rob Handcock/Ken Edwards, Greg Lambert/Julie Canipa, Wayne Lockey/Mark Sayers and Gary Knight/Dan Evanson.

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