Mansfield based sidecar racing brothers, Ben and Tom Birchall, came away from a saturated Donington Park at the weekend with a top four finish, just missing out on a podium place. Unfortunately, whilst lying in third place, they spun off the track on their Mitchells of Mansfield LCR Suzuki, during the opening round of the FIM Superside World Championship.

Saturday's first qualifying session was dry and went well for the brothers, moving them into second place for a while, but during the second session they experienced an electrical problem which slowed their progress. Ben and Tom completed their qualifying in fifth place, for a second row start in Sunday's race, alongside Richard Gatt and Paul Randall.

"Qualifying was going well for us until an electrical fault developed, causing a misfire," said Ben. "We now have some adjustments to make before tomorrow's race, which Tom and I are looking forward to, when hopefully we'll be in contention."

Sunday's race got underway in extremely cold, wet and windy conditions with the Mansfield brothers lying in fourth place for the first few laps, gradually closing in on the Hegartys, until passing them and moving into third place.

Unfortunately, due to the atrocious conditions and a greasy wet surface, the brothers spun off the track whilst lying in third position, losing them a crucial eighteen seconds. This allowed both the Hegarty brothers and Gatt and Randall to pass them, after which time, the Birchalls dropped back into fifth place for the next four laps.

Ben and Tom managed to pass Gatt and Randall during the penultimate lap, where they remained until the chequered flag, finishing in fourth place and gaining thirteen hard-earned points for the team.

Afterwards, Ben said, "The weather played havoc with everyone during Sunday's race, the track was very wet and slippery and the electrical problem hindered our progress, but we were pleased to come away with thirteen valuable points."

"We would like to thank our sponsors and also our friends and family for coming along to our local circuit to support us in such atrocious conditions! Tom and I now look forward to our next round on June 20-22 at the 3.67-mile Sachsenring circuit in Germany."

Link to the new Birchall Racing website: http://www.birchallracing.com

FIM Superside website: http://www.superside.com/index.html

Pictures taken during qualifying, are courtesy of Mark 'Wally' Walters.



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