Record drive to 10th consecutive victory
There was no stopping the Birchalls. With an impressive lap time of 120.357 mph (193.71 km/h) during the second lap, they edged out Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley to secure their 10th consecutive victory. They eventually crossed the finish line as winners with a lead of 24.066 seconds. John Holden/Maxime Vasseur completed the podium and finished in third place.
After the first section at Glen Helen, the Birchalls were already leading the field with a 3.9-second advantage over Founds/Walmsley. The Crowe brothers were a further 4.1 seconds behind. Fourth through sixth at this point were Holden/Vasseur, Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde and Daryl Gibson/Tom Christie. However, three top favorites had already dropped out of the race at this point.
The Birchalls extended their lead by another two seconds by Ballaugh, but by Ramsey Hairpin, Founds/Walmsley had caught up and cut the gap to 3.5 seconds. The Crowe brothers maintained their position in third, while Gibson/Christie overtook Bryan/Hyde to move up to fifth.
Second lap provides preliminary decision
Despite a high speed of 118.577 mph (190.79 km/h) on the first lap, Founds/Walmsley did not let the Birchalls out of their sight. When they started their second lap with an average speed of 118.230 mph (190.27 km/h), their deficit was only 3.3 seconds.
The Birchalls were able to double their lead on the second lap and were already well into the lead at Glen Helen. After a fast run up to Ballaugh, the lead was already 10.1 seconds.
New lap record ensures decision
The Birchalls continued their winning ways, setting a new lap record in the process. They were the first to complete the lap with an average speed of 120.357 mph (193.71 km/h). Despite a personal best of 119.023 mph (191.63 km/h), Founds/Walmsley had to settle for second place. Holden/Vasseur took over third place after the Crowes dropped out.
Podium fight goes down to the wire
The Birchalls maintained control on the third and final lap and crossed the finish line as history-making winners. Founds/Walmsley maintained their strong second place, but the battle for the final podium continued to the end. The Ramsdens narrowly missed the podium despite setting a new personal best of 112.660 mph (181.31 km/h) and had to settle for 3.5 seconds behind Holden/Vasseur. This was Holden’s 22nd podium, while Vasseur achieved it for the first time.
Finishing fifth and sixth were Bryan/Hyde and Gibson/Christie, the latter hitting an impressive 111.772 mph (179.88 km/h) on their final lap. Rounding out the top ten were Wayne Lockey/Matthew Rostron, Greg Lambert/Andrew Haynes, John and James Saunders, and Alan Founds/Colin Smyth.
This race was a thrilling start to the sidecar racing season and once again proved the Birchall brothers’ dominance on the Isle of Man. Their record of 13 wins and the first 120-mph lap are milestones in the history of TT racing.
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