From the TT press office

This year marks a milestone in history for the Sidecar class at the Isle of Man TT Races as it celebrates its centenary. To commemorate the occasion, a special demonstration lap will take place on Saturday 10th June featuring the three most successful drivers of all time and their respective passengers representing 39 TT victories across almost four decades of competition.

Taking place on Saturday 10th June, ahead of the Milwaukee Senior TT Race, 17-time winner Dave Molyneux will drive the 750cc Bregazzi Yamaha that he won his first TT on in 1989 and he’ll be partnered by eight-time wining passenger Daniel Sayle.

They’ll be joined by current sidecar kings and 12-time TT winners Ben and Tom Birchall on their current LCR Honda with the sparkling line up completed by 10-time TT winner Rob Fisher on his 1996 Baker Yamaha. The Cumbrian, who still competes regularly at UK national level, will be partnered by his current passenger Sarah Stokoe.

The three crews will lap the circuit in unison, which will also be filmed as part of a special documentary programme for release on TT+ later in the year.

Sidecars have a long and illustrious history at the TT and it was in 1923 that Sidecars first took to the Mountain Course. The 3-wheeled machines were an instant hit amongst enthusiasts and spectators who witnessed the 14 outfits tackle the 37.73-mile course for the first time. Freddie Dixon and passenger Walter Perry comfortably won an incident-free race on their banked outfit at an average of 53.15mph.

During the race Graham Walker, father of future well-known TT commentator Murray Walker, finished second.

Subsequent years saw the race distance increased to four laps with George Tucker and Len Parker coming out on top in 1924 and 1925 respectively but, under pressure from the manufacturers, the ACU removed the three-wheel class from the programme in 1926.

After a gap of almost thirty years, the Sidecars returned in 1954 and did so over 10 laps of the new 10.79-mile Clypse Course where they were part of the World Championship, which had been introduced in 1949. Norton’s Eric Oliver and Les Nutt took the win, with their winning margin over future world champions Fritz Hillebrand and Manfred Grunwald almost two minutes.

Over the next 20 years, only two more wins were taken by British machines though as BMW dominated, the list of race winners reading like a who’s who of Sidecar racing including Hillebrand, Walter Schneider, Max Deubel, Florian Camathias, Fritz Scheidegger, Georg Auerbacher and Klaus Enders. Chris Vincent’s 1962 victory was the only other World Championship race win at the TT for a British machine.

1960 had seen the race action switch to the Mountain Course we know today once more and with its popularity continuing to increase, a second race was added to the schedule in 1968, this time for 750cc capacity machines. Siegfried Schauzu proved to be the most successful driver of the era, the German taking nine victories between 1967 and 1975.

By then two-strokes were beginning to take over and one year after the first 110mph lap by a solo machine was recorded, history was made in 1977 when Dick Greasley and Mick Skeels lapped at 100.59mph on the opening lap of the first race.

Greasley, Rolf Steinhausen and Trevor Ireson were amongst the winners but after taking second and third (as a newcomer!) in 1978, Jock Taylor dominated proceedings for a short period of time, the Scot winning four races with Benga Johansson between 1980 and 1982. He also upped the lap record to a staggering 108.29mph, only 7mph slower than the outright lap record held at the time by Joey Dunlop.

Taylor’s lap record stood for seven years before it was finally broken, albeit by just 0.2 seconds, by Mick Boddice. He’d taken over at the top from Taylor and won seven races between 1983 and 1989.

As the 1980’s came to an end though, safety concerns surrounded the 750cc and 1300cc machines and from 1990 onwards, the sidecar class was limited to Formula Two specifications.

Dave Saville became the first man to lap the TT circuit at more than 100mph in 1990 but the 600cc four-strokes immediately took over from the 350cc two-strokes and it was Manxman Molyneux, a victor in the Open class in 1989, who took over as the man to beat.

He would go on to record 17 TT wins between 1989 and 2014 and, together with Peter Hill, become the first crew to break the 110mph barrier in 1996. Molyneux’s tally of victories remains the fourth highest in TT history with his tally bettered only by Joey Dunlop (26), John McGuinness (23) and Michael Dunlop (21).

Rob Fisher would prove to be one of Dave’s biggest rivals, the Cumbrian taking ten wins of his own, before another Manxman, Nick Crowe, enjoyed a spell in the limelight. The Jurby man won five races and set a new lap record with Sayle of 116.67mph, a mark that stood for eight years.

It was the Birchall brothers who finally wrestled the lap record away from the Manx contingent in 2016 and not only have they upped it to an incredible 119.250mph, they’ve also become the dominant force on the Island, taking 12 TT-wins between since 2012.

Like its solo counterpart, the Sidecars have faced their challenges over the years, but they remain an integral part of the TT and will once again be two of the most popular races at this year’s event.

Fans will be able to enjoy additional sidecar activity in the Monster Energy Fan Park, with the documentary film 3 Wheeling being shown at 9pm on Sunday 4th June, immediately after the prize presentations have taken place. Sidecar Race sponsors 3Wheeling.media are also hosting a meet and greet event on Monday 5th of June in the TT Parc Ferme where fans will be able to get up close and personal with many of the crews taking on this year’s TT event along with their machines.