From the TT Press Office..
Tom Birchall, the most successful Sidecar passenger in TT history, has announced his immediate retirement from racing.
Alongside older brother Ben, the Birchalls have taken 14 TT race victories and been the dominant force on three wheels over the last decade, winning every single race that they finished since 2013 with only 3 DNF’s blotting a near-perfect run of results.
Over that period the pair have repeatedly re-written the record books, recording the first ever 117, 118, 119, and 120mph laps of the TT Course in the Sidecar class.
The 120mph barrier was smashed earlier this year where – on the 100th anniversary of Sidecar racing at the TT – they set their latest lap record of 120.645mph and also set another new race record in the process.
Away from the Isle of Man, Tom leaves the sport as both a 4-time Sidecar World Champion and a British Champion.
Tom Birchall – “It’s not been an easy decision to make by any means, but it’s now 20 years since I first got in an outfit alongside Ben and it’s 10 years since we took our first TT win, something we dreamt about as kids when we used to come on family holidays to watch. And so having achieved what we have and having broken that 120mph barrier this year, the timing feels as right as it can do.”
“The TT is the pinnacle for me and while it might only be a couple weeks of the year, it takes a lot of sacrifices and hard work all year round to get to a level that allows us to keep pushing and pushing.”
“Now feels like the time to take a break from that cycle and start a new chapter in life, but Ben knows I’ll always be there in any way I can to keep the Birchall name on top.”
“The list of people to thank is too long, but I’d like to give a special mention to the marshals and the medics, and the amazing TT fans that have made racing on the Island so special for me over the years. It’s been a real privilege and an honour. I’ll always love it and I’ll be there in 2024, either as part of the team or with a beer on the side of the road cheering Ben on.”
Ben Birchall – “I can only thank him for what he’s done. Racing together has been our way of life for so long now that, in a way, you take it for granted. It’s only now that Tom’s decided to step away that I’ve been able to appreciate what an incredible career he’s had.”
Ben has confirmed he will race with a new passenger in 2024 as he continues to close down on the record number of TT wins for a Sidecar driver – a title currently held by Dave Molyneux with 17 race victories. An announcement on who will line up alongside him is expected in the new year.
“It will feel totally different and take time to get used to competing without him, but I’m still totally committed racing and so it’s the start of a new and exciting chapter.”
“It genuinely has been a journey, racing all around the world plus all the development of the bikes that people won’t see, too. None of it would have been possible without Tom. We’ve made history and to have done that with my brother has just made it even more special.”
From Steve E…. on a personal note good luck with whatever you do next Tom. I have always remembered our sitting in the paddock at the end of a meeting in Assen at the end of 2003, I was on with Stu Woodard that year, you were about to start racing and we were all thinking you were both going to be something else.