BIRCHALL BROTHERS HONOURED TO RECEIVE MEDALS AT FIM AWARDS CEREMONY
Team Birchall - TT sidecar winners and lap record holders - travelled to Andorra last Sunday to attend the 2017 FIM Awards ceremony. The Mitchells of Mansfield supported riders joined the other FIM World Champions at the event held at the Andorra Park Hotel in the Pyrenean Principality.
The Birchalls, along with team-members James Brindley and Tom Mitchell, rubbed shoulders with 35 fellow FIM World Champions and members from the FIM Team World Championships. Swapping their leathers for dinner jackets, the boys enjoyed an evening to remember relaxing and sharing stories with motorcycling royalty such as Marc Marquez, Toni Cairoli and Jonathan Rea.
Earlier in the day, the team had attended a fan signing session with the other world champions at the Centre de Congressos in Andorra before heading to the red-carpet and the awards ceremony where they picked up their medals for the 2017 FIM World Sidecar Championships.
The ceremony capped an outstanding year that also saw the brothers win both Sidecar races at the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy, breaking the outright sidecar lap record in the process.
Ben Birchall: “What an amazing experience – I’m absolutely blown away by the whole weekend and how we were treated by the FIM during our time in Andorra. The country is incredible, its love for motorcycling is obvious and the awards couldn’t have been held in a more beautiful location. To attend such a prestigious event, surrounded by other world champions is something I’ll never forget. I feel honoured to be a world champion myself and the whole experience has only strengthened my desire to defend our title in the 2018 season.”
Tom Birchall: “What an incredible event held in such a beautiful country. I want to say a massive thank you to the FIM for including us in the celebrations. It was awesome to be there with other riders such as Marc Marquez and Jonny Rea – as bike fans ourselves it was an honour and a privilege to be included in such company.
“With the capacity changes over the past couple of yearss in the Sidecar World Championships, I really think the FIM have made the right decisions and the championship is stronger than ever - we’ll be back next year to hopefully retain the crown. I want to say a massive thank you to all our sponsors, friends, family and supporters, without whom this wouldn’t be possible. 2017 was our best yet, but lets see if we can go even better next year.”
Derek McGee teams up with Ryan Farquhar’s KMR outfit for 2018 Supertwin roads assault.
Mullingar man, and 2017 triple Irish roads champion Derek McGee has paired up with Ryan Farquhar to ride the KMR team’s Supertwin in 2018.
Team principal Farquhar had this to say:
“Derek was to ride one of my bikes at this year’s Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod. I was running some new parts and he was to test them, but they failed and he didn’t get out in the first practice”.
“We had a machine for second practice and the race, but it just wasn’t to be as he didn’t get to race after being taken out by Adam McLean at the hairpin in the race before the Supertwin.”
“For 2018 I wanted a rider on our Supertwin capable of running at the front in the local road races and the big three internationals and I believe that Derek fits that bill perfectly.
DAN KNEEN JOINS TYCO BMW FOR TT 2018 CAMPAIGN
Manxman Dan Kneen will have his best chance of winning a race at the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy after being signed to ride for Tyco BMW for the 2018 road-racing season.
The Braddan rider will pilot the BMW S1000RR for Hector and Philip Neill’s team in the RST Superbike, RL360 Quantum Superstock and PokerStars Senior TT Races having impressed in a one-off outing for the Northern Irish-based squad at this year’s Ulster Grand Prix.
Kneen had one of his best ever seasons in 2017 with the highlight being his third place in the RL360 Quantum Superstock TT Race on the JRC powered by Penz13.com BMW where he also recorded a new personal best lap of the Mountain Course, clocked at 130.347mph.
He backed this up with fifth in the meeting’s opening race, the RST Superbike Race and a 12th placed finish in the PokerStars Senior TT Race and he also finished eighth in the Monster Energy Supersport Race on board the Jackson Racing Honda, setting a new personal best lap on a 600cc machine in the process. With no less than four-second place finishes at the Southern 100, where he became the second fastest rider ever around the Billown Course at 115.616mph, Tyco BMW enlisted his services for the Ulster Grand Prix, deputising for the injured Ian Hutchinson.
The 30-year old grabbed the opportunity with both hands claiming second in the Superbike Race, third in the Superstock Race and fourth in both the feature and Dundrod 150 Superbike Races. He also became the second fastest rider around the 7.4-mile circuit with a lap of 134.541mph.
In a TT career that started in 2009, Kneen now has 15 top ten finishes to his name and will be amongst the favourites for honours in all of his races next June as he strives to become just the fourth Manxman to win a solo TT Race. Commenting on his opportunity Dan Kneen said:
“I realised that when the chance of a short term ride with the Tyco BMW team came up last season I had to take it with both hands as it’s not every day you get the chance to work with such a well run, manufacturer backed team. I’m going to be really proud to represent the team on my home course and I’m going to give it everything to reward the faith that Philip and Hector have shown in me.”
Philip Neil, Team Manager at Tyco BMW commented: “We’ve been following Dan ever since his exploits in the 2008 Manx Grand Prix but even we were surprised at how well and how quickly he fitted into the team and got up to speed last season which bodes really well for his first proper year with the team in 2018.”
QUATTRO PLANT RETURN TO THE ISLE OF MAN TT RACES AND NORTH WEST 200 WITH JAMES HILLIER AND JG SPEEDFIT KAWASAKI.
James Hillier has been confirmed to return to the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy and North West 200 under the new banner of Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki.
This will be the ninth consecutive year that James Hillier has ridden for Pete Extance under the Bournemouth Kawasaki team banner. In that time Hillier has established himself as one of the finest TT racers of his generation and, with a total now of ten podiums around the Mountain Course, will again go into next year’s event as a favourite for honours in all classes.
2017 saw Hillier, who won the Newcomers Trophy on his debut in 2008, enjoy another strong year at the TT. The Hampshire based rider enjoyed three more top four finishes, the highlight of which was a close second place to Michael Dunlop in the solitary Monster Energy Supersport 600cc Race. In addition, he also took fourth place in both the RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races.
Hillier has one of the best TT records of recent times and, since making his debut, he’s now competed in 50 races and only failed to finish three. Indeed, his retirement in last year’s RL360 Quantum Superstock Race was his first DNF since 2010.
Of his 47 race finishes, no less than 36 have been inside the top ten and, with the exception of 11th place in the 2016 Superbike Race, he hasn’t finished outside the top ten since 2011, a phenomenal record and testament to both his and the team’s abilities.
With a fastest lap of 132.414mph, set in 2015, Hillier is currently the fifth fastest rider in TT history and the fastest Kawasaki rider ever while he has also won 43 silver and four bronze replicas and has recorded one win to date; in the 2013 Lightweight TT Race. Commenting ahead of the 2018 season, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki team boss Pete Extance said:
“It’s great to have James back on board for this season and there’s no one else that we’d rather work with. His consistency around the TT Mountain Course is remarkable and I feel that it’s only a matter of time before he stands on the top step of a Superbike TT Race podium. We must also thank and welcome back as title sponsors John Murphy - MD of Quattro Plant for the renewed support of which we enjoyed our first TT win and many podiums over the last 5 years under the Quattro Plant banner.”
James Hillier said: “I feel really confident racing around the Mountain Course now and that’s due in no small way to Pete and the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki team. Last year I felt really good in all classes and this year I won’t be going in to any race thinking that I can’t win it.”
DANIEL HEGARTY HAS PASSED AWAY
English rider Daniel Hegarty has sadly died following an incident at the 2017 Macau Grand Prix.
The 31 year old who was riding for, Top Gun Honda Racing, was making his second visit to the famous street circuit having finished in 16th place in 2016.
Race organisers made the official announcement before Midday European time.
Our deepest condolences are extended to Daniel’s family, friends and team.
The heroes of the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy are set to star at Motorcycle Live, which starts this Saturday 18th November, and runs until Sunday 26th November at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre.
Headlining the list of TT stars attending Motorcycle Live are 23 time TT Race winner, John McGuinness, 2017 PokerStars Senior TT Race winner Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson, who enjoyed an RST Superbike and RL360 Quantum Superstock double victory earlier in the year.
Padgetts Motorcycles teammates Conor Cummins and Bruce Anstey, Smiths BMW’s Peter Hickman and rising stars Lee Johnston, James Hillier, Ivan Lintin, Dan Kneen and Dean Harrison are just some of the other riders due to attend Motorcycle Live throughout the week.
The sidecar representatives include 16 times TT race winner Dave Molyneux and his passenger Patrick Farrance, the 2017 World Championship winning, and current TT Lap Record Holders Ben and Tom Birchall, multiple World Champion Tim Reeves and passenger Mark Wilkes and the veteran John Holden and passenger Lee Cain will all be sharing their unique perspective on three wheeled racing on the Isle of Man.
The TT will once again be represented at Motorcycle Live with its own high profile stand situated in Hall 2, Stand Number 2D25.The TT stand will feature a unique display of leading machines from this year’s TT and Classic TT Races.
They include Ian Hutchinson’s Superstock Race winning Tyco BMW, the fastest ever Norton machine around the TT Course which Josh Brookes piloted in the RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races, Peter Hickman’s double podium finishing Trooper Beer Triumph and Ben and Tom Birchall’s double race winning and lap record breaking LCR Honda sidecar machine.
Classic TT machines set to feature on display including the history making Padgetts Motorcycles 250cc Honda that Bruce Anstey memorably completed the first ever 120+mph 250cc lap of the Mountain Course on his way to winning the Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT Race.
Michael Rutter’s Junior Classic TT winning Ripley Land Racing Honda and the Team Winfield Paton that Josh Brookes rode in the Bennetts Senior Classic TT to take his first Mountain Course victory will also be on the stand as will the stunning Oxford Products Ducati that James Hillier rode at this year’s event. And if that isn’t enough, you can see close up, and be pictured with, the priceless and iconic Senior TT Trophy, one of the world’s most instantly recognisable sporting trophies.
TT Rider Liaison officer Richard ‘Milky’ Quayle will be talking through spectacular on board laps on a state of the art high definition, high adrenaline giant screen on the stand that will give fans an incredible personal insight into the training programme rookies to the TT go through before they get to race in the world’s most challenging motorcycle event.
Fans will also get the chance to experience what it’s like to head down Bray Hill for themselves as the new multi-platform TT game will be unveiled on the stand with two playable kiosks available for visitors to the stand to try throughout the show.
TT staff will be on hand throughout the show to advise on travel and accommodation packages for next year’s TT Races, Classic TT Races and the Isle of Man’s other motorsport events and you can be first in the queue to secure Official VIP experiences and Grandstand tickets that will give you unrivalled views of the best racing action and decisive moments in 2018.
Motorcycle Live will culminate with the now traditional ‘TT Day’ on the last day of the show - Sunday 26th November, where TT themed content will dominate the day. Advance tickets for Motorcycle Live are now available from the show's online booking facility or on the day from the Event Box Office.