sidecar preview


With the dominant pairing of Ben and Tom Birchall no more, the Founds and Walmsley outfit in hot form, and the Crowe brothers looking to bounce back from an injury-hit TT last year, the two Sidecar Races at the 2024 Isle of Man TT Races look finely poised to deliver the closest competition for a number of years.

The Sidecar class has dominated by Ben and Tom Birchall for almost ten years, with the Mansfield brothers having won 13 of the 14 races to take place since 2015. Having held the lap record since 2016 which they upped to over 120mph for the first time last year, it’s easy to see why they’re regarded as one of, if not the greatest sidecar pairing of all time.

But that pairing is no more, with passenger and younger brother Tom making a shock retirement over the winter months. The vacant seat has been filled by Kevin Rousseau who lapped at 114mph on his debut in 2022 and is a regular top-3 finisher in the World Championship, but the chasing pack will view the change in passenger as a chance to topple the Birchall name from the top of the podium. On recent form, the main challengers are expected to be the team of Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley, and the local pairing of Ryan and Callum Crowe.

Birchall Racing has a new passenger and a new look

Whilst the Birchall brothers took the headlines last year as the first Sidecar pairing to lap the TT Course at over 120mph average, incredibly, Founds and Walmsley also lapped at the landmark speed as they took their third successive runners-up finish at the TT. Having also wrapped up their sixth British title in 2023, they’re in a prime position to claim a maiden TT success.

The Crowe brothers at applies too to the Crowes who took third in the second race last year to make it three podiums in four races.

Despite being one of the least experienced crews in the field having competed in just five TT races, the Crowe brothers represent the next generation of Sidecar stars. With three podium finishes to their name already, their rapid rise could well continue and it’s entirely possible that they could follow in their father Nick’s footsteps up on to the top step of the Sidecar podium.

Other contenders for glory are found in the multiple World Championship-winning pairing of Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes. 11 years since his first and only TT victory, Reeves is desperate to add another win to his name, with the pair making clear that the TT is the primary focus for the 2024 racing season.

Reeves will be looking for his second win

Nearly 40 years on from his TT debut in 1985, Manx legend Dave Molyneux lines up revitalised and reenergised having reverted back from his KTM twin-cylinder powerplant to a more traditional 600cc Kawsaki motor. The most successful driver of all-time is determined to get back on the podium for the first time since 2017 and has enlisted another Manxman, Jake Roberts, as his passenger this year.

Further down the order, 2-time winner John Holden has reversed his decision to retire and lines up with Frank Claeys, whilst the father and son combination of Steve and Matty Ramsden are expected to continue their consistent year-on-year improvement having taken 4th and 5th-place finishes and their first 114mph+ laps in 2023.

Former British Champions Lee Crawford and Scott Hardie and the young team of Lewis Blackstock Patrick Rosney all make a welcome return after missing last year, and will be looking to get back on to the pace they showed in 2022.

Last year’s best newcomers of Daryl Gibson on Tom Christie - who lapped close to 112mph barrier – are ones to watch in their second year, with regulars Conrad Harrison and Ashley Moore, Wayne Lockey and Matthew Rostron, Greg Lambert and Andrew Haynes, John and James Saunders, and Dan Knight and Ben Hughes all more than capable of top ten finishes at least.

Michael Russell and Vicky Cooke, and Maria Costello and Gary Wheeler also return, but arguably the most exciting entry in this year’s field is that of the double and reigning World and British Champions, Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement. Just as the debuts of Reeves and Birchall captured everyone’s imagination, so too has that of the Anglo-French pairing and such is their quality, a top-6 finish isn’t out of question.

The two 3-lap Sidecar Races at the 2024 Isle of Man TT Races are scheduled to take place on Saturday 1st and Wednesday 5th June.