As well as six high-quality solo races, the Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy, are set to see two highly competitive Sure Sidecar TT races with a stellar line-up of outfits confirmed.
Reverting back to the open regulations, last used in 2010, the entry, again in excess of 60 machines, features no less than six former race winners and nine drivers who have already lapped the Mountain Course at over 110mph. Like their solo counterparts, the quality and strength in depth is undeniable.
Sixteen-time race winner Dave Molyneux, heads the field and is No. 1 on the grid, with Patrick Farrance again his partner. The duo won both races in 2012 but had to settle for second and third places last year and will be looking to get back to winning ways on their DMR Kawasaki.
Last year’s race winners Ben and Tom Birchall and Tim Reeves and Daniel Sayle will be in hot pursuit of the anglo/Manx pair. The Birchall’s, who will again chase World Championship glory in 2014, bounced back following their first race disappointment to take the second three-lap affair last year and are well placed to repeat the feat in their LCR Honda, again entered by former triple race winner Austrian Klaus Klaffenbock.
Reigning British F-1 Champion Reeves, who starts one place behind the Birchalls from third, will again have Sayle on board as passenger. This year they will be using a DMR, rather than LCR, chassis. The Kent-based driver led the Sure Sidecar 1 race last year from start to finish and, like Birchall, set his personal best lap of the course during the meeting. As the TT is his main outing of the year he’ll be focused on taking his second win. Sayle, meanwhile, will be hoping to make it nine wins and become the most successful passenger of all time.
A fourth former race winner is at No. 4 in the shape of John Holden and Andy Winkle. They took a brace of fourths last year but went on to clinch the British F2 Championship, highlighting that they are still very much at the top of their game and ready to at least double their haul of TT wins.
Conrad Harrison and Mike Aylott start at No. 5 and, while they have yet to take a win, have consistently been close with a superb record of six podiums in the last seven races. A first victory is long overdue for the ever-cheerful Bradford driver whose son Dean stood on the TT podium for the first time at last year’s meeting in the Lightweight TT solo’s class.
They’ll be followed down Bray Hill by Gary Bryan and Jamie Winn, another consistent pairing, who regularly finish inside the top six, getting quicker around the Mountain Course every year. They will be well placed to pick up the pieces if the likes of Molyneux, Birchall and Reeves fail to finish.
At No. 7 and No. 8 are two returning crews, 2003 race winner Ian Bell, now partnered by son Carl, and Nigel Connole. Bell hasn’t competed at the TT for ten years but has been winning in the British Championship, Southern 100 and Scarborough so is sure to be near the front of the race while Connole returns for the first time since 2008. Although yet to stand on the podium, the Scunthorpe driver has three top six finishes to his name as well as a personal best lap of 110.562 mph.
With noone at No. 9 due to a withdrawal, Greg Lambert, Lambert who will be having his 22nd successive year of TT competition is the final seeded driver at No. 10. The double podium finisher has Kenny Cole alongside him this year.