Isle of Man TT: Reeves and Sayle take opening race win

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Four times World Sidecar Champion Tim Reeves powered to his first ever Isle of Man TT victory on Saturday afternoon, when he took the opening Formula Two sidecar race by almost 20 seconds.

Together with passenger Dan Sayle, the duo took the lead at the end of the first lap and with Reeves recording his best ever TT speed on lap 2, 114.608mph, they were able to comfortably hold on during the final lap for a famous victory.

Indeed, the last time a reigning World Champion won a Sidecar race was back in 1981 when 1980 World Champions Jock Taylor/Benga Johansson took both three-lap races. For Sayle, it was his eighth TT victory which made him the joint most successful passenger in TT history.

“I’m absolutely speechless,” said Kent’s Reeves, a man never normally lost for words. “You can’t imagine how much it means to me to win today and as the reigning World Champion, it’s even sweeter.

“Jock Taylor was my hero when I was growing up so to emulate him is something really special and apart from when my daughter Maisie was born, it’s the best moment ever.”

With ideal conditions all around the Mountain Course, it was Ben and Tom Birchall who grabbed the early initiative, leading at Glen Helen on the opening lap by 1.3s from Reeves/Sayle whilst pre-race favourites Dave Molyneux/Patrick Farrance found themselves back in fifth although just 5s covered the leading five outfits.

By Ramsey, the Birchall’s had put in two superb sectors to extend their lead over Reeves/Sayle to 5.48s but coming down the Mountain they clipped the bank at Kate’s Cottage and suffered a puncture, pulling in to retire at Creg ny Baa.

“That all meant that Reeves/Sayle led at the end of the first lap with a speed of 113.575mph, their gap over new second-placed crew Molyneux/Farrance almost ten seconds.

On the second circuit, Reeves/Sayle continued to extend their advantage as they closed in on Molyneux/Farrance on the road and by the end of the lap, a speed of 114.608mph, gave them the lead on the road and a 20s advantage over Molyneux/Farrance.

On the final lap, Reeves/Sayle had the race wrapped up, save for mechanical misfortune, and all eyes fell on the battle for second with nothing between Molyneux/Farrance and Conrad Harrison/Mike Aylott.

“The gap was less than five seconds at Glen Helen but from there the Bradford driver continued to reduce the deficit and at the finish line, they edged it by just 0.538s!

John Holden/Andy Winkle took fourth with Dougie Wright/Martin Hull and Gary Bryan/Jamie Winn completing the top six.

Phil Wain

By Phil Wain