Roads: Tom Birchall announces retirement from racing

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Tom Birchall, the most successful Sidecar passenger in Isle of Man TT history has announced his immediate retirement from racing.

Alongside older brother Ben, the Birchalls have dominated Sidecar racing at the TT for the last decade, securing 14 victories. In fact, the brothers have won every single race that they’ve finished since 2013, with only three DNFs to their name.

Together, Tom and Ben have broken the all-time lap record multiple times, recording the first 117, 118, 119 and 120mph Sidecar laps. The huge 120mph lap came on the 100th anniversary of Sidecar racing at the TT this year, posting a 120.645mph lap.

“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,” Tom Birchall said. “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.”

Alongside their success together around the Isle of Man, the Birchalls are also four-time world champions, and one-time British champions.

“I can only thank him for what he’s done,” Ben added. “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 Birchall will continue to race in 2024 as he chases down the all-time Sidecar driver record of 17 wins, currently held by Dave Molyneux. An announcement on Birchall’s new passenger 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,” Ben added.
“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.”