Roads: Kevin Rousseau named as new Sidecar passenger to Ben Birchall

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Kevin Rousseau has been confirmed as Ben Birchall’s new Sidecar passenger for the 2024 Isle of Man TT following the retirement of brother Tom Birchall.

Tom announced his shock retirement in December following a campaign which saw he and Ben set a new TT lap record of 120.645mph on their way to an 11th consecutive victory.

Rousseau only has one TT under his belt, lapping at 114mph during qualifying on his debut with Tim Reeves. The Frenchman also has plenty of experience in the World Championship, celebrating victories and podiums alongside Reeves.

“It’s a big challenge to be next to Ben given what he and Tom have achieved but I’m really excited to start it,” Rousseau said. “He has lots of experience and is obviously fast! The few laps we did at the tyre test were very enjoyable and the laps were both fast and flowing so I can’t wait for qualifying to get underway. 

“Everyone had told me about the TT prior to my debut in 2022 and whilst I didn’t truly know what to expect, after the newcomers lap, I was like a kid unwrapping his Christmas presents! It’s so special and whilst there’s pressure it’s also relaxed, and you can never repeat the feeling anywhere else.”

“Ben’s obviously been with Tom for a long time, but this is a new chapter for both of us. It’ll take a bit of time to build our speed up but that’s the right way to do the TT. The key is to be confident, and Tom’s been giving me a lot of advice. I can’t wait for the TT to start and to finish on the podium this year would be amazing. I’ve done that on the World stage so to do it at the TT is my next target.”

Birchall and Rousseau have already completed laps around the Mountain Course together during a test for a new tyre supplier during the Manx Grand Prix.

 “When Tom told me he was retiring and wanted to do other things, it caught me by surprise a bit and I questioned what I’d like to do and where I’d like to go, but the thought of never competing at the TT never entered my head,” Ben Birchall said.

“The pace and passion is as strong as ever, so I know there’s plenty more races in me. Doing it without Tom isn’t a position I’ve been in before, but once I knew he was calling it a day, there was only one person I wanted alongside me and that was Kevin, so I moved quick to get everything in place.”

“The passenger is as important as the driver at the TT, if not more so, and whilst Kevin may only have one TT under his belt, I’ve seen at close quarters how talented he is and he’s the perfect size and weight. He’s also a professional sidecar passenger with a skill set second to none and I know he’ll apply himself and do everything required to be ready come June.”