Dave Molyneux made a triumphant return to the Isle of Man TT races on Saturday after a year away from the race when he took his 15th TT win in the opening Sure Sidecar race. Partnered by Patrick Farrance in what was Farrance’s first TT win, the Manxman was never headed. He romped home over twenty seconds clear of Ben and Tom Birchall, who recorded their first ever TT podium in second, just reward for their hard work during the week after their Monday evening crash. Conrad Harrison/Mike Aylott completed the rostrum.
Molyneux and Farrance got off to a flying start to lead at Glen Helen on the opening lap but it was close with the Birchalls only 2.5s adrift. Tim Reeves/Dan Sayle were only a further second back but John Holden and Andy Winkle’s horror week continued when they pulled in at the Glen Helen commentary box. Harrison/Aylott were in fourth with Dougie Wright/Martin Hull and Greg Lambert/Jason Crowe completing the top six.
The top two remained the same at Ramsey although Molyneux’s extended his lead slightly to four seconds. Reeves’ hopes of a first TT win were dashed as he pulled in at Sulby Village. That promoted Harrison and Wright up to third with Gary Bryan/Jamie Winn moving up to fourth and Roy Hanks/Kevin Perry completing the top five.
Molyneux and Farrance continued to press home their advantage and with an opening lap of 113.269mph, their lead was a healthy 13.96s. Harrison/Aylott were secure in third but it was close for fourth with just 2.45s between Wright and Bryan. However, Wright had to stop to make adjustments at Parliament Square and there was also disappointment for sixth placed pairing Karl Bennett/Lee Cain who were out at Kirk Michael.
There would be no further change in the rostrum positions as Molyneux’s lead was extended with the fastest lap of the race, 113.590mph, set on the second lap and that gave him an advantage of 30s going into the final 37.73-miles. Birchall did reduce the gap to 20 seconds but the Manx-British pairing had everything under control and they took the chequered flag by a commanding 22.2s. As well as Molyneux.s 15th TT win, it completed the unique set of having won races on Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki machinery whilst Farrance was jubilant with his first Island victory.
The Birchalls were equally jubilant as they claimed a first ever podium whilst Harrison and Aylott made it on to the rostrum once more. Bryan/Winn took fourth as Rob Handock/Ken Edwards in fifth, Mike Cookson/Kris Hibbered in sixth seventh placed Gary and Dan Knight all completed their highest finishes. Frenchman Frank Lelias, with Charlie Richardson, in the chair took a brilliant eighth in just his second ever TT with the top ten completed by John Saunders/Shaun Parker and Tony Thirkell/Nigel Barlow.