The current Southern 100 Sidecar Championship driver, Tim Reeves returns to the Billown Course to defend his Championship Title, with 2015 winning passenger, Mark Wilkes back in the chair.
However, the tree-time Southern 100 Champion will not find an easy-option in retaining his title as he will be up against no less than four other Sidecar Championship winners!
Most recent, the 2012 winners, brothers Ben & Tom Birchall are presently enjoying their 2017 season, winning both the Sidecar TT Races and enjoying a commanding lead in the World F2 Championship.
Both crews will have to contend with 6-time Southern 100 Sidecar Champion, Dave Molyneux, who has Dan Sayle in the chair, although this ‘pairing’ have yet to win the coveted title together!
Add into the mix another ‘veteran’ and past Championship winner, Greg Lambert with Julie Canipa as ‘ballast’ and fans of the spectacular three-wheelers are ensured of some close racing around the 4.25-mile Billown Course on Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon.
Apart from the reigning and former champions, the quality of the entry is as regular supporters of the Southern 100 International Road Races have come to expect over the 55 years the sidecars have been included.
John Holden and Lee Cain, third last year along with Wayne Lockey and Mark Sayers will certainly be up with the front-runners, as will newcomers in 2016 Steve and Matty Ramsden who acquitted themselves well taking sixth in the feature race. Previous Sidecar race winners Conrad Harrison and Andrew Winkle cannot be ruled out to take the coveted laurel wreaths.
2016 saw history being made in the Manx Gas Sidecar Championship when no less than three crews broke the 100-mph barrier, all on the same lap and within seconds of each other. On lap six of the eight lap race, firstly Ben & Tom Birchall lapped at 100.682 mph, followed by Tim Reeves and Patrick Farrance at 100.749 mph and moments later John Holden and Andy Winkle completed their lap at 100.179 mph.
Interest will also centre on debutante crew of Maria Costello and Justin Sharp on their NGK Spark Plug sponsored Kawasaki LCR F2 outfit, as they get to grips with the demanding Billown Course.
Practice and Qualification takes place on Monday and Tuesday evenings 10 th & 11 th July, with racing commencing on Tuesday evening with two races. Wednesday (12 th ) sees a further four races with Championship Day, Thursday 13 th July will see no less than nine races being held, including the prestigious Manx Gas Solo & Sidecar Championship Races.