For the second successive year, Tim Reeves took victory in the Southern 100 Sidecar Championship and, together with Patrick Farrance, set a new outright lap record on Thursday afternoon of 100.749mph around the challenging Billown circuit.
The Team Klaffi Honda/F13K Cancer duo were part of a superb four-way battle for the lead with fellow World Champions Ben and Tom Birchall, John Holden/Andy Winkle and Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle and although the latter retired at the end of lap three, the remaining three crews fought for supremacy.
It was Tim and Patrick who led initially as less than a second covered the quartet in the opening laps but when Molyneux dropped out, they, along with the Birchalls edged away slightly. The Nottinghamshire brothers took over at the head of the field on lap three and on lap six history was made as the first ever 100mph lap was recorded by a sidecar outfit around the 4.25-mile course.
Birchall lapped at 100.682 and Holden at 100.179 but it was Tim and Patrick who were quickest at 100.749mph to claim the new lap record. It put them nose to tail with the Birchalls and when they drifted wide fractionally at Ballakeighan at the start of the final lap, Tim seized his opportunity. With better drive out of the corner, he nosed ahead going into Iron Gate and eventually took the win by just over a second to clinch his third, and Patrick's first, Southern 100 Championship.
To crown a perfect week, Tim and Patrick had also won the previous nights Sidecar race, which was held in tricky, damp conditions. The duo made the perfect start and led the pack at the end of the first lap. The Birchalls slotted into second with Holden/Winkle third as Molyneux made his way through from a bad start. The Manxman moved up to second as the quartet again fought tooth and nail despite the inclement weather. However, a red flag on the fifth lap brought an early end to proceedings thus denying the crowd a grandstand finish. It was delight for Tim and Patrick though as they were awarded the win.
Tim Reeves: "What can I say, it's been a brilliant week at the Southern 100 and to win two races and retain the Championship title is superb - I'm absolutely over the moon. The Championship race on Thursday was probably the best race I've had in my life too as it was nip and tuck the whole way. Ben was driving fantastically well and it was good to have two good, close battles with him this week."
"He knew I was right with him in the Championship race but he was very strong into the first corner so that made me have to work hard to try and pass him. He was really on it but on the last lap he drifted slightly wide so I took my chance and got the drive out of the corner all way down to Iron Gate where I finally got by. Patrick hasn't been here for a long time but it was like he'd never been away so we can't fault the week at all. It's been strange though not battling with Ian Bell and I'd like to dedicate the win to him, he's sadly missed."
Tim now returns to British Championship duty at Thruxton on July 22-24.
Picture by Stephen Davison - Pacemaker Press International