The latest high profile name from the solo ranks to explore sidecar action in the premier three-wheeled championship is none other than thirteen times TT winner Michael Dunlop. Together with vastly experienced Manxman Dan Sayle, himself with eight TT victories under his belt, they will campaign the Birchall Brother's TT winning 600 LCR Honda as wild cards in the final round of the British Sidecar Championship on the Brands GP Circuit over the weekend 14-16th October.
It is not the first time the pair has shared a sidecar, some four years ago after a try-out locally at Jurby, they took Nick Crowe's outfit to Oliver's Mount for their official debut and impressed with a runner-up spot. This, along with a win at the Southern 100, demonstrated the versatility and immense talent shared by the dynamic duo. Sayle himself is no mean solo competitor, winning this year's Lightweight MGP on a Moto 3 bike. He and Dunlop will be a formidable combination in the 600cc Cup class at Brands.
Speculation has been rife over recent months and indeedseasons, that Dunlop could be making a serious attempt on three wheels, even to the point of contesting the TT. So far, apart from the occasional dalliances previously mentioned, the rumours have come to nothing. However, this latest sidecar appearance in the biggest domestic sidecar championship on the planet, with live television and a huge trackside audience present for the British Superbike Showdown Finale is on the biggest stage possible.
Dunlop and Sayle in action at Scarborough in 2012
The Hawk Racing BMW was once again the chosen weapon for Dunlop in this year's TT and he earned a brace of big-bike victories for team boss Stuart Hicken, who has played no small part in making the sidecar venture happen. Hicken shares a good relationship with the sidecar series promoter Roger Body and they have been working hard behind the scenes to make this happen.
Michael Dunlop – "I'm looking forward to have the craic in the outfit at Brands. Thanks to the Birchalls for letting me use their three times TT winning LCR Honda and to Stuart and Roger for sorting the job out".
Roger Body – "The inclusion of former Superbike star Chris Walker into our championship has stimulated interest beyond our wildest expectations, particularly as he has delivered such a strong performance. He and Ashley Hawes were on the pace from the word go. I fully expect Michael to bring an equal amount of attention and appeal to this last championship round. As for 2017, just watch this space, we have more to come".
Stuart Hicken – We have enjoyed working with Michael on the roads, and his occasional short circuit outings. He is a great character and an amazing talent. I cannot wait to see how he fares on top-class sidecar machinery such as Ben and Tom Birchall's race winning Honda. He is a consumate professional and I can assure you, this is a serious venture.