Sidecars to race on Friday before the Senior TT

Brothers Ben and Tom Birchall, double winners at this year's TT. Can they make it a clean sweep of major Isle of Man sidecar events with victory in the Southern 100 this week?

Brothers Ben and Tom Birchall, double winners at this year's TT. Can they make it a clean sweep of major Isle of Man sidecar events with victory in the Southern 100 this week?

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Sidecars will feature on the final day of TT racing alongside the Senior solo race for the first time from next year.

Senior race day, as it is traditionally known, will fall on Friday, June 10, 2016 and include the second Sure Sidecar Race before culminating with the traditional blue riband PokerStars Senior TT.

In a further change to the race schedule, the Bennetts Lightweight TT race will move to Wednesday, June 8, and increase in length to run over four laps. This reflects the growing stature of the class, which was first introduced to the race schedule in 2012.

The opening qualifying session on Saturday, May 28, will feature solo and sidecar newcomer speed-controlled sighting laps as well as an extended timed qualifying session for the Lightweight and Supersport machines. Sidecars will no longer feature in the opening session and will begin their qualifying programme on Monday, May 30 with additional sessions during race week.

The timings throughout qualifying have also been tweaked to ensure the maximum amount of track time is made available to the 1000cc solo machines and they will be first on track during each evening qualifying session.

‘The changes to the TT schedule for 2016 are being implemented to improve the experience for the riders, the teams and the race fans all at the same time,’ said TT and motorsport development manager Paul Phillips. ‘We believe that crowning both the sidecar and solo champions on the final day of racing will be a fitting finale to the programme and reinforce our commitment to the sidecar class as an integral part of the programme.

‘I have spoken to all of the leading crews and they are very enthusiastic about the change as it will give them equal parity to the solos on the final big day.

‘The Steam Packet is also confident that it can cope with the changes to the schedule and the fact that the sidecar competitors will now be travelling home later than normal.

‘Increasing the Lightweight race from three laps to four is an obvious step and highlights the growing importance of this class in our race programme, ensuring the riders go head-to-head over the race distance with everyone having to stop for fuel on the same lap.

‘This change will also help us attract more of the leading Superbike riders into the class by moving the race away from the Senior race in the schedule.

‘We have also been able to revise the qualifying schedule to accommodate the ever-changing nature of the event and to ensure the time we have available for qualifying is maximised and prioritised.’

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