Louth sidecar racer toasts return to Isle of Man TT podium

Passenger Jev and driver Pete recorded a new personal best on the famous Isle of Man TT course EMN-190620-135318002
Passenger Jev and driver Pete recorded a new personal best on the famous Isle of Man TT course EMN-190620-135318002

Louth sidecar racer Jev Walmsley found himself on the podium at the world-famous Isle of Man TT after a record-breaking festival.

Passenger Jev and driver Pete Founds lapped at 116.40mph, two miles-per-hour quicker than their previous personal best to finish third overall in the sidecar standings after the two races.

Pete Founds and Jev Walmsley (left) on the TT podium after race two EMN-190620-135328002

Pete Founds and Jev Walmsley (left) on the TT podium after race two EMN-190620-135328002

Looking to return to the podium for the first time since 2016, the pair and their bike arrived in great form from the British Championship.

But a week of misty and wet weather hampered TT testing and qualifying, with just two practice sessions possible before race one.

With only a handful of laps of the 37.7-mile circuit completed, the team remained confident of the bike’s performance, as they went off fifth.

In the early stages of the first lap, Pete and Jev lay in third place, ahead of Pete’s brother Alan on corrected time, but by the end of the lap, Alan and Jake Lowther were back in front.

Pete and Jev completed their best-ever lap on lap two as they pushed hard to catch Founds/Lowther and get on the podium.

They reduced the deficit coming down the mountain on lap two, but in the first two sectors of the final lap, Founds/Lowther again stretched their advantage.

The gap continued to increase through to the Bungalow, but Pete and Jev again reduced the deficit dramatically in the final sectors.

But it was too late as the younger brother took the final podium spot, with Pete and Jev taking an excellent fourth place and smashing their personal best time on the final lap with an average of 116.435mph.

With weather creating further delays to the whole TT schedule, all races were reduced to two laps, and Pete and Jev knew they would have to push hard from the off. And push hard they did, slotting into fourth, only two seconds back at Glen Helen on Founds/Lowther who then had to retire.

The pace of the top three left a comfortable gap back to the fourth-placed pair of Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney, with Pete and Jev, in turn, 14 seconds adrift of second-placed Holden and Cain.

An opening lap of 118.38mph saw the Birchalls extend their lead, while Pete and Jev remained third with an impressive opening lap of 115.42mph.

The Birchalls’ lead had stretched to 13 seconds at Glen Helen second time around, and Holden/Cain also extended their advantage over Founds/Walmsley to 24.636secs.

Knowing they did not need to push hard on the final ascent and descent over the Snaefell Mountain section, Pete and Jev backed off in the final sectors to finish in a comfortable third place, while still lapping at more than 116mph on that final lap.

A fine finish to an unusual week, with Pete and Jev completing both races for the first time.

The team now turn their attention back to the domestic scene and three British F2 Championship races at Cadwell Park at the Sidecar Revival meeting.

Jev and Pete would like to thank Louth business John Darkes who helped cover the cost of paintwork to the bodywork and helmets, and support from Parkinson’s Fish Shop, and Rod and Howard at RandYmotors.