Sensational TT victory for Mellor Brook man

WINNERS: John Holden and Andrew Winkle

WINNERS: John Holden and Andrew Winkle

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RACE aces John Holden, from Mellor Brook, and Andrew Winkle pulled off a sensational Isle of Man TT victory when they snatched the Sure Sidecar Race 2 title last Thursday.

Holden and his sidecar sidekick from Staffordshire had finished second five times before on the island.

TT 2011 Practices''John Holden and Andy Winkle

TT 2011 Practices''John Holden and Andy Winkle

Their win came as TT officials and race fans celebrated 100 years of the famous mountain road circuit.

In a dramatic finish, the duo trailed by 17 seconds to the 2001 world champion Klaus Klaffenböck at the start of the third and final lap, but at the Ramsey Hairpin the lead was down to just six seconds.

The powered over the mountain section and their advantage at the Bungalow was a colossal 22 seconds due to the leaders suffering a broken water hose clip.

Holden and Winkle kept on pushing and eventually finished an amazing 45 seconds ahead of Conrad Harrison and Mike Aylott with Tony Elmer and Darren Marshall pipping Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze for third place.

Klaffenböck and passenger Daniel Sayle finished sixth.

Holden said: “I’ve waited a long time for this. It’s great to be on the top step of the podium at last.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m sure when we reflect on it, it’ll be good. Not many people get to win a TT, and me and Andy feel really honoured, we just need to come back and win a few more now.

“I’d just like to thank all my sponsors and my team, who’ve helped me over the year and have made all this possible.”

Holden, a veteran TT racer, and a popular competitor with the Isle of Man crowds, is married to Grace and has two sons, Sam and George.

As well as his TT exploits, he was placed second in the British F2 Championship in 1999 and 2000.

Earlier that same week, John and Andy had narrowly missed out on the race win by just 11 seconds and they had to settle for their fifth second place on the island. This first sidecar race, held on the Saturday, wasn’t all a disappointment for the Lancashire pairing, as they set a new personal best average lap speed of 114.861 mph. This lap speed was also the fastest sidecar lap of the TT fortnight.