Birchall brothers to resume sidecar World Championship campaign

Birchall 'delighted' to just break hand

Sidecar racer Ben Birchall is to resume his World Championship campaign less than a month after nearly losing part of his hand in a high-speed crash.

Ben and brother Tom were thrown from their machine at 130mph after clipping a wall at the Isle of Man TT.

The Mansfield pair are looking to return to action in the fifth round of the World Championships in The Netherlands next week.

"I can certainly ride, but to what level we will find out," said Ben, 37.

"I won't be the first guy to get back on before he should. A bit of red mist will help me out I'm sure. "

The brothers were both airlifted to Nobles hospital in Douglas for further assessment after the crash, with Ben later transferred to Wigan where he was treated by an orthopaedic surgeon Mike Hayton after seriously injuring his little finger.

Metal plates and wires were inserted in his right hand, with a plastic surgeon also helping with the reconstruction.

"I never took in how serious it was and it really is thanks to Mike Hayton that I've not lost part of my hand," he told BBC East Midlands Today.

"He was able to save it, and save it in such a way that eliminated infection. I've not had to have any external steel work put on while it repairs."

Ben will fully test the extent of his recovery at Assen, after missing two World Championship rounds in Croatia.

The brothers headed the Championship standings prior to the crash, which happened when they were in the lead at the Isle of Man.

Ben Birchall's reconstructed hand

"We really want to be world champions again. We are on good form, have good bikes and good kit around us and will do everything we can," said Ben.

Tom, who suffered a bruised lung, cuts and severe bruising, insisted the crash will not affect their confidence.

"The hard thing is being stopped when we are on such good form. Winning races, lead World Championship and TT race," he said.

"It certainly shocks you. The few days after, you still a have a buzz really because you have not let your adrenaline go - you are trying to do too much, climb out of the hospital bed and nurses are telling you off."

The brothers were world champions in 2009 and won the TT last year and Ben said he would be pushing as hard as ever at Assen, despite the vision of his brother sprawled out among the wreckage of their machine being still fresh in his mind.

"Luckily we sort of ended up on same part of road across form each other so I could see that there was a bit of movement there and he was making some noises - that was good enough for me," he recalled.

"If it got to a point where I was thinking about him and it was slowing me down, then I would have to change something because going racing is about going as fast as you can."