Former Isle of Man TT Sidecar winner Ian Bell will make a sensational return to the Snaefell Mountain Course in 2014.
Bell last raced at the TT in 2004, having won the first 3-lap race in 2003 alongside passenger Neil Carpenter, but a heavy crash in practice at Hillberry resulted in arm and hand injuries which forced the Bedlington man to retire from all competition. However, he worked his way back to fitness and will contest both 2014 sidecar races, this time with son Carl making his debut at the TT as passenger.
Bell switched to sidecars in the mid-1990s, having been a Southern 100 champion on two wheels, winning the Newcomers Trophy at the 1995 Isle of Man TT alongside Craig Hallam after impressive finishes of fifth and sixth.
His first trip to the TT podium was in 1997 with Carpenter, taking third in the second race, before finishing second to Rob Fisher in 1999. Bell and Carpenter enjoyed some good races with Fisher and Dave Molyneux over the next four years, finally taking victory in 2003. Bell’s best lap of 110.81 still puts him as the 16th fastest driver of all time.
Making a return to racing in 2007, Ian and Carl have been regular front runners in the British F2 Championship, winning the title in 2012. The duo have also seen some success on the roads, winning the 2009 Southern 100 – a race that Ian won in 1999 and 2000 – and regularly taking the top spot at Scarborough.
“I’ve been giving a TT comeback some consideration for quite some time and now it feels right with my son Carl having gained enough experience in the passenger’s seat for us to go and do a decent job there,” explained Ian. “We’ll go with no expectations other than to have fun and to see how we get on.”