The Sidecar programme had been reshaped, opening with two qualifying races, each allowing 25 competitors. The first 12 in each race were invited to take part in the Sidecar Championship race, and the remainder in a Sidecar Consolation race.
Allen Steele and Tony Barrow, 700 Yamaha, led the opening qualifier from start to finish with runner-up spot going to Mick Harvey and Simon Birchall, Looke Imp. Brian Houghton and G Jacques, Kawasaki, finished third, less than two seconds down on Harvey.
John Watson and Brian Hoyle, 750 Yamaha, won the second heat in similar style to Steele and Barrow – but considerably quicker. Bryan Hargreaves and Norman Burgess, 980 Kawasaki, in second place was also well inside the opening race winners time, as were George Middleton and Paul Howe, 750 Yamaha, third.
In the Sidecar Championship, however, there was no holding 1977 champions Steele and Barrow. The Chester pairing were never headed and finished over half a minute clear of Watson and Hoyle. Newcomers Mike Burcombe and B Dudley, Yamaha, took and held third spot after the retirement of fellow newcomers Philip Spencer and D Richards, Honda, early on. Artie and Edda Oates, Kawasaki, beat John Philips and Andrew Mackay, Kawasaki, in a photo finish for fourth place.