If nothing else, Tommy Bridewell's run to the 'Title Showdown' on the Supersonic BMW was certainly the fairytale story of the 2012 MCE British Superbike Championship.
Indeed, it's hard to believe now that Bridewell wasn't even supposed to be racing for Supersonic BMW in the week leading up to the start of the season, but Anthony West's decision to jump his contract and head back to Moto2 would lead to the eleventh hour call-up.
Then again, Bridewell wasn't given much of a hope on the BMW S1000RR, which had so far struggled to shine on the BSB stage in two years of competition, while the novice Italian team (switching to BSB after a stint in World Superbikes) and no pre-season testing didn't exactly bode well either.
Three rounds into the season and Bridewell was already a three-time top six finisher, results well above and beyond initial expectations. Even better, Bridewell brought consistency into the mix (a feature former outfit Tyco Honda felt he lacked), to get S1000RR into the top six on numerous occasions, putting him well in contention for an unexpected 'Title Showdown' entry.
And so it proved, Bridewell proving quite the adept racer to often finish far higher than his grid position and comfortably qualify as the fifth-best 'Title Showdown' contender.
Even so, with no podiums to his name, Bridewell was still a considerable outsider for a title challenge, but it's telling that the 24-year-old produced his most convincing performances during the three-round shootout, firmly proving that he deserved his place amongst the hallowed competition.
Frustratingly, that elusive podium wouldn't come and though Bridewell out-scored Michael Laverty and matched Tommy Hill in the final three events, he actually slipped to sixth overall.
But with just two non-scores throughout the entire season and ten top five finishes, few will deny that Bridewell came of age in 2012… and he has Antony West to thank for giving him the opportunity to prove it.
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2010:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2009:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2008:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2012:
5. Tommy Hill