British Superbikes: Bridewell doubles up for day two dominance

Championship leader Tommy Bridewell was back to winning ways for both races on Sunday to pick up a double at Brands Hatch.
Bridewell, 2023, Brands Hatch, Ducati, win, BSB, race 3
Bridewell, 2023, Brands Hatch, Ducati, win, BSB, race 3

Tommy Bridewell suffered in the tricky, wet conditions that graced Saturday at Brands Hatch, but with the return of clear skies came a return to winning ways for Tommy Bridewell as he doubled up over two very different races at the Kent track.

Race two saw a breakaway for Bridewell after the safety car pulled in, bringing him back into play after a less than ideal start with the #46 making the most of his second shot at the win.

Race three ended with the same result for the BeerMonster Ducati rider, but was a very different beat - with five riders in with a shout for victory until the final stages, where there was still a lead trio with all to play for in the final corners.

Bridewell, 2023, Brands Hatch, Ducati, win, BSB, race 3, podium , irwin, vickers
Bridewell, 2023, Brands Hatch, Ducati, win, BSB, race 3, podium , irwin,…

‘I feel like I could go and do another race again!’

Bridewell collected his fifth win in six attempts but thanked his team for their part in his new approach and mindset:

“To get one British Superbike race win is an achievement because of the calibre of riders and teams and everything, so to back it up with another win is, to get five wins out of the last six races is just showing how confident I am, how good I feel within myself, within the bike and just how strong my team is to be honest.

It makes a big difference, when I’m thinking I’m understanding,I’m just analysing everything - how my bike’s working, how I can improve how I can go faster. Yes in that race I knew Glenn was going to come with me, because he was starting further up the grid in that race and he’s not silly, I knew that he was just going to sit behind me in truth, I was quite surprised he didn’t pass me earlier on, I think if the shoe was on the other foot I certainly would of, to stop - to have broken my rhythm.

I knew what he was up to , in honesty I think it made a big difference, me knowing that”.

With everything still to play for the new, consistent Bridewell came to the fore and found success again:

“Coming onto the last lap - honestly- I felt so good on the bike because I was riding so within myself I didn’t really defend, I didn’t feel like I needed to because I knew that if a was able to hit my markers, brake where I was braking, accelerate where I was accelerating I knew the last lap would be a very low (1m) 26.

…I feel like I could go and do another race again!”

‘It’s a dangerous time to drive into someone …’

Bridewell, 2023, Brands Hatch, Ducati, win, BSB, race 3,irwin
Bridewell, 2023, Brands Hatch, Ducati, win, BSB, race 3,irwin

Glenn Irwin was making all kinds of shapes to catch up and then stay in touch with his teammate. The Northern Irish rider appreciated how important a good run at Brands Hatch is at this stage in the season when the paddock is due to head back to the Kent track for the finale, adding that having Bridewell as a teammate was filtering in to his own race tactics:

"Yeah, probably the most important track to show you have the pace to fight for the win as we come back here at the end of the year…I felt really good on Friday, we didn’t show our hand and I learnt a lot from Tommy at Snetterton, he worked a lot on rhythm, the good thing is were very different and very similar, he’s like me and opens his mouth so …we analysed and we came here with an approach that I learned from him, at the moment he’s doing a great job - and that’s a compliment to him by saying that".

Irwin had struggle to get his bike not to run wide I the first race of the day, especially at Druids, but looked to have eased his issues, which he attributed to there being more rubber down from the support classes in between and less rain to deal with:

"In the first race today I thought we had a good ride from 14th the bike just felt, like so much not like my bike…we put it down to… after a lot of rain we lost a lot of rubber…for my style the bike just didn’t feel like yesterday at all".

The PBM rider was still very much consumed with the actions of McAMS rider Jason O’Halloran in the early stages of the race:

"That race there was much nicer, going into a nice position,I’ve already touched on it a few times but Jason nerfed me at turn one, I’ll not say any more on that just a bit disappointed because he’d clearly seen me, there’s no need to drive… it’s a dangerous time to drive into someone because there is 25 superbikes behind you - I wouldn’t deliberately drive into someone.

That lit the fuse in a good way… I had a great ride with Tommy, mid race I felt like I could have passed him bur he was saving his tyres, so what was the point. I guess what you learn there at this level is it’s so competitive - if there is the one chance to pass, you’ve got to do it!”

The #2 could not relax or concentrate on his abttle with Bridewell as he endured an equal amount of attention from Ryan Vickers behind as the lead trio broke away.

“Ryan was riding excellent so and that made it fun - there was no option to settle for second, you know, had to be to fight with Tommy because Ryan was still fighting with me, as soon as you relax he was getting past”.

'That’s the only place I could pass!’

Vickers himself enjoyed his best weekend to date, ironically at a track where he does not enjoy the fondest of memories:

“So happy, its been an amazing weekend. It’s quite funny - it’s been my worst circuit in my superbike career. I’ve said that a few times, I’ve had some of the biggest crashes of my life, bleeding on the brain and all sorts of stuff. It’s been a real tough circuit for me, to turn it around and have my best superbike career weekend is amazing, it just shows the frame of mind the team’s put me in and the bike and everything that I’m getting from riding with the LAMI OMG Racing team, they're doing a fantastic job - it’s the environment, they’re amazing guys , loving every minute".

Vickers had been on the podium of close repeatedly over the last few rounds, the highlight of which was his race win in the treacherous wet conditions at Brands Hatch on Saturday. That was declared after seven laps with the #7 feeling that although there was more glory in a win, that race three cemented his arrival with his best performance to date:

“That last race was probably the best race of my career, most enjoyable, wow we had to work hard for that, you know,I’ve never been o the limit so much in my life,but actually enjoyable and controlled I was making moves on people,that’s been the hardest thing for me this whole weekend and and pretty much every weekend I’ve actually been at the front is passing those in front of me with a little bit of a speed disadvantage makes it very, very hard to, especially overtake, because all I do on the brakes is catch the gap that I’ve lost.

I put myself in some rally good positions today, in probably some of the hardest places to pass on the circuit, but that’s the only place I could pass!”

There was no question that Bridewell would lead ahead of the next round in Thruxton in August, and the #46 guaranteed himself the biggest possible margin with two wins on Sunday elevating him to a total of 258.

Irwn did all he could to limit the damage to his title hopes, but even second to his winning teammate did little to help with the difference between the pair now at an increased 34.5 points.

The rivals nearest to them both saw DNFs in the final race - Kyle Ryde stays on 181 after his bikes gear lever came off, while Josh Brookes remains at 177 after being squeezed out on the first lap.

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