BRIDEWELL BROTHERS READY TO ROLL AT BRANDS
The 2006 British championship season gets underway this weekend at Brands Hatch in Kent with Etchilhampton near Devizes in Wiltshire brothers Tommy and Ollie Bridewell both relishing their new challenges.
After impressing throughout the 2005 season, both 17 year old Tommy and 20 year old Ollie have been rewarded with rides in the British Supersport and Bennetts British Superbike Championships respectively with the Vivaldi Racing Team.
After finishing fifth in the Metzeler Racetec National Superstock Championship for the Lincolnshire-based team last season, Ollie has moved into the Superbike team alongside Scott Smart and Ben Wilson whilst Tommy, who finished in third place in the Virgin Mobile Cup of 2006, has been drafted in as the team's sole representative in the British Supersport class aboard a 600cc Suzuki.
The team has undergone an extensive and rigorous pre-season test programme in Spain and although Ollie has benefited from his first serious outing on a 200bhp superbike, Tommy was injured after crashing and sustained a serious finer injury which needed surgery.
There was some doubt that Tommy would be able to ride this weekend but a further operation has proved successful and he expects to take his place on the grid on Sunday.
"I lost the end off my little finger and then there were some complications with it not healing properly but I'm glad to say it's a lot better now. I'm really looking forward to racing again and hopefully the finger will be OK. I'm sure the adrenaline will numb the pain and it's important I get the season off to a good start as I intend to be strong this season" said Tommy.
Meanwhile, elder brother Ollie will be up against some of the world's fastest racers in what is widely recognised as the toughest domestic superbike championship in the world. But the bespectacled ginger ace is not phased by the prospect and is planning a good impression aboard his 1000cc Vivaldi Suzuki this weekend:
"I know it's going to be tough but I'm feeling in a confident mood ahead of Brands. We had some good tests pre-season and I'm hoping that we can be somewhere in the mix from the off. Really, I just want to get round one out of the way with some safe points tucked away and then I'll have a lot more insight from then on. The weather is not looking too good but I'm happy to race in the wet or dry conditions so bring it on!" said Ollie.
Marcus Bridewell, Ollie and Tom's father who runs the Wayside Racing Team which the boys started their careers with, commented:
"It's a shame Tom has had a setback but he's well on the road to recovery now although he could have done without that. Ollie has been training very hard over winter and both of them realise that this is the opportunity of a lifetime. It seems strange for both me and my wife Liz that we aren't running around making all the usual last minute plans but I'm delighted that they are both riding for the Vivaldi Racing Team this season and we wish them both well"