SEVEN UP FOR BRILLIANT BRIDEWELL "Ollie can have his bike back now, that's the old girl's work done..." Wiltshire rider Tommy Bridewell scored his sixth and seventh wins of the season with another superb double at the final round of the 2009...
SEVEN UP FOR BRILLIANT BRIDEWELL
"Ollie can have his bike back now, that's the old girl's work done..."
Wiltshire rider Tommy Bridewell scored his sixth and seventh wins of the season with another superb double at the final round of the 2009 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli at Oulton Park this weekend.
Despite not racing at the Cheshire track since 2007, the 21-year-old from Etchilhampton near Devizes gradually upped his pace as the weekend progressed aboard the four-year-old Team NB Suzuki GSX-R1000 K6 although re-familiarising himself with the track and a return of some gearbox problems hindered his progress on Friday.
However, during Saturday's Swan Combi 50 Roll for Pole, Bridewell had to dig deep to make the second part which he did with his final lap of the session whereby he went on to improve to 17th fastest at the end of the session.
For the opening race of the triple-header weekend, Tommy made a poor start and had to battle his way through the field on Saturday afternoon after the initial race was red-flagged due to a crash involving Karl Harris, but he scrapped his way to 15th place overall and with it, claimed third in the Mirror.co.uk Cup class for privateers.
With some radical changes made to the machine, Bridewell was in confident mood for Sunday's two races although the showery and blustery autumnal conditions didn't bode well but as it turned out, they proved to be no problems for the youngest rider in the series.
In the first race of the day, again a mediocre start didn't help but he scorched his way through to finish in eleventh overall after a superb battle with fellow Cup competitor Gary Mason (Quay Garage Honda) and in doing so claimed the Cup victory but it was in the final race of the season that Tommy saved his best performance.
Targeting a top ten placing to round off the season, Bridewell was in the mix in the early stages but then nearly threw it all away as he took to the damp grass at high speed on lap four of the twelve-lap race but recovered and started to chase down the pack. Lap after lap, he clawed back the deficit and with two laps to go, passed Mason for the lead of the Cup class and despite Mason's gallant fight back, it was Tommy who held on to take his seventh win of the season and with it, a career-equalling best result of ninth overall.
As a result, despite not contesting eight races of the season and thus missing out on a potential 200 points, Tommy ended up fifth in the Mirror.co.uk Cup class and 18th overall in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship.
Tommy commented: "I'm delighted to get another double victory and that last race was the hardest I've ridden all season. We weren't at the races on Friday or Saturday and I had to go and have a word with myself as I didn't want to end the season on a downer so we made some changes to the bike and I got my head into gear and it worked out. I so wanted that win in the last race and fair play to Gary, he really made me work for it but it's been another good weekend and we've come away with two more wins."
Summarising the season, he continued: "We started out with high hopes in the World Championship paddock and it didn't work out so we thought we'd come back home to race so we dusted off Ollie's old bike from the display cabinet to see how we'd do. It has been a lot tougher than I was expecting and after Snetterton, I realised that if we were to succeed, I had to up my game considerably and that's what I've done. The old girl has done us proud and as the season has gone on, a few people have sat up and taken notice of our results so hopefully, we'll be getting a phone call or two as I can't do anything more now to put myself in the shop window."
As well as acknowledging the devoted help of his family, dad Marcus, mum Liz and sister Charlotte, as well as race mechanic 'Thick' Jason Cochrane, in a final tribute to his much-missed elder brother Ollie, who lost his life at Mallory Park in 2007, Tom concluded: "Old Ginge has kept me safe and the way I've had to ride to get these results, I think he's been on the back once or twice this season as I've never crashed once! We're putting the old girl back in the showcase now, and that's her work done, Ollie can have his bike back now and hopefully, I can ride someone else's next season...."