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Eazi Grip

A hat trick of podium finishes for Tommy Bridewell at Donington Park

A sensational second for Tommy Bridewell at Donington Park

Tommy Bridewell puts a difficult Friday behind him and produces a champion’s ride to secure a second-place finish in the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship race of the weekend, achieving his second podium in Honda colours.

The day began with the final of three Superbike practice sessions for the team and overnight work to Tommy’s CBR1000RR Fireblade SP instantly provided the 2023 champion with the positive changes that he required. He ended this opening session in a much more representative second place and gave an early indicator of the day ahead.

Heading into Qualifying one a determined Tommy then replicated this promising pace to advance through into Superpole. His teammates meanwhile endured a slightly more challenging Qualifying, with Andrew Irwin eighteenth on the grid, and Dean Harrison twenty first.

As ‘I’ve got a brand new combine harvester’ blared from the circuit speakers, Tommy Bridewell then launched his Fireblade to the sixth quickest time of the Superpole session, guaranteeing himself a second row grid slot for the twenty lap race later in the day.

Packed crowds lined the circuit as the lights went out and the Superbikes roared away from the grid. From his second row qualifying slot, Tommy made an excellent start to get away with the leading group in front and quickly began a masterclass in overtaking as he battled in a group of seven riders. By half race distance and having dispatched numerous riders behind him, Tommy found himself in third and rapidly chasing down the leading duo ahead whilst dropping a quartet of riders behind him. Two laps later he had progressed further and was now sitting in second position and hot on the heels of Kyle Ryde out front.

With the red flag waving due to a crash and signalling the end to a now shortened race one, the result was declared. Tommy picked up a sensational second place finish and doubled his Honda trophy haul. He heads into tomorrow’s races targeting his first win. Andrew Irwin and Dean Harrison both made progress in the race to finish in fourteenth and seventeenth respectively.

In the day’s single Supersport race, Jack Kennedy made a great start from his fifth place grid position to get away with a leading group of riders made up of the three championship favourites and two world championship wildcard riders. The pace out front was at lap record pace and although Jack rode the wheels off his CBR600RR, he just missed out on the podium battle to finish in fourth. Focusing on the positives though, he scores more championship points and gathers valuable data for tomorrow’s race.

#1 Tommy Bridewell

I knew something wasn’t quite right on Friday and we were really struggling, which was difficult because we couldn’t make any changes quickly between sessions. So overnight the team made some big changes and pretty much built the bike again from scratch. The thing I love, is that the team didn’t ask any questions, they trusted me and just got on with making the changes and got to work. Then this morning when I went out in FP3 I thought ‘I’ve got my bike back.’ It is my pleasure then to go out and stick it on the podium and repay them for their hard work, it is what they deserve and it is what we expect. It is exciting times ahead for me and Honda!

#18 Andrew Irwin

P14 is not why I come racing, and it is certainly not a reflection of the potential of this bike and of myself. It is in these difficult moments though that we will work together as a team to reach our goals. There is work to do, but we will not shy away from getting stuck in and making the progress that we all want to achieve. 

#5 Dean Harrison

It was a bit of a frustrating race to be honest, the start wasn’t the best so we didn’t manage to push through to the positions that our pace really warranted. I think realistically we had the pace for much better we just need to get through the guys a bit quicker. The problem is that I haven’t yet mastered the aggression in the early laps to get the elbows out and fight. In fairness, I’ve got one eye on the TT too so first and foremost I want to get through the weekend unscathed. We have learnt a few things today though which is beneficial for the team. I tried a few things with the setup to give us some decent data which I think might unlock a few things for us all. We’ll try to make another step in warm-up and then go again tomorrow. 

#4 Jack Kennedy

Look we scored some good points today, which is good for the championship and we’ve ticked a lot of boxes in the grand scheme of things, but at the same time I’m not happy with the result. To not be there in the podium battle and fighting for the win is frustrating. There are a few areas where we are struggling, I think it’s clear to see where they are and there are some things that we won’t be able to change. This is a long championship though and we have to focus on ourselves and be patient. I’d like to be up there tomorrow fighting for the podium, which I know is a big ask given the world championship level wildcards that are here. We’ll try something tomorrow in warm up and have another go.

A further two podiums on Sunday for Tommy Bridewell

In a brilliant display of grit, determination and extraordinary race craft, Tommy Bridewell doubles down with two more podium finishes to end round three with a hattrick of podium finishes.

Picture perfect conditions provided the backdrop for a sensational display of racing at round three of the Bennetts British Superbike championship at Donington Park. A sea of fans lined the circuit and were treated to arguably some of the best racing of the year to date in the second of two Superbike races of the day.

First on the schedule however for the team was the shorter twelve lap Superbike sprint. In which, Tommy lined up in fifth on the grid whilst teammates Andrew Irwin and Dean Harrison occupied sixteenth and seventeenth respectively. The race itself was a fast and frantic affair with riders not concerned about tyre life pushing the pace from the off. Out front, Tommy had to get his elbows out to push through into the final podium position, but as a result of the intense battle, the time he had lost to the leading duo early in the race left him with simply too much of a bridge to gap. Nonetheless he backed up his impressive potential from yesterday to secure his first podium of the day in third.

Andrew Irwin and Dean Harrison too were putting together impressive races towards the lower point scoring positions. Dean secured his best finish of the short circuit season to date in Honda colours with an impressive eleventh, whilst Andrew battled through to secure a confidence boosting top ten finish in ninth.

Jack Kennedy was then out next for the team in the single Supersport race of the day. He endured a rather lonely race to a fifth place finish as the leading world championship wildcard riders checked-out out front. Nonetheless, he rode a valiant race and scored yet more championship points. He now sits second in the championship, just three points behind Ben Currie in first.

In the final race for the team, and easily the race of the season so far, both Tommy and Andrew delivered their best rides. Andrew, buoyed by the progression he had displayed through the weekend delivered front running pace and decisive overtakes to secure a season best finish of seventh. This could easily have been more had he not made a few small mistakes during the race. Nevertheless, a return to good form enables him to leave Donington in an assured mood. Dean Harrison too secured more points on the board with a thirteenth place finish.

Meanwhile, battling out front for his first win in Honda colours, Tommy Bridewell produced some fantastic racing with gutsy overtakes aplenty and raw speed in abundance. Leading at moments and fighting amongst a quartet of riders throughout for the race win, he crossed the line in an impressive second place to bag his second podium of the day and his third of the weekend. He now sits fourth in the championship and just twenty two points behind.

The Honda Racing UK team now turns its attention to the Isle of Man TT Races, which commence on Monday 27th May.

#1 Tommy Bridewell

It feels fantastic to be walking away from Donington with three more podiums and the rider of the round award. That last race was a proper good old dog fight and I absolutely loved it, we were having a right ‘ding dong’ for the entire race. Jason just timed his move at exactly the right time and nicked it, so credit to him. I enjoyed every lap, getting the elbows out and having a good scrap. This weekend is testament to all of the hard work that the team and I are putting in, and in truth, we are overachieving for where we are in this project. There is so much more to come and that first Honda win is not far away at all. There’s a little break now before Knockhill, while the team head of to the Isle of Man, but trust me, we will keep on working behind the scenes and come out fighting again next round. 

#18 Andrew Irwin

I said before the weekend that we are not going to go from fifteenth to the podium, but honestly if in that last race we could have got away with the leaders at the start I think it could’ve been a different story. I went from fourteenth in the first race yesterday, ninth in the second race and then seventh in the final race which shows a continuous progression. In the final race I think I was riding the best that I have all year, but I just made a couple of silly mistakes. I’m still green and I’m missing that last little bit, a bit like ring rust I suppose. To be in and amongst the battle with race winners and to be lapping as quick as the leaders is a huge confidence boost. We head to Knockhill smiling and we will continue to keep progressing. 

#5 Dean Harrison

We’ve had two great races and achieved two solid point scoring finishes. Yes, I want more, I’m not satisfied with finishing in P11 but all in all we have constantly been moving forward and we are knocking on the door of the top ten. I know that there is more to come and we will keep on working to crack into that top ten and realise our potential. But the bike is good, I’m riding well, I’ve made it through the weekend in one piece and now we head to the Isle of Man TT. I’m looking forward to it. 

#4 Jack Kennedy

Strong successful weekend on the CBR600RR going the fastest that I have ever gone around Donington on a Supersport bike. We brought home a fourth and a fifth and brought home strong points which keeps us right in championship potential. We want to be battling for podiums and for wins, which was made much more difficult this weekend with the World Supersport wildcards here. Fourth and fifth isn’t really what we want, but we keep our focus after what was a successful weekend in the grand scheme of things. We will bring some more upgrades to the bike and with the incoming balance of performance things may swing in our favour. We will keep the faith heading to Knockhill in a few weeks time. 

 

Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2024 in News

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