Irwin Romps To Oulton Park Podium, Bridewell Fifth
The BeerMonster Ducati team’s strong start to the 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Championship continued at Oulton Park today with Glenn Irwin and Tommy Bridewell finishing in third and fifth place respectively in the opening race of the weekend.
With yesterday’s opening free practice session seeing dry weather, the subsequent action today saw mixed conditions at the Cheshire track and with a damp track for this afternoon’s qualifying session, it was Glenn who fared best in fourth on the F23-specification V4R BeerMonster Ducati with Bridewell down the order in 15th on the fifth row.
Conditions had improved slightly for the 12-lap BikeSocial Sprint Race and a strong start to the race saw Glenn complete the first lap in third place as he immediately latched onto the back wheel of leaders Josh Brookes and Leon Haslam.
The trio quickly opened up a two-second gap over the rest of the field and although there was never more than half a second between them, overtaking opportunities were limited. Irwin went to overtake Haslam on the tenth of 12 laps, but he wouldn’t get another chance as rain began to fall with the race being stopped on the penultimate lap.
That meant Irwin was awarded third with the points putting him in joint second in the championship with Bridewell, who put in a storming ride from his lowly grid position, coming home in fifth. Aided by the fastest lap of the race, which will put him in pole position for tomorrow’s first race, Bridewell continually moved forward and took over fifth place just after half race distance. That was as high as he was able to climb but it puts him in a much stronger position for tomorrow’s races.
Glenn Irwin: “It’s good to get another podium but it’s also a bit frustrating as we had the potential to have done better than third. The three of us at the front had strengths and weaknesses in different areas so there was a bit of a yo-yo effect without any of us having an opportunity to overtake anywhere. I had a chance on the tenth lap, which, on hindsight, I should have taken with the red flag but that’s racing. The bike felt good and the longer races tomorrow should suit us more and whilst it’s good to have taken some points from Tommy today, I’ll be looking to take some off Josh tomorrow.”
Tommy Bridewell: “The result was OK and I’m happy and disappointed in equal measures. I’m happy to have fought my way through to fifth but that’s what I expected and to be honest, I thought I’d have been able to fight my way up to the podium battle. I needed the front three to be swapping positions as that would have allowed me to close up, but they were very much ‘follow my leader’. I’d also used a lot of the tyre to come through the field but pole position for tomorrow will make things a lot better for me.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “With sketchy conditions throughout qualifying and in the race, we are happy enough with a podium for Glenn and Tommy coming through to secure valuable points in fifth. We’ve got some changes to make overnight and hopefully the weather is a little more settled tomorrow so we can continue challenging for podiums and perhaps a win or two. We know the bike is good around Oulton Park, so we are confident going into the two remaining races at our local round.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship BikeSocial Sprint race (12 laps)
1 Josh Brookes (BMW)
2 Leon Haslam (BMW)
3 Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati)
4 Peter Hickman (BMW)
5 Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati)
6 Andrew Irwin (Honda)
1 Brookes 66
2 Bridewell 57
= Irwin 57
4 Ryde 48
5 Haslam 46
6 O’Halloran 35
BeerMonster Ducati Double Up At Oulton Park
The BeerMonster Ducati team enjoyed a superb day’s racing at Oulton Park today with both Glenn Irwin and Tommy Bridewell taking a Bennetts British Superbike Championship race win each to occupy the first two places in the standings.
After Irwin’s podium finish yesterday in the BikeSocial Sprint race, today’s opening race saw Bridewell head home Irwin for the PBM team’s first one-two in three seasons, before Irwin claimed victory in the day’s second outing meaning with three podiums out of a possible four this weekend, they’re now first and second in the championship with Irwin holding a four-point lead over Bridewell.
Yesterday’s results meant Bridewell started from pole position for bank holiday Monday’s opening 18-lap race around the Cheshire circuit with Irwin heading up the second row. Bridewell hit the front early on and for the first half of the race, there was little to choose between the front five riders, but Tommy continued to control proceedings from the front on the F23-specification V4R BeerMonster Ducati.
As the race entered its second half, he was able to up his pace to gradually edge away and take his maiden win for Paul Bird’s Penrith-based team. His eventual winning margin was 1.5 seconds over teammate Irwin who took second, having steadily worked his way through the field.
Starting the final race of the weekend with Irwin on pole position and Bridewell in third, the first lap saw them running in second and fifth and it was again Glenn at the forefront. He took the lead on the third lap and despite a fierce challenge from a bunch of riders, he managed to hold on for his second win of the season which saw him take the championship lead.
Bridewell, meanwhile, ran in fifth in the early stages and moved up into third at half race distance, aided by the fastest lap of the race. He was unable to climb any higher and ultimately had to settle for fourth meaning he now sits in second place in the table, just four points behind his teammate.
Glenn Irwin: “It’s been a brilliant day for both myself and the whole PBM BeerMonster Ducati team and you can see the passion within the garage with everyone working really hard. I really struggled at the beginning of the first race and lost a position when Peter Hickman crashed in front of me, so I had to work hard to get going. I was really happy to come through to second and give PBM a 1-2 and fair play to Tommy, he rode faultlessly. We made some changes for the final race which helped in some areas, but I nearly lost the front at Shell whilst I also made a mistake when Leon came by. I got back in front to take victory so let’s keep this run going.”
Tommy Bridewell: “It’s been a slightly mixed day as whilst I’m delighted with the race win, I’m disappointed with fourth in the second race. We made a slight change to the chassis, but it wasn’t enough to have made the difference it did, and the bike felt very different in the two races. In the first race, it felt a lot more stable whilst in the second, there was a lot more stress and I was having to ride on the limit to be where I was. It’s helped me understand the bike more though and I believe we can make big improvements to it so it’s a shame we haven’t got another race to try it. Overall, it’s been a positive weekend and it’s been my best ever start to a championship so with further changes, I think we can be stronger still.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “With two wins today and our first 1-2 since 2020, it’s been a fantastic day for the team and it’s even sweeter with it being our local circuit and with the success coming in front of many of our sponsors. It would have been nice if we could have had Tommy on the podium in the final race as well but that would have perhaps been a bit greedy! The wins were good for different reasons, Tommy leading from start to finish in the first and then Glenn leading the final race, dropping back to third and then coming through again to win. We’ve been to two different circuits now and the bike’s proven itself at both which is testament to Ducati so let’s hope the run continues.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race two (18 laps)
1 Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati)
2 Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati)
3 Leon Haslam (BMW)
4 Andrew Irwin (Honda)
5 Kyle Ryde (Yamaha)
6 Josh Brookes (BMW)
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race three (18 laps)
1 Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati)
2 Leon Haslam (BMW)
3 Kyle Ryde (Yamaha)
4 Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati)
5 Josh Brookes (BMW)
6 Peter Hickman (BMW)
Championship positions (after six races)
1 Glenn Irwin 91
2 Bridewell 87
= Brookes 87
4 Haslam 76
5 Ryde 73
6 Andrew Irwin 44