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Oulton BSB: Bridewell beats Yamahas with bold fightback

After the drama of Saturday, Tommy Bridewell won the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship race of the day at Oulton Park on Sunday afternoon, the Oxford Products Ducati rider coming all the way through from 13th to take the chequered flag ahead of the McAMS Yamaha’s of Jason O’Halloran and Tarran Mackenzie.

O’Halloran led from Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) and Mackenzie at the end of the opening lap but Title Fighter Glenn Irwin was really up against having had to start from the back of the grid, along with Ryan Vickers, having failed to make it out of pit lane in time for the sighting lap.
Storm Stacey was another in trouble having jumped the start and that meant a long lap penalty for the teenager whilst Ryo Mizuno added to Honda’s misery as he crashed at Druids.
Back at the front and lap three saw Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) move up to third and at the start of the next lap, he briefly moved into second before Iddon got back ahead at the Avenue. Meanwhile, Bridewell was the fastest man on the track in seventh.
At the start of lap four, O’Halloran and Iddon had opened up a gap of almost a second over new third placed rider Josh Brookes with Mackenzie still in fourth but Hickman now down to fifth ahead of Lee Jackson (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki). Bridewell’s charge was dented though as he ran on at Hizzy’s and dropped back to 13th, one spot ahead of Glenn Irwin who was fighting his way through the pack.
Brookes halved the deficit on lap five, bringing Mackenzie and Jackson with him, and a lap later the top six were bunching back up together with just 1.1s covering them. Irwin’s hopes disappeared though as he crashed out.
By lap seven, Bridewell had fought his way back up to seventh but had 1.4s to make up on sixth placed Hickman with the latter soon going back up to fifth at the expense of Jackson.
O’Halloran continued to lead Iddon by around two-tenths of a second, but by half race distance he’d extended his advantage to half a second with Brookes desperately trying to get by his team-mate although he lost a bit of ground when he ran slightly wide at Island.
Iddon cut the gap to O’Halloran to 0.1s tenth time around and it was now a seven-rider battle with Bridewell having reeled them back in, the only rider lapping below 1’35.
O’Halloran responded to Iddon’s pressure and was 0.272s ahead again as they started their 12th lap and although Brookes, Mackenzie continued to follow, Bridewell had now overhauled Jackson and at the start of lap 13, he did the same at Old Hall to Hickman to move into fifth.
A bit further on round the lap, Brookes finally got into second, sliding up the inside of Iddon going into Hizzy’s but it didn’t last long as Iddon quickly retook the position and by the end of the lap, the reigning champion was down to fourth with Mackenzie having taken him for third.
Going into the final laps, there was still only one-second covering the leading seven riders but it was O’Halloran who continued to lead whilst further back, Bridewell moved up another spot to fourth on lap 15, immediately opening up a gap of three quarters of a second over Brookes.
With two laps to go, it looked to be a four-horse race and Bridewell was now into third having again used Old Hall as the place to move forward, this time at Iddon’s expense. He wasn’t done there either and took Mackenzie at Island to go second.
At the start of the last lap, O’Halloran lost the lead for the first time as Bridewell again slid up the inside of a rival at Old Hall and he took one of his finest BSB victories by 0.486s from O’Halloran with Mackenzie in third.
Iddon held on for fourth but Brookes crashed out at Druids and it was Hickman, Jackson, Bradley Ray, Danny Buchan, Andrew Irwin and Gino Rea who completed the top 10.

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