Tommy Bridewell claimed his first win of the season at Oulton Park on Sunday, the Oxford Products Ducati rider taking a narrow victory over Honda’s Glenn Irwin and Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki’s Lee Jackson in the final Bennetts British Superbike race of the weekend.
Championship leader Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Yamaha) again ran into difficulties as the race wore, after leading for the first half of the race, and slipped back to fifth which meant his lead was cut back to 40 points.
Irwin grabbed the lead from pole position, but Ray moved ahead at Lodge at the end of the opening lap and led over the line from Irwin, Jackson, Bridewell, Danny Buchan (Synetiq BMW) and Tom Sykes (MCE Ducati). Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki) was running in seventh with Josh Brookes on the second MCE machine one place further back in eighth.
By lap three, Ray was already beginning to pull away and his lead was up to 0.6s as he started lap four, Irwin a similar distance ahead of new third-placed rider Bridewell, the Ducati man having overhauled Jackson at Hizzy’s.
Bridewell was the quickest man on circuit next time around and both he and Irwin were quicker than Ray as the leader’s advantage came back down to 0.4s. Indeed, there was still only 1.4s between the top five at one third race distance. A second further back, Sykes continued to fight off the close attentions of Haslam, teammate Brookes and FHO BMW’s Peter Hickman.
Lap eight saw Irwin take the lead and relegate Ray back to second and the whole group was bunching back together with only two seconds covering the leading nine riders as they started lap nine.
Ray’s pace was again slackening and Bridewell took full advantage on the ninth lap to move up into second. He didn’t stop there either, sliding up the inside of Irwin at Lodge as the race entered its final third.
Buchan had also found a way by Jackson to go fourth and on lap ten he moved into third at the expense of Ray, the championship leader dropping back another place to fifth when Jackson got by on lap 11. Haslam dropped back to 15th though after running onto the grass at Hizzy’s.
Going into the final three laps, the race looked to be between the leading four riders of Bridewell, Irwin, Buchan and Jackson, just half a second between them as they started lap 13 of 15. The first move came by Jackson at the start of the penultimate lap as he got by Buchan going into Old Hall.
However, despite the pressure he was under, Bridewell had enough to keep the others at bay and he crossed the line just 0.089s ahead of Irwin with Jackson claiming third from Buchan. Ray held off Sykes and Hickman to take fifth with Brookes dropping back slightly in the closing stages and ending eighth. Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Yamaha) and Danny Kent (Buildbase Suzuki) rounded out the top ten.