BeerMonster Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell is the 2023 British Superbike Championship after finishing second to closest rival Glenn Irwin in a tense final race of the season at Brands Hatch
A final lap move by Bridewell on Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha) for second place ultimately proved decisive, giving him the extra points he needed to cancel out Irwin's winning score and remain ahead by the smallest of margins.
A fitting end to a season that has ebbed and flowed between two popular, experienced and closely-matched team-mates in Bridewell and Irwin, their efforts sealed Paul Bird Motorsport a ninth BSB title in a poignant tribute towards late team boss Paul Bird.
Bridewell started from pole, but it was Ryan Vickers on the second OMG machine who led into Paddock Hill from the Ducati rider although Bridewell took over at Hawthorn and he led at the end of the opening lap from Vickers, Ryde, Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha), Christian Iddon (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) and Irwin.
Ryde moved up to second on lap two with Irwin overhauling Iddon for fifth at Surtees and the Northern Irishman then took over fourth at Hawthorn. Meanwhile, Ryde took the lead at Dingle Dell on what proved to be a hectic second lap.
By lap four, the front five of Ryde, Bridewell, Vickers, Irwin and Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad Team) opened a small gap over sixth placed Iddon who now had Max Cook (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) and Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW) for company, the latter two swapping places on the fifth lap.
Irwin briefly took third at the start of lap six only for Vickers to fight back immediately but the Ducati rider made the pass stick at Hawthorn later in the lap and then set about doing the same to his team-mate.
Drama came on lap seven as Irwin moved ahead of Bridewell at Surtees with a late overtake and with Bridewell running slightly wide, Vickers nipped through to take third which handed the championship advantage to Irwin although there was still plenty of laps to run.
Lap eight and the running order was Irwin, Ryde, Vickers, Bridewell, Haslam, Iddon and Brookes with just 1.5s between them but a lap later Bridewell moved back into third and, tucking in behind Irwin, he was back in the driving seat.
Ryde continued to set the pace at the head of the field and the front four were now edging away from the three riders behind but on lap 11, Irwin took the lead at Hawthorn which meant Bridewell had to get into second if he was to take the title.
Only half a second covered the front four as they started the thirteenth lap and Bridewell retook second and the championship lead with a move on Ryde at Hawthorn, the Ducati pulling alongside and then ahead of the Yamaha.
Irwin was looking strong in the lead, but he needed to bring the riders behind him into play and, primarily, get Ryde to move ahead of Bridewell but the latter kept covering any attempt Ryde made although it remained extremely tight between them – and tense.
The front three were nose to tail as they started lap 17 of 20, only two tenths of a second between them, and a moment at Paddock Hill by Irwin allowed Ryde to go from third to first. Irwin was back in the lead at Hawthorn, but another slide allowed Ryde back into the lead with three laps to go.
Starting the penultimate lap, Ryde led Irwin and Bridewell with the Yamaha rider appearing to have slightly better grip, but Irwin had other ideas and retook the lead at his favoured Hawthorn spot. And that put him back in the championship lead ahead of the final lap.
Bridewell grabbed second at Druids on the final lap though and it proved to be the decisive move as he staved off Ryde for the remainder of the lap and although Irwin took the win, Bridewell finished 0.372s behind to take the tile by half a point.
Ryde finished third in both the race and the championship with Vickers ending his fine season in fourth ahead of Haslam and Iddon. O’Halloran, Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki), Brookes and Charlie Nesbitt (MasterMac Honda by Hawk Racing) rounded out the top ten.
Brands Hatch BSB | Race 3 Results
|2023 British Superbike Championship [BSB] | Brands Hatch | Race 3 Results | Round 11 of 11|
|1||Glenn Irwin||🇬🇧||BeerMonster PBM||Ducati Panigale V4||20 Laps|
|2||Tommy Bridewell||🇬🇧||BeerMonster PBM||Ducati Panigale V4||+0.372|
|3||Kyle Ryde||🇬🇧||LAMI OMG Racing||Yamaha R1||+0.671|
|4||Ryan Vickers||🇬🇧||LAMI OMG Racing||Yamaha R1||+3.576|
|5||Leon Haslam||🇬🇧||ROKiT BMW Motorrad||BMW M 1000 RR||+5.157|
|6||Christian Iddon||🇬🇧||Oxford Racing||Ducati Panigale V4||+5.583|
|7||Jason O'Halloran||🇦🇺||McAMS||Yamaha R1||+5.640|
|8||Lee Jackson||🇬🇧||Cheshire Mouldings FS-3||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+7.366|
|9||Josh Brookes||🇦🇺||FHO Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+7.564|
|10||Charlie Nesbitt||🇬🇧||MasterMac by Hawk||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+16.599|
|11||Max Cook||🇬🇧||Cheshire Mouldings FS-3||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+19.706|
|12||Storm Stacey||🇬🇧||Starline Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+23.196|
|13||Tom Neave||🇬🇧||Honda Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+23.315|
|14||Bradley Perie||🇬🇧||VisionTrack Racng||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+23.681|
|15||Niccolo Canepa||🇮🇹||McAMS||Yamaha R1||+25.844|
|16||Davey Todd||🇬🇧||SYNETIQ BMW Motorrad||BMW M 1000 RR||+26.408|
|17||Andrew Irwin||🇬🇧||Honda Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+34.676|
|18||Jack Scott||🇬🇧||Rapid CDH Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+34.851|
|19||Fraser Rogers||🇬🇧||IN Competition||Aprilia RSV4 (P)||+41.477|
|20||Alex Olsen||🇬🇧||Cumins by Team IWR||Honda CBR1000RR-R (P)||+44.033|
|21||Brayden Elliott||🇦🇺||DAO Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+53.573|
|22||Tom Booth-Amos||🇬🇧||TAG Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+54.423|
|23||Louis Valleley||🇬🇧||Rapid CDH Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+1m >|
|DNF||Peter Hickman||🇬🇧||FHO Racing||BMW M 1000 RR|
|DNF||Jack Kennedy||🇮🇪||Mar-Train Racing||Yamaha R1|
|DNF||Shaun Winfield||🇬🇧||TAG Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R (P)|
|DNF||Luke Mossey||🇬🇧||Tactix L1 Racing||BMW M 1000 RR|
|DNF||Franco Bourne||🇬🇧||Marvel HCL Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R (P)|