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Tommy Bridewell 'honoured' to win BSB title for late Paul Bird, admits to 'isolated' feeling after death

Impact Images
Tommy Bridewell, BeerMonster Ducati, Paul Bird Motorsport, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 2023 BSB, Brands Hatch, portrait, celebration, champion [Gold & Goose]

British Superbike Champion Tommy Bridewell has revealed how he felt ‘a little isolated’ within the BeerMonster Ducati team following the death of team founder and boss, Paul Bird.

Bird died suddenly after a short illness in September 2023, just as his eponymous team was gearing up for a final push towards what was to become a record-breaking ninth BSB title for PBM.

His passing came in the year PBM bounced back to prominence on the domestic stage following disappointing campaigns in 2021 and 2022, with Bridewell - in his first year with the ex-MotoGP and WorldSBK outfit - locked in a heated battle for title honours with team-mate Glenn Irwin.


Indeed, getting Bridewell on board at PBM had long been a personal target for the 56-year old, Bird telling BSN he had ‘a massive soft spot’ for the Devizes rider in an interview just weeks before his passing.

Tommy Bridewell, BeerMonster Ducati, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 2023 BSB, Oulton Park, action [Impact Images]

It’s an appreciation Bridewell shared too, who describes racing under his stewardship as ‘an honour for a small-town lad’.

“Paul Bird is one of those characters that he has worked with some phenomenal world class riders, so for him to turn round to me that he has seen something in me that he hasn’t seen before, was an honour for me,” Bridewell told BSN.

“I look back at the riders who have raced for him or rubbed shoulders with - I’m just a small-town lad who tries to pretend he is a farmer in the week, then rides bikes at the weekend!

“I am nothing special but I am committed to what I do and if I set out to do something, I will always do whatever I can to achieve it.” 

The 35-year old also paid tribute to Bird’s uniting influence within the team, revealing the efforts he’d go to ensure morale remained positive.

“When Paul was about, it was f**king fantastic. He’d come into the garage, he’d look at me and he’d have a little smirk on his face.


“What I loved was that, if I had won, then the team and Paul were over the moon, but if I finished fifth then the team and Paul were still very happy and then they’d want to work out how to win again 

“It wasn’t ‘why didn’t you win’, he’d keep our feet on the ground and we’d get it sorted.”

“It was stupid we didn’t work together sooner”

Bird’s death came at a critical time in Bridewell’s increasingly tense title tussle with Irwin, the pair split by just 14.5 points with only three rounds of the season remaining.


A simmering inter-team battle that bubbled over when they controversially clashed at the penultimate Donington Park round, Bridewell admits PBM suffered for losing Bird’s bonding effect during these pivotal moments.

“Losing him was tough. It made things a little bit trickier and it felt a little bit isolating for me and my crew when we were working in our own little group.

"When Paul was about, he was quite adamant the team was expected to work as a team, so when he passed then that kind of went out of the window, if I am being brutally honest.

“We didn’t have someone to steady the ship. After Oulton Park and Donington Park, I know I’d have had an ear chewing as much as anyone else, but we definitely lacked the leader, the captain of the ship.”

Going on to pip Irwin to the 2023 BSB title by a mere 0.5 points, Bridewell says he takes great pride from being the rider to honour Bird’s memory with a record-affirming ninth BSB riders’ crown.

“When we knew Paul was poorly, I was messaging him regularly, keeping in touch and then he sadly passed away. It affected me because he was someone I’d always wanted to work with and stupidly we didn’t join together sooner really. 

“But I am so honoured to give Paul Bird personally his last BSB Championship, that can never be done again for him, so it was an honour for that.”

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