Milwaukee Yamaha's Tommy Bridewell celebrated an emotional debut victory in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park by just 0.005s from Shane 'Shakey' Byrne in a race that was stopped for rain.
At the start of the race Byrne got off to a flying start from the pole position on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki with Chris Walker, Jon Kirkham and Ryuichi Kiyonari giving chase. As Byrne held the advantage over the opening lap Kiyonari began his fight through to the front by moving ahead of Walker at Park corner.
Kiyonari was then pushing to hit the front and he moved ahead of Byrne with a move at Park on the fourth lap. The triple champions were then side-by-side but championship leader Byrne couldn't regain the advantage. There was heartbreak for Kiyonari and Buildbase BMW when he was forced to retire just a few laps later ending his hopes of a podium finish.
At the front Byrne had held the advantage, but Bridewell had been fighting his way through the pack and was soon on the back wheel of his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rival and looking for a way ahead. On the seventh lap Bridewell made a move at Park to take the lead, but a lap later Byrne repaid the move in the exact same style to regain the position.
The pair were side-by-side at the line with Bridewell holding the edge, but the race was red flagged when the rain began to fall, giving the Milwaukee Yamaha rider his first victory in the championship. Byrne claimed second place whilst Walker was holding third despite the best efforts of Josh Brookes who moved through to fourth despite his tenth place grid start.
Josh Waters was fifth before the red flag ahead of Peter Hickman who held sixth place for the RAF Reserves Honda team whilst Dan Linfoot held seventh to continue adding solid points to his challenge for a Showdown position. Jon Kirkham, Stuart Easton and Glen Richards completed the top ten.
Byrne said: "It was a tough call to be honest and I find it hard to take second. I had led for most of the race and then Kiyo came by and then it got a little bit sketchy, then it was back at the front. I hit a false neutral coming out of the last section and it meant a drag to the line with Tommy (Bridewell). I couldn't believe it when I saw P2 when we came back in. That said second place is more credits for the Showdown and we hope we can make it a win in the second one."