BSB Brands Hatch: Tommy Bridewell crowned 2023 champion in tense season finale

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Tommy Bridewell has been crowned 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Champion after a nail-biting season finale at Brands Hatch.

Bridewell knew that he only had to finish a position behind Glenn Irwin in order to become champion, but in typical BSB fashion, it wasn’t as simple as that. The championship positions switched around no more than eight times throughout the race as Bridewell, Irwin and Kyle Ryde battled hard against each other.

Irwin took the lead of the race once more on the penultimate lap, leading Ryde and Bridewell. The latter had to make a move on Ryde on the final lap or else Irwin would be crowned champion. Undeterred, Bridewell made a move stick and withheld intense pressure from Ryde to the remainder of the race.

Irwin took victory, but Bridewell did enough to take the title by just 0.5 points – the closest margin in the history of the championship. Bridewell ends his campaign with eight victories, with Irwin’s victory his 10th of a strong campaign.

Ryde completed the podium to cap off a fantastic season for the LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha rider. His teammate Ryan Vickers was fourth, whilst Leon Haslam completed the top five.

Elsewhere, Christian Iddon fought back from his huge crash in race two to finish sixth ahead of Jason O’Halloran and Lee Jackson. Josh Brookes and Charlie Nesbitt completed the top 10.

Max Cook’s rookie campaign ended with an 11th place finish onboard the Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki, whilst Storm Stacey, Tom Neave, Bradley Perie and Niccolo Canepa secured the final points on offer.

Franco Bourne suffered a big highside at Druids on the opening lap and look to be in some discomfort afterwards. Bourne was taken to the medical centre.

Jack Kennedy returned to the pits at the end of lap 13 to retire from his final race with Mar-Train Yamaha.

The 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Championship title fight will go to the final race after Glenn Irwin was victorious in race two at Brands Hatch.

Irwin withstood immense pressure throughout the race, firstly from Kyle Ryde and Jason O’Halloran on their respective Yamaha machines, and then by BeerMonster Ducati teammate Tommy Bridewell.

Bridewell was right on the tail of his teammate and main title rival, but was unable to get into position to attack. As a result, he had to settle for second and the difference between the two riders is now 5.5 points.

This means that Bridewell can now afford to finish directly behind Irwin in the final race later this afternoon and still be crowned champion. Should the final race result be an exact copy of race two, Bridewell would be crowned champion by half-a-point. The one-two for PBM means that they have claimed the Cerzatizit Teams Trophy.

Ryde completed the podium after dropping off the rear of the Ducatis after running wide at Druids on lap 16. Fortunately for him, LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha teammate Ryan Vickers was in fourth and did not attempt to overtake his title-chasing teammate. Ryde is now 30 points behind Bridewell in the standings with 35 points remaining.

Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki duo Lee Jackson and Max Cook came home in sixth and seventh respectively after getting the better of Josh Brookes in the closing stages. Peter Hickman and Storm Stacey completed the top 10.

Storm Stacey was next in 11th, finishing ahead of Charlie Nesbitt and Tom Neave. Andrew Irwin, Jack Kennedy and Luke Mossey claimed the final points on offer.

Tom Booth-Amos crashed out on the opening lap at Druids, whilst Davey Todd returned to the pits at the end of lap four to retire. Booth-Amos’ TAG Racing Honda teammate Shaun Winfield also failed to finish the race.

Christian Iddon crashed hard on the exit of Druids on lap eight and had to be stretchered away by marshals. Iddon was taken to the medical centre as a result and the safety car was released.  

O’Halloran’s title dreams came to an end moments later when he crashed out of second place at Surtees.

The final race of the 2023 BSB season is due to take place at 16:00, with the championship presentations taking place following its conclusion.

Kyle Ryde kept his championship hopes alive at Brands Hatch on Saturday afternoon after beating Jason O’Halloran to the line in the sprint race.

Ryde and O’Halloran were clear of the field at the front of the field, with O’Halloran diving down the inside of Ryde at Paddock Hill Bend on the final lap. However, Ryde fought back immediately at Druids.

O’Halloran took the wider line into Clearways and the pair were side by side as they crossed the finish line, with Ryde taking victory by just 0.015s. It’s Ryde’s sixth victory of the season and he’s now only 27 points behind Tommy Bridewell with 70 still up for grabs.

Bridewell extended his championship lead over BeerMonster Ducati teammate and main title rival Glenn Irwin after finishing third. Bridewell withstood immense pressure from Irwin, who attempted a move on the penultimate lap at Stirlings, but went in too deep and ran wide.

Kyle Ryde celebrates victory on the Brands Hatch podium

This allowed Bridewell to stay clear of Irwin, who had fought his way through from 17th on the grid, and his advantage at the top of the standings is now 10.5 points with two races remaining this season. This means that Bridewell can afford to finish second behind Irwin in both of Sunday’s races and still be crowned champion.

Christian Iddon completed the top five for Oxford Products Racing Ducati, crossing the line ahead of FHO Racing BMW duo Peter Hickman and Josh Brookes. Jack Kennedy and Lee Jackson were eighth and ninth respectively, with Ryan Vickers completing the podium.

Storm Stacey and Luke Mossey were 11th and 12th, whilst Max Cook, Tom Neave and Bradley Perie secured the final points on offer.

Alex Olsen crashed out of the race on the second lap at Westfield. Meanwhile, Leon Haslam’s title hopes were dealt a serious blow when he crashed out at Surtees on lap nine. Charlie Nesbitt crashed out at the same corner on the penultimate lap.

Sunday’s races at Brands Hatch are due to take place at 12:45 and 16:00.

Jason O’Halloran secured pole position at Brands Hatch as the weather played havoc with proceedings at the 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Championship season finale.

An unexpected rain shower moments before qualifying was due to begin caused multiple delays, with the Brands Hatch circuit soaking wet as a result of the downpour.

Steady rain continued to fall as proceedings got underway, and with Brands notoriously slow to dry out, conditions in the opening race will be tricky later this afternoon (October 14).

In the end it was O’Halloran who came out on top with a lap-time of 1:36.097, enough to pip Leon Haslam by 0.046s. Haslam had to go through Q1 after a tough Friday, and posted the quickest Q1 lap-time with his one and only flying lap.

Charlie Nesbitt completes the front row onboard the MasterMac Honda by Hawk Racing machine. The 2023 rookie led the session on multiple occasions.

Jack Kennedy heads row two ahead of his final races with the Mar-Train Yamaha team, qualifying just ahead of Peter Hickman and title contender Kyle Ryde.

Championship leader Tommy Bridewell qualified seventh onboard the BeerMonster Ducati, and will be feeling rather confident given that teammate and main title rival Glenn Irwin struggled in 17th. Irwin pulled back into the pits after circulating the circuit for the first time, losing valuable time as others became accustomed to the wet conditions.

Ryan Vickers, winner of the wet race held at Brands Hatch back in July, was eighth on the second of the LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha R1s, whilst Christian Iddon completed the third row.

Storm Stacey and Luke Mossey qualified 10th and 11th respectively, whilst Tom Booth-Amos impressed on his BSB debut in 12th. The TAG Racing Honda rider was challenging for a position on the front two rows at one stage, but suffered a crash in the closing moments at Clark Curve.

Bradley Perie’s strong end to the year continued in 13th, qualifying ahead of fellow rookie Max Cook and Fraser Rogers. The latter is competing on the Pathway-Spec IN Competition Racing Aprilia RSV4 1100.

Lee Jackson has work to do from 16th on the grid, whilst Josh Brookes’ qualifying session came to an end before it really got going. The FHO Racing BMW man pulled off the circuit at Westfield with a bike problem on his out lap.

Alex Olsen was best of the rest in Q1 onboard the Cumins by Team IWR Honda Pathway-Spec machine and will start race one from 19th. He’ll be joined on row seven by Jack Scott and Niccolo Canepa.

Franco Bourne was next on his Pathway-Spec Honda, qualifying ahead the factory Honda rider Tom Neave and Davey Todd. Brayden Elliot and Andrew Irwin qualified 25th and 26th respectively.

Louis Valleley went down at Surtees with a few minutes remaining and was taken to the medical centre as a result of the fall. As a result, Valleley will start the opening race at Brands Hatch from 27th on the grid.

Shaun Winfield completes the grid onboard the Pathway-Spec TAG Racing Honda Fireblade.

The opening BSB race of the weekend at Brands Hatch is due to begin at 16:30.