• Christian Iddon scores a second-place finish in Race 1
• Iddon collision in Race 2
• Late tyre gamble fails to pay off for Tommy Bridewell in Race 3
The fourth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship was held at Thruxton in Hampshire this weekend, but results were mixed for the three Ducati riders.
VisionTrack Ducati’s Christian Iddon was back on the podium at Thruxton on Saturday after finishing second in the opening British Superbike race at the Hampshire circuit.
Iddon had lined up in fourth for the 15-lap race, which saw the red flag come out on the opening lap after Joe Francis (iForce Lloyd & Jones BMW) and Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) crashed out, with the action paused for a couple of laps.
As the safety car came in Iddon was running in fourth but he was soon past Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) for third, and on the hunt to chase down race leader Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) and Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW).
Iddon passed Hickman into the chicane to start his penultimate lap in second, only for a second red flag to come out after Honda Racing’s Glenn Irwin crashed out unhurt with his bike left on the track. The race was called with O’Halloran winning, Iddon second, and Hickman completing the podium.
Josh Brookes’ return to form is still to come, with the VisionTrack rider starting his race from 20th, crossing the chequered flag outside of the points in 17th.
Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) went the wrong way in setup for qualifying which resulted in a low 18th grid spot. But in typical fashion, Bridewell made up several positions throughout the race to finish tenth.
O’Halloran’s win saw Iddon’s championship lead over him now reduced to just a single point.
Sunday’s opening race at Thruxton was one to forget for Christian Iddon after the VisionTrack Ducati rider was taken out halfway through the 20-lap race.
Iddon initially held 4th from the start, but on Lap 3 he was pushed wide as a result of a late move by Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki) with both riders having to skip the chicane. Vickers subsequently had to take a long lap penalty which promoted Iddon back to third, where he was battling with Lee Jackson (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki). But Iddon’s race was cut short on Lap 10 after Jackson clipped the back of Iddon, with both riders crashing out of the race.
At this stage Bridewell was now into eighth, up from 15th on the grid, while defending champion Brookes was running in 17th.
With 5 laps to go Bridewell remained in eighth, leading a closely fought pack of six riders. But he was unable to keep the pace and finished his race in twelfth, with Brookes crossing the finish line on the VisionTrack Ducati in 16th.
The third and final race of the weekend at Thruxton was declared a wet one. But changing conditions meant tricky choices for the grid, with many riders opting for wet fronts and intermediate rear tyres.
A poor start from Iddon saw him drop from tenth on the grid to 13th as the race got going, while his VisionTrack Ducati teammate Brookes was back in 22nd. Bridewell got the best start of out of the Ducati riders, up to eight from a 13th place grid spot on his Oxford Products Racing Ducati on the opening lap.
Bridewell was looking strong at the start of the race and was soon up to fifth before starting to drop back down the field.
But by half-race distance it was Iddon who was the leading Ducati rider, after moving up into eighth, while Bridewell had slipped further down the pack to 12th, and Brookes holding 16th.
Lap 12 saw rain starting fall in sections of the track but on the following lap and after continuing to go backwards, Bridewell headed into the pits to swap his rear intermediate for a slick, re-joining the race in 23rd. And although he soon gained places back, his tyre change gamble did not pay off and he finished his race in 18th.
Iddon, his grid position hampered by his early Race 2 retirement, crossed the finish line in ninth, while Brookes got his first points of the weekend after finishing in 14th.
Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati #21) – 9th
“It’s been a tough weekend all round as we have had minimal set-up time due to the changeable weather since Friday, so we’ve had to work with what we had. Yesterday’s race was a bit scrappy but I somehow managed to get a podium and I felt I could repeat that today when Lee collided with me and that was the end of that. In Race 3, the changing conditions meant it was a bit of a lottery and although we chose a good tyre combination, the best I could do was ninth. So, we regroup and go again at Donington Park in a couple of weeks.”
Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati #1) – 14th
“I’m upbeat. Felt like I rode really good in that race. You get those indicators, the front’s going and the rear’s sliding, you’re doing all the things that feel good when you’re at the front and you’re pushing the limit. I was doing all the stuff I usually do, just not in the television audience’s view. I feel good in myself. I just need to keep reporting the information back and eventually something will have to change. I think if you continue to do the same thing the same way hoping for a different result it’s not really the right way of working. Hopefully if I keep giving the right information back, we’ll get some change. We’ll see how we go as the rounds go on.
On corner entry the rear doesn’t really grip the track that well. If you think 80% of the braking is happening with front wheel and maybe 20% is coming from the rear, then I have lost 20% of my efficiency going into a corner because the rear isn’t helping the front. And this changes between sessions, obviously we increase engine braking, decrease engine braking stuff like that, trying to find a setting. And then as I get to the middle of the corner and lean it over, normally the sensation you feel is the tyres get grip and the suspension loads into the tyres, and you can use that captive energy to accelerate out of the turn. But I just get a chattery feeling and the bike just skits away mid-corner. And here especially, it was just spinning. As I come out of the turn, I go to accelerate with the other riders I’m around and the rear’s just spinning, spinning, spinning. It’s quite a difficult situation to understand exactly where the problems are. As the rider, my duty is to ride the bike and give the information back and hopefully at some point the information they collect with the data or the comments I make will unearth a change that will bring us forward. It makes it even harder when Christian’s on the other side of the garage and they say, “Christian’s fine, you just need to go quicker.” But we’ll work through it.”
Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati #46) - 18th
"A very, very tricky weekend for us. Me and Thruxton just don’t work unfortunately. Sorry to the team but the positive is it’s done and now we move onto some strong tracks for us. Can’t wait."