Changing conditions at Brands Hatch saw the opening race declared wet, with all riders opting to run wets with the exception of polesitter Scott Redding. But the gamble did not pay off for the Be Wiser Ducati rider, who found himself demoted to the back of the pack as the riders set off around the GP circuit.
Meanwhile Tommy Bridewell, who had started from 4th, was soon out in front to lead on his Oxford Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R in front of Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha), with the pair a clear 6 seconds ahead of the field by half-race distance.
With the circuit drying, Be Wiser Ducati’s Josh Brookes was the fastest man on track in 7th and on a charge. He was able to pass several riders to catch the leaders and at the end of Lap 18 he got the better of Linfoot at Clearways to take the race lead before going on to claim victory with a gap of 1.7s.
Tommy Bridewell claimed yet another podium position with his points seeing him move to the top of the championship.
Despite fast laps in the closing stages of the race with the drying circuit, Redding was too far back for his tyre choice to pay off, finishing behind Brixx Ducati’s Sylvain Barrier in 22nd. Redding’s saving grace was that he was able to post the fastest time around the GP circuit on his penultimate lap, giving him a second pole start for the next race.
The Be Wiser Ducati duo of Brookes and Redding led from the start of Race 2, with Bridewell chasing them down after making a great start from 7th on the grid. On Lap 4 Bridewell passed Linfoot for 4th. And then on Lap 10 Redding went wide at Paddock Hill Bend allowing Bridewell to make a pass into Druids for 2nd place.
As the race went on Brookes and Bridewell cleared off at the front but ultimately Bridewell was unable make a challenge for the lead. Brookes took his 2nd win of the day and with it the ‘King of Brands’ title. Tommy bettered his Race 1 result with a 2nd place finish, with Redding claiming a podium position for a Ducati podium lockout.
Sylvain Barrier was able to make good progress on his Race 1 result, to bring his Brixx Ducati bike home in 19th place.
Bridewell now heads to the next round at Knockhill leading the British Superbike Championship with 145 points, while Brookes and Redding sit 2nd and 3rd, with 131 and 124 points respectively.
Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati #25) – Race 1, 1st – Race 2, 1st
“Sat on the grid we knew it was going to dry towards the end of the race, so we took more of a dry direction setting. But at the start of the race it was really tricky, I was going backwards. I was having some really edgy moments that were really nerve-racking and I had to just be calm, patient and wait for the track to dry. I knew it would get better in the end, I just had to have that patience at the start. I was surprised at actually how slow the track dried. On the out lap it seemed that 3 laps and it would be dry. That was the feeling of the heat and you’d see the steam coming off the track. As it turns out in the race it took quite a lot longer to actually dry off. It’s easy to say now it was a calculated race, but I had to be patient and work through it. Really pleased obviously to win, that’s the objective here and to give all the sponsors and everyone involved with the team that top spot.”
Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing Ducati #46) – Race 1, 3rd – Race 2, 2nd
“To be honest I was on the limit 100%. I’m actually really happy with the way I rode. In Race 2 we started from 7th. I made a good start, but I did have to make a few passes. Dan Linfoot was riding a really good race, but I could see Josh and Scott were just getting away. Took me 2-3 laps to drag them back in and then I saw Josh then going so I knew I had to get past Scott quick. Once I’d done that it was then again a bit of a head down to try and drag Josh back. I kind of knew he’d be watching his pitboard and hoping that he knew it’d me coming. Like I said to Josh earlier, it’s very hard racing an identical bike because the strengths of his bike are the strengths of mine and the weaknesses are the same.
This time of the year I’m not happy accept 2nd but I will accept 2nd because at the end of the day it’s a long game and we’ll take it. Credit to my Oxford Racing Ducati team and we’ll go to Knockhill and try and get some wins there.”
Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati #45) – Race 1, 22nd – Race 2, 3rd
“I did make a big gamble for Race 1. I thought I’d give it a go. It was maybe 10 minutes too early for the race start otherwise could’ve been different. I learnt a lesson. A lot of people forget that I’m still a rookie, I’m still new to the tyres and everything. I’d rather learn that now than in the Showdown. So, I let it go, it was what it was. I would have liked to have redeemed it with a podium, we managed to do it. I thought I had a bit more pace to maybe fight for a win. But Josh was very consistent and after the qualifying I also had a little more pace on the used tyre which maybe comes from experience on the track. I was quite fast but I’m not super smooth. I’m just trying to learn everything in such a short amount of time which is ok for one lap, you can squeeze it all together but for a race is very difficult. Josh rode a very good race, hats off to him, King of Brands. It was a good day for me.”