Thruxton Circuit staged a scintillating scrap for supremacy in Bennetts British Superbike Championship qualifying today (3 August), as home heroes Scott Redding and Tommy Bridewell laid the foundations for a sensational day’s racing in Hampshire tomorrow.
The spectators filling the grandstands and lining the grass banks were treated to a superb duel between the current Bennetts BSB top two, as Redding and Bridewell turned up the wick when it truly mattered – trading the top spot in a nail-biting qualifying session spiced up by a light sprinkling of rain on an otherwise warm, sunny day.
Redding looked to have the job done courtesy of a flurry of ultra-quick laps around the fastest circuit in the country – at which competitors touched an eye-watering 200mph on occasion – but then Bridewell fought back to pinch pole by less than three hundredths-of-a-second with only three minutes left on the clock. On his first time competing at Thruxton, could Redding respond? Yes, he could.
Next time round, the former MotoGP podium-finisher flashed across the line 59 thousandths-of-a-second up on Bridewell’s best, sealing his third pole position of the 2019 campaign for Be Wiser Ducati. His Wiltshire rival will line up second on the grid – equalling his season-best to-date – and is bullish about his prospects for closing the gap in the standings.
“I had to push hard,” acknowledged Redding of the intense duel. “I pushed right to the limit – I was probably over the limit at times – but sometimes in qualifying, that’s what you need to do. For my first time at Thruxton, I’ll definitely take that! The guys around me in the team have done a great job and I’m looking forward to the races tomorrow. It’s not necessarily going to be about who is fastest here – it’s going to be about who is smartest.”
“There was a lot more pace in both me and the bike, but it’s always tricky mentally when it starts spitting with rain and I didn’t want to risk too much for the sake of pole,” added Bridewell. “The first target is always to be on the front row – the races are what count – and my Oxford Racing team have done a phenomenal job this weekend. The Ducati was absolutely flawless today, and hopefully that will pay off tomorrow.”
Both Redding and Bridewell will need to keep an eye, however, on the man alongside them on the front row of the grid – Peter Hickman – who competes for Gloucester-based outfit Smiths Racing, as well as fourth-placed Josh Brookes, the 2015 champion the most successful of the current Bennetts BSB crop at Thruxton with six previous wins to his name in Hampshire.
Redding and Bridewell’s fellow Thruxton locals Danny Kent (Chippenham), Fraser Rogers (Hullavington) and Sam Coventry (Waterlooville) qualified respectively 17th, 26th and 27th in the high-calibre, 29-strong field.
There was glory, too, for home stars in the support series. Swindon’s Elliot Pinson showed no shortage of bravery as he converted pole position in the Dickies Junior Supersport class into a fourth consecutive victory this season. The 16-year-old had to fight back into the lead from sixth place, but from there, as his pursuers battled in his wake, he made good his escape. A spectacular slipstreaming scrap for second was settled only at the very last corner.
Brad Jones was another to shine, the Stalbridge rider piloting his Integro Yamaha to the runner-up spoils in Dickies British Supersport after briefly grabbing the lead. Both he and Pinson will be back in action tomorrow, as a jam-packed schedule of high-octane support races complement the two headlining Bennetts BSB contests. Thruxton’s popular trade village, mouth-watering Supercar display and fantastic value Skid Pan rides add to the family-friendly appeal.
Sunday’s programme will get underway at 09:00, with an opportunity to grab autographs and selfies during the morning Pit Walk at 09:30. The first race will rev into life at 11:30, with big screens at the Complex, Chicane, first corner and in front of the Thruxton Centre ensuring nobody needs to miss a moment of the red-hot entertainment.
Tickets can still be purchased on the gate, starting at £34. Accompanied children aged 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.