|Christian Iddon makes it a hat-trick of podiums at Donington Park in mixed weather conditions
|• Christian Iddon on the podium in all three races at Donington Park
• Josh Brookes no longer in the fight for the 2021 British Superbike title
• Tommy Bridewell re-signs with the Oxford Products Racing Ducati team for 2022
Christian Iddon rode a great race at Donington Park on Saturday in cold, wet, and windy conditions. He had a poor grid position back in 17th after crashing his VisionTrack Ducati during qualifying. But a brave ride saw him climb though the field, and aided by fallers, he was up to second place by Lap 12 behind race leader Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki), with Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) battling him and Lee Jackson (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) just behind and ready to pounce.
Meanwhile the treacherous conditions had ended in disaster for both Josh Brookes and Tommy Bridewell, after they both crashed out in separate incidents on Lap 5.
Brookes, who was running in second, ended up on the grass after saving a moment on his bike, but was unable to keep his VisionTrack Ducati upright. And just seconds later Bridewell, who was behind Brookes on track and momentarily promoted to up to second, crashed his Oxford Products Racing Ducati under braking in the poor conditions.
The Ducati duo of Brookes and Bridewell were just a couple of many riders that fell victim to the atrocious conditions, with Title Fighters Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing), Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW Motorrad) and Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) all crashing out.
Rea went on to win the race, with Ryde second and Iddon, the sole Ducati rider, finishing the race as the top Championship contender in third.
Iddon rode another strong race to claim a consecutive podium at Donington Park after finishing third in Sunday's opening Bennetts British Superbike race.
Thankfully the weather was much improved after yesterday's atrocious conditions, with Iddon getting a good start to slot into fifth behind his teammate Brookes as the race got underway.
Brookes got back past Iddon at the Melbourne Loop on Lap 2 to move back into fourth behind the scrapping trio of Rea, Storm Stacey (Team LKQ Euro Car Parts Kawasaki) and Ryde.
Several riders tripped over each other towards the end of Lap 3, with Iddon up to second and Brookes dropping to fourth behind Buchan. Meanwhile Bridewell passed Hickman and then Stacey to move up into sixth.
Buchan made a move on Iddon at the Old Hairpin to snatch second from the VisionTrack Ducati rider, before he took the lead from Rea just a few moments later.
By half race distance Iddon was sat in second behind race leader Buchan, with Brookes fourth and Bridewell in seventh behind fellow Title Fighter Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha).
Iddon took the very front on Lap 11 at the Melbourne loop after passing Buchan to lead the race for several laps, but Buchan eventually got the place back on Lap 17, with Iddon dropping back to third after Mackenzie got past him later that same lap.
Mackenzie led the final lap ahead of Buchan, Iddon and Rea, with the riders crossing the finish line in those same positions. Bridewell brought his Oxford Products Racing Ducati home in seventh, while Brookes finished just outside the top ten in eleventh.
Just before the final British Superbike race of the weekend at Donington Park news broke that Bridewell was remaining with the Oxford Products Racing Ducati team for the 2022 season, his fourth consecutive year with the Moto Rapido Ducati dealership team based in Winchester.
Initially Race 3 was put on hold as rain started falling in some corners with dark clouds across the circuit. But after the subsequent warm-up laps, and with more rain falling, the decision was taken by Race Control to delay the race.
As the race finally got underway in better conditions, Iddon slotted into fourth with the VisionTrack Ducati rider making a couple of passes to move into second place by the end of his opening lap.
Meanwhile Bridewell was into fifth, and Brookes in tenth. But Brookes crashed his VisionTrack Ducati at Craner on the second lap, with his DNF also taking him out of contention for the 2021 British Superbike Championship title.
Later on the second lap, championship leader Mackenzie retired from the race after his McAMS Yamaha cut out just in front of Bridewell, with the Oxford Products Racing Ducati rider now up to fourth, and ahead of Mackenzie’s teammate and fellow Championship contender Jason O’Halloran.
Iddon was the fastest man on track on Lap 3 as he closed race leader Gino Rea on the Buildbase Suzuki, but Jackson was soon closing the two riders himself, with Bridewell having a lonely race behind in fourth.
At two thirds race distance Iddon was right behind Rea. Third-placed Jackson was a couple of seconds behind but had a ten second advantage over Bridewell in fourth, who himself was over 20 seconds clear of fifth-placed Andrew Irwin on the SYNETIQ BMW Motorrad.
As the race reached its final stages Rea was able to gap Iddon, and the Suzuki rider went on to win his second race of the weekend. Iddon got his best result of the weekend with a second place, his third consecutive podium, and once again was the first in the race fighting for the championhship, to take the chequered flag. Jackson crossed the line in third, his first podium of the season.
Bridewell finished fourth for important championship points, with just one round remaining at Brands Hatch where a maximum of 75 points will be available from the final three races of the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike season.
1. Tarran MACKENZIE (Yamaha) 1127
2. Jason O'HALLORAN (Yamaha) 1117 (-10)
3. Christian IDDON (Ducati) 1112 (-15)
4. Tommy BRIDEWELL (Ducati) 1106 (-21)
5. Danny BUCHAN (BMW) 1061 (-66)
6. Peter HICKMAN (BMW) 1059 (-68)
7. Josh BROOKES (Ducati) 1047 (-80)
8. Glenn IRWIN (Honda) 1041 (-86)
Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati #21)
Race 1, 3rd – Race 2, 3rd – Race 3, 2nd
“I had ‘Mac Out’ on my pit board really early on in Race 3. Made so many mistakes on the next lap. Gino was setting such a good rhythm that I thought I’d just stick with him. We were pulling away at quite a nice pace, I think we were quite a bit quicker than the rest of the field, so we were obviously doing something right. I was fully committed but Gino just pulled the pin on the last couple of laps. I thought he’d pulled away that much ‘have I rolled off?’ But my delta was up, and I was setting quicker lap times. The sun was really difficult in the end, I could hardly see a thing heading in towards the sun, I couldn’t read my pit board and was just waiting for that last lap, it seemed like the longest race of my life. Fantastic for the championship situation, it’s really pulled us right into contention. Would have been nice to win that one but Gino did a fantastic job. Big thanks to PBM VisionTrack Ducati, we’re in the mix, it’s go time at Brands!”
Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati #21)
Race 1, DNF, Race 2, 11th – Race 3, DNF
“I’m lost for words to be honest with how today has gone and we’re still struggling with the issues that have blighted us all year. If I ride at the level that’s comfortable, I finish outside the top ten and if I ride with where I think the bike should be, I crash. On the odd occasion this season, I’ve been able to get away with it and get some sort of acceptable results and the small improvements have masked over the fundamental problems. It’s been a tough day.”
Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati #46)
Race 1, DNF – Race 2, 7th – Race 3, 4th
“The weekend was full of mixed emotions; there is a lot at stake. It was a tough weekend with the weather which we knew would play a part in the final rounds. I think it’s obvious to see that Donington is dangerous in the wet, I did absolutely nothing wrong, I did exactly the same as what I did all weekend and it took me out of second place. 20 points would have seen me second in the Championship and now we are 21 points behind. It was a massive dent to crash out of the race.
In the dry I just didn’t have the feeling with the bike that I really wanted due to limited track time in the dry conditions. We made some good changes for the final dry race of the weekend but then it rained really heavily.
I didn’t have the pace to match the top three, I knew I was safe in fourth, it wasn’t a race it was more like survival of the slowest! It is all still the play for, Brands has always been good for us, the bike is phenomenal there and I hope we can be back challenging for wins there.”