Bridewell tops rain-hit Brands Hatch qualifying session


Tommy Bridewell will start this afternoon’s opening race at Brands Hatch from pole after mastering the tricky conditions in Kent.

Bridewell switched to wet weather tyres as the rain began to soak through the Grand Prix circuit and was able to pip Christian Iddon to pole with a 1:38.165.

The pair will be joined on the front-row by Luke Mossey, who had gone pole just before Bridewell completed his hot lap.

Championship leader Shane Byrne will start race one from fifth place, in the middle of Jason O’Halloran (fourth) and Richard Cooper in sixth.

Shakey will be feeling confident given the fact that Leon Haslam was forced to leap from his bike after his handlebar snapped – leading to a 17th place slot for the Pocket Rocket.

Haslam’s teammate, James Ellison will head the third-row in seventh place and will be joined by John Hopkins and Broc Parkes.

It was Byrne who set the early pace in Q1, before returning to his garage to watch his rivals out on the circuit.

The session was brought to a halt early-on following a huge crash for Jenny Tinmouth at Dingle Dell. The Honda Racing rider appeared to clip the white line coming into the corner, which sent her flying over the handlebars and into the gravel trap.

Fortunately Tinmouth was able to walk to the ambulance after being checked over track side by paramedics.

Riders who failed to make it through to Q2 included Michael Laverty (19th), Ryuichi Kiyonari (21st) and Howie Mainwaring-Smart down in 24th position.

Q2 started with a few spots of rain hitting the circuit. All the riders were quick to get out onto the track with Broc Parkes hitting the top of the timing sheets with a 1:24.769.

Moments later there was drama for Haslam, who was forced to jump from his bike coming into Stirlings. Following the incident marshals confirmed that his handlebar had snapped on the right hand side.

This fault led to Haslam ending the session down in 17th place – a major blow for his championship hopes heading into race one later today.

Heavy rain began to fall in the last few minutes of the session which cost riders the chance to improve. The session ended with an ePayMe Yamaha one-two, with Parkes and Hopkins leading the way.

Those who failed to make it out of the second session, alongside Haslam, included Dan Linfoot (10th), Peter Hickman (11th) and Glenn Irwin in 13th position.

Due to the damp conditions, Q3 was run in the old timed format – rather than the fan-favourite Superpole style session.

For the riders out on slicks it was difficult to set a good lap time, with Cooper initially going top with a 1:47.611 on his dry tyres.

O’Halloran, Mossey and Bridewell came into the pits to switch to wet tyres – a move that would turn out to be very effective.

Mossey would go top of the timing sheets with a 1:39.181, only to be pushed back down to second when Bridewell came across the line.

The last man on track was Iddon, on intermediates, but he failed to knock Bridewell off pole and had to settle for second place on his Tyco BMW.

The opening race of the weekend takes place this afternoon at 3:45pm.