WILTSHIRE rider Tommy Bridewell claimed a fourth-placed finish in the opening MCE British Superbike Championship race at Thruxton yesterday.

The Bennetts Suzuki team rider from Etchilhampton, enjoyed a positive weekend at the sixth round of the Championship, qualifying on the front row.

Bridewell opted for the harder rear tyre for both of the weekend’s races, knowing that the abrasive Thruxton asphalt and tyre life would come into play.

In the opening race he kept in touch with the podium battle and, despite a red flag at the halfway stage, Bridewell still held the advantage of the harder rear tyre, with riders having to make the restart on the same tyres they started the race with.

In the closing stages the Wiltshire man’s lap times were consistently faster than the riders in front, and he cut through the field to take fourth place at the chequered flag.

Again opting for the harder tyre for race two, a delayed start because of the threatening rain saw the race distance cut to 18 laps and Bridewell was unable to benefit in the same way, finishing eighth.

Bridewell said: “It’s been a good weekend. The team has worked really well, my Bennetts Suzuki has been great and I enjoyed letting it hang out this weekend.

"We knew we were going to have two difficult races. Tyre life was always going to be a real factor. We tried the soft tyre in practice, and even though it’s worth at least half a second a lap, we couldn’t get it to go the distance.

"But you saw others struggling with it too, which is why the first race really came to us and I was able to just ride around people in the end. It was a shame the second race was cut.

"I know it was only two laps, but you could see how much the tyres dropped off. I could have made up about seven seconds in those two laps, which would have put us a lot further up the order.

"But it’s been a really positive weekend. I used the new swingarm that we tried in practice in the races, which worked really well. We’ve got a test coming up next to refine our setup, but I’m looking forward to Brands.”

The series moved to Brands Hatch on August 5-7.