Tommy Bridewell, the likeable 34-year-old from Devizes in Wiltshire, has been confirmed on a one-year contract at PBM Ducati for the 2023 Bennetts British Superbike season. The Cumbrian team will provide Bridewell and an as yet unnamed teammate with a factory-supported Ducati Panigale V4R – the latest incarnation of a bike well known to Bridwell who has challenged near the front of the pack in the Oxford Products Racing Ducati team.
At the end of the 2022 season just ten days ago, Bridewell finished third overall and had even been in with a shot at taking the title at the final round. His points-scoring consistency outweighed top-step fizz-spraying, having only non-scored in three of the 33 races. Though only 9 podium finishes, including one win at Oulton Park, precluded the Wiltshire-man from mounting a more serious challenge to the all-conquering Bradley Ray.
After the news of PBM Ducati’s two time-BSB Champion, Josh Brookes, was confirmed as an FHO Racing BMW man for the 2023 season, gossip has been rife leading up to, and since, the final round of the 2022 season at Brands Hatch as to who was going to replace the self-proclaimed ‘Bad Boy’ at PBM, with Bridewell’s name being front and centre. Somewhat of a stalwart of the BSB paddock, Bridewell has notched up 359 BSB starts, winning eight races with a further 61 podiums to his name.
The Paul Bird Racing team, winner of eight British Superbike titles including most recently with Brookes in 2020, is expected to be taking delivery of a pair of new-for-2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R machines ahead of next season to negotiate a more successful campaign than 2022.
Vaunted by many experts as possible tips for the showdown, or even title contenders, the outgoing Brookes finished a lowly 14th while his teammate, Tom Sykes – making a return to the BSB series where he cut his litre-bike teeth more than a decade prior, just two places higher in 12th. The highlight of the PBM Ducati team’s season was undoubtedly Sykes’ double victory at Donington Park during the Showdown, though the Yorkshireman is hotly tipped to return to the World Superbike championship, leaving a seat alongside Bridewell to be filled. The team’s press release offers a degree of confirmation with a line stating that Bridewell “will be part of a two-rider team, with his teammate set to be announced shortly.”
On the news of his 2023 ride confirmation breaking, Bridewell said, “This is my best shot at winning the title with a team that knows all about winning British Championships. I’ve known the team for a long time, and this represents a fantastic opportunity as I’ve strived for years to beat them. There was a consensus that we should work together and PBM can guide me towards our goal. I’m confident in my riding and the team can give me the technical support I need. The job comes with added pressure but it’s one I'm relishing.”
His new boss, team owner Paul Bird, said, “I’m delighted to have Tommy joining the team for 2023. He came up to me in the paddock as a 15-year-old when he was just starting out and told me he would ride for me one day and now it’s going to happen. He’s done a great job on a Ducati over these past couple of years and has been one of our toughest rivals so to have him on board with us is fantastic and we can’t wait to get started.”
The 2023 season will get underway at Silverstone on Friday 7th April. For the full 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Calendar, click here.