Tommy Bridger

Tommy Bridger was born in Woolmer Green, Hertfordshire in June1934. He first entered racing with a Cooper in 1953, transferring mid way through the following season to a Kieft-Norton. Although still a Junior, he started to string some decent results together. At Snetterton on 19th June '54 he took a brace of fourth places, then a second in the Juniors at Brands on 4th July, ahead of Graham Hill, also in a Kieft. At Castle Combe in August he took another second to David Boshier-Jones in the Juniors.

He continued with the Kieft into 1955, though by now it was a little outclassed by the latest Coopers, achieving regular placings and the occasional win in the heats but not really troubling the established stars. On 7th May, Tommy took thirteenth in the 50 Mile Race at Silverstone, the fastest production Kieft, then a creditable second in the Second Final at Brands on the 29th to Henry Taylor and a seventh at Snetterton on the 30th. In the Sporting Record Trophy at Brands, he took second to Don Parker in the Consolation Final then third in the Juniors at Crystal Palace, in spite of a minor shunt at the start. After this, Bridger acquired a Cooper Mk IX and made an immediate improvement, finishing second to Ken Tyrrell in race one and turning the table for the win in Race Two at Silverstone on 10th September. Again at Silverstone on 8th October, he beat Henry Taylor then in the Yuletide Trophy at Brands he took second in his heat and third in the Final after ramming Colin Davis' stalled Cooper at the start.

Tommy exits Druids, 1955.

Although this was now the period of Jim Russell domination, Bridger enjoyed some dices with ‘the master’, usually emerging second best but dogging his rival’s footsteps race in and race out. '56 started brightly with a win over Stuart Lewis-Evans at Snetterton on 25th March then a heat win and a third in the final of the Sporting Record Trophy at Easter and retirement at Aintree on the 21st. Tommy took second to Jim at Brands on the 29th then a similar result at Snetterton on 19th May and a win at Oulton on 9th June. He took third behind Russell and Lewis-Evans and ahead of Bueb in the Midsummer 100 at Aintree then retired from the final at Brands on 1st July and bounced back for a third in the British Grand Prix, behind Jim Russell and George Wicken but ahead of a top flight field. The 22nd July brought a second to Jim at Snetterton then a fifth in the Daily Telegraph Trophy at Brands on 6th August and a retirement in the John Bull Trophy at Oulton. September Goodwood resulted in a sixth then fourth in the Rochester Cup at Brands the following day and he took third in the Oulton Park Gold Cup ahead of Bueb and Allison. At Snetterton on 7th October, Tommy was placed third to Russell and Parker and in the last major race of the year at Brands on the 14th he took fifth.

1957 continued in a similar vein; second to Russell at Snetterton, retirement from the Earl of March Trophy, second again back at Snetterton and again in the Sporting Record Trophy at Brands with a win in the Handicap Race. Fourth in the Redex Trophy at Crystal Palace, then second in the Commander Yorke in July, third at Snetterton, to Russell and Trevor Taylor and a win at Crystal Palace, albeit against less strong opposition. Second to Jim again at Snetterton on 1st September and third in the Gold Cup to Russell and Lewis-Evans. A win followed in the Sporting Record Trophy at Brands, over Don Parker in early October to close the season.

At Brands Hatch in August 1958, now in the Cooper.

For 1958 Tommy tried his hand at Formula 2, driving a Cooper T45 for the BRP team of Ken Gregory, finishing second on aggregate in the minor Crystal Palace Trophy race, and eighth in the Coupe de Vitesse at Reims. His only Grand Prix appearance, in Morocco, ended in a crash from which he luckily emerged shaken but otherwise unharmed. He continued to compete in Formula III, now against the new breed of Jack Pitcher, Trevor Taylor and Philip Robinson. Despite several wins for Bridger, it was Taylor who would emerge as BRSCC National champion. Again in 1959, he would win five Championship races in his faithful Cooper-Norton, although this time Don Parker took the title. For 1960 Bridger moved on to Formula Junior, racing a third works Lotus at the British Grand Prix meeting. Tommy died in Scotland in July 1991.

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