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BSB Rider of the Year vote: 6th
12 December 2011 Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011:6.
Samsung Crescent SuzukiBike:
3 Best finish:
Jon Kirkham's return to the British Superbike Championship grid in 2011 could certainly be described as 'third-time lucky' as he put previous false starts behind him with a fine season on the Samsung Crescent Suzuki.
Having become the youngest rider to start a BSB race in 2003 aged just 17, Kirkham's career has been something of a rollercoaster since then, skipping between BSB mid-fielder to National Superstock front runner over the last eight years.
However, his title win in the National Superstock Championship last year necessitated a return to BSB for 2011, Kirkham bringing personal sponsor Samsung to the table to join Crescent Suzuki.
Certainly his most competitive deal to date, though Kirkham had John Hopkins garnering much of the attention on the other side of the garage, the 26-year-old did his bit to ensure he was a competitive team-mate to an ex-MotoGP star.
Kirkham even managed to get one over on Hopkins when he swept to a superb victory from 14th on the grid at Croft, the younger rider battling past his team-mate to score his maiden BSB win in 112 attempts.
Assuring his place in BSB history, though Kirkham's form lulled in the middle of the season, thus preventing him from sneaking into the title 'Showdown', his pace picked up in the latter stages, with podiums coming at Donington Park and Brands Hatch.
Results that wouldn't have disgraced him had he made it into the 'Showdown', particularly when compared with Ryuichi Kiyonari, Kirkham ended his season in seventh position, proof that it is on a Superbike where he now belongs.
With Crescent Suzuki heading to the world stage, Kirkham will hang back in 2012 for a renewed shot at more wins with Honda Racing, who have signed him alongside Michael Laverty – quite the turnaround for a man whose previous best overall finish was 15th back in 2004…Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2010:
N/ATop 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2009:
N/ATop 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2008:
N/ATop 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011:7.
Graeme Gowland 8.
Josh Brookes 9.
James Ellison 10.