Jon Kirkham endured an eventful return to the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch, one that culminated in him equalling his best-ever finish in the series.

Kirkham was made to work hard for his run to fifth position during the opening race, the reigning National Superstock champion getting a poor start from seventh that left him as low as 15th at one stage.

Though he made up ground mid-race, he was pushed wide and shuffled back down the order in the closing stages, prompting an impressive fight back for what would be fifth position at the chequered flag.

While his hopes of a similar performance in race two were scuppered on the warm-up lap when his Samsung Crescent Suzuki developed a problem, he was pleased nonetheless with his performance.

That was an amazing first race. I got a bad start and so had a busy time making back the places. Then just when I'd got up to a decent position I got punted off the track and found I had to do the work all over again. It was mayhem in that race, bikes and riders going in all directions it seemed. I was so pleased to make fifth.

"To not even get to start the second race was really disappointing, I was looking to build on race one. But that's racing. So I'm really looking forward to Oulton Park now, it's one of my favourite tracks."

Kirkham has only ever once finished the top five of a BSB race, back in 2004 when he competed in the British Superbike Cup.

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