Jon Kirkham is celebrating becoming the latest British Superbike Championship race winner after breaking his duck in spectacular style at Croft.
The Samsung Crescent Suzuki rider pulled off an unlikely victory from 16th position on the grid after starring in the damp-to-dry weather conditions of the opening race, Kirkham prevailing in an entertaining tussle with his team-mate John Hopkins during the latter stages.
Though Kirkham freely admits he was helped considerably by the deployment of the safety car mid-race, which cancelled out a substantial gap between himself in third position and Hopkins and Gary Mason up front, it does little to take away from his maiden success, his first in 112 attempts.
“I really didn't expect that race one win, I don't even like those conditions, although being a smooth rider I do tend to get good results from them,” he said. “I felt very settled immediately and I remember passing six riders in one lap. But I could see Hopper and Mason had got away so it was a huge benefit to me when the pace car came out.
“When I took the lead I could barely believe it. Then Hopper came back by, but I could sense I had the better grip – from the slick rear – to take the win. Even now I don't think it's sunk in – I've won a BSB race!”
Starting from pole position for race two, Kirkham was eyeing a similar result, only to be eliminated in a tangle with Michael Laverty on the opening lap. Though the vicious looking accident resulted in both bikes coming down on Kirkham, he emerged unscathed.
“There's not much I can say about race two. I was still buzzing from the race one win and so pumped to be on pole again. I didn't get the best start so I was in fourth place as I rode through Sunny Out when I was hit and crashed out.
“Both bikes landed on me so I feel pretty beaten up, but luckily no broken bones. It's a shame as I was looking to collect more points and climb further into the top-six, but there's always next time.”
Prior to this weekend, Kirkham had finished inside the BSB top five just twice.