Jon Kirkham comes away from the opening round of the 2013 MCE British Superbike Championship having arguably made the most surprising impression at Brands Hatch after picking up a pair of top six finishes on his maiden outing with Buildbase BMW.
Reunited with the machine that took him to the National Superstock Championship title in 2010, Kirkham was in superb form from the off to claim a spot on the front row of the grid in fourth, even if a poor start would drop him down to 11th on the first lap.
Nonetheless, the 28-year-old defied Brands Hatch's minimal overtaking opportunities to fight his way back into contention, getting the better of Tommy Bridewell late on to equal BMW's best-ever result at BSB level in fourth place. Going on to finish sixth in the second race too, Kirkham was delighted to have come out of the box so fast.
“The racing has been fantastic, but ever so slightly frustrating. My start slowed me down in the first race, which kept me away from a chance at the podium.
“In the second race when Tommy Bridewell's bike was gushing smoke we held back, expecting the track to be covered in oil. The circuit was clean, but it let the front riders get a huge lead. But I fought to the front of the group I was in to secure sixth, and overall I'm very pleased with the weekend, the team and the results.”
Team-mate James Westmoreland, meanwhile, was unfortunate not to pick up a pair of top ten finishes himself after getting tangled up in Keith Farmer and Dan Linfoot's collision ahead on the final lap of race one. Despite sustaining some bruises, Westmoreland was nonetheless able to pick up a ninth place in race two.
“I'm a little stiff after that crash but pleased to be able to take a top-ten finish. Being able to race after a big crash is a bonus, so a points-scoring finish is a great result all things considered. But I would prefer to have finished both races!”