The third round of the 2003 British Superbike championship proved to be a tough one for team T.D.B

The ultra fast, flowing Thruxton circuit, located on an old airfield in Hampshire, is renowned for producing exceptionally close racing with lap times split by thousands of a second.

For the eighteen-year-old Jon Kirkham, testing and un-timed practice showed great promise. Consistently appearing in the top ten, Kirkham was confident of a good result. During the official qualifying session, Kirkham just missed getting in a flying qualifying lap on the super sticky qualifying tyres and Jon's time set on race tyres was good enough to qualify in thirteenth place.

A massive high side and resulting crash on the first lap of race one, and a early retirement with a technical problem in race two meant Kirkham was unable to capitalize on the great form he had shown the week earlier.

For team-mate Paul Young, the weekend showed little reward for a huge effort. Young, who had been battling to find a comfortable setup, suffered a high-speed crash during the opening lap of official qualifying. Re-aggravating pre season injuries, both races were destined to be damage limitation exercises with the sole objective to score points. Fourteenth and fifteenth place finishes, both points scoring, were some consolation for the Aussie.

Young said after the race: "I'm obviously very disappointed. My crash in qualifying made the two races extremely difficult. My only goal was to try and hang on for the twenty-one laps and get points. Last weekend we had a great result and I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks off to get my body back in shape. I'm very confident in the bike and the team. We'll back on the pace by Oulton."

Kirkham was equally optimistic that the tough weekend was just one of those things, "All during testing I was right on the pace. If I had completed a flying lap during qualifying for sure I would have been in the top ten. I'm not sure exactly what happened in the first race, I was taking it easy on the cold side (left) of the tyre, but it just let go for a fraction of a second and had me off. I was very encouraged with the testing and am already looking forward to Oulton."

Team owner Colin Appleyard summed it up, "I've been racing for a very, very long time and I've seen this before. Sometimes you just have a bad weekend, but when you look at in detail it's just turns out to be pure bad luck.

"We've already put this behind us. For the hundreds of thousands of fans both at the track and who watch it live on TV, witnessed some world class racing, that why we and our partners participate and we'll come back stronger than ever."

The next round is at Oulton Park, in Cheshire on the 5th of May.



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