In front of a massive crowd enjoying glorious weather, T.D.B Recruit.com rider Jon Kirkham put in a strong performance to finish in 12th and 11th places at the penultimate round of the British Superbike Championship this weekend [14th September] at Brands Hatch.

Eighteen-year-old Kirkham qualified just 0.6 of a second from pole in 11th place, setting a personal best time around the tight 1.2-mile Indy circuit.

The first Superbike race of the day was stopped after just two laps due to a serious accident involving privateer Dennis Hobbs. On the restart Kirkham maintained his 11th place on the opening lap.

Another serious incident on lap five necessitated the deployment of the safety car for a further five laps. For the remaining 20 laps, Kirkham was involved in a three-way scrap with the Honda of Mark Heckles and the Suzuki of Tom Sykes. A strong 12th place finish, just 0.3 of a second behind the Honda, was just reward for Kirkham and the team.

The second race of the day produced another thrilling tussle between Kirkham, Heckles and Sykes. With no interruptions to the race the three were left to battle it out for the full 30 laps. A string of good consistent lap times, his best just 0.5 of a second of his best qualifying time, secured Kirkham 11th place.

"I'm really pleased with the result," said Kirkham, "Both races were close and such a short circuit really demands more than 100 per cent concentration every split second. There is just no place to take a breather. The bike was almost perfect throughout both races; I just had a small bit of chatter on the front that stopped me pushing for better lap times. But overall to finish just 0.3 of a second behind the world championship winning Honda and not make any mistakes feels good."

Jamie Morley meanwhile standing in for Paul Young had a frustrating weekend. With no previous testing Morley found it hard to get to grips with the bike in the limited time and was unfortunate not to finish either race.

Team owner Colin Appleyard noted: "Jon showed today that he had learnt a lot so far this year. His lap times were more than respectable; he kept his head down and got the most from the bike. These bikes are very advanced and with lots of variables it's very rare to get a perfect set-up for a race. It's the clever riders that make sure they get the best from themselves and the bike without pushing to hard. I'm very pleased for Jon."

The team now prepare for the last round of the season at Donington Park on the 28th of September.

 

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