T.D.B Recruit.com rider Jon Kirkham secured a season's best eighth place finish at the final round of the British Superbike Championship on Sunday, at the 2.5 mile Donington Park circuit.

Eighteen-year-old Kirkham had looked strong all through the preceding practice sessins and his pace showed when he qualified in a superb ninth.

In front of a massive crowd enjoying fine weather, the first race developed into a race long tussle between the Colin Appleyard Racing R1 rider and Firepower Ducati's Dean Ellison.

Fighting for 9th and 10th, Kirkham had the better of Ellison until the very last corner of the last lap when the Ducati slipped past, leaving Kirkham to finish with a well-earned 10th place.

With a last minute tyre change for race two, Kirkham had to be cautious in the opening laps to scrub the tyre and find the new level of grip. After loosing a few places on the opening laps, he put his head down and rolled of a series of personal best lap times to secure eighth place. A season's best result.

"Awesome!" grinned Jon. "This weekend I think I got close to getting the best from the bike and everything I've learnt in the year. 8th place was great, but the highlight for me was the qualifying. With every qualifying tyre I used, I consistently knocked of a few tenths. I was really pleased with that. The year has been beyond my expectations; I'm really appreciative of the support from the team and the sponsors. Tomorrow I start training for 2004."

Paul Young, still recovering from his surgery was on hand, was present to support the team and later reviewed his won season.

"I've had a mixed year," he began. "I had a great result at Knockhill and some very strong races. Unfortunately I've also been suffering from long standing injuries. I would have love to have been riding this weekend but I'm glad I've had the surgery now and can get on with training and putting things together for 2004. The sponsors have been fantastic; they have supported us this year with as much enthusiasm as ever, and a huge thanks go to them."

"Jon's result was just what I needed before the winter break. It caps off a great year," declared Team owner Colin Appleyard. "I'm a big supporter of developing new talent and it's very rewarding for me to see how Jon has come on.

"Paul has had some strong races and his second place at Knockhill in atrocious conditions is reflective of his talents and what he could do if he was injury free," added Appleyard. "The team, our sponsors and technical partners have given 100% commitment. It wouldn't happen without them so it goes without saying that I would like to thank everyone for their support."

The team has a final race in 2003, when they compete in the 'Race of the year' at Mallory Park on October the 12th.

 

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