Kirkham back in the Showdown fight after Brands sixth

By Simon Patterson -

British Superbikes

 23 July 2014 17:00

Jon Kirkham has returned to where he left off the 2013 MCE British Superbike season, scoring his best result of the season so far in race two at Brands Hatch and showing for the first time this season the pace that left him issuing out on a Showdown place to his teammate James Westmoreland last year.

Still adapting to the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki after only one round on the bike, Kirkham was able to use the rain as an equaliser in race two to take his first top six of the year, after finishing race one in 13th.

Reflecting on the weekend, he said: “I was a bit disappointed with race one, I’d been getting there all weekend but when I tried to be aggressive in the race to pass people we ran in to a few problems. We fixed it for race two but never really got a chance to use it. On the second start Howie Mainwaring went down in front of me and I saw something coming out of his bike so I shut off but loads of people came past me and when the safety car came out I lost three places meaning I was fifteenth on the grid for the restart."

"I plugged away, got into sixth and tried to catch Shakey but after a few moments I thought I’d best not be daft and get the team some points rather than taking a risk. I felt really comfortable so I’m happy to have some points and we can work on it now!”

Team boss Jack Valentine, who has experience working with Kirkham from their Samsung Crescent Suzuki days, added: I’m really pleased with Jon’s results today. The second race was really difficult for everybody. The boys have done a mega job; we had a good set-up from yesterday’s damp session. Unfortunately we lost two positions on the grid after the Howie Mainwaring incident which didn’t help but he rode a steady race.”

"Anything can go wrong coming from that far back on the grid but he rode a professional race and we’re really pleased with sixth place. We made a lot of progress in the dry as well which has given us even more direction. Jon’s getting more and more confident with the bike and the set up and roll on Thruxton!”