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Sixth for Kirkham & Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki at Brands Hatch

It was a weekend of constant improvement for the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki team at the fifth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch, with rider Jon Kirkham taking his first points for the team in race one before a stunning ride to sixth place in wet conditions in the second race.

A strong start in the first race saw Kirkham make up two places on the first lap, moving up to 11th position right on the back of fellow Kawasaki rider, Howie Mainwairing. Jakub Smrz pushed the Derby-based rider back to twelfth before the safety car came out on the fourth lap following a crash from Barry Burrell.

As the race resumed, Kirkham latched on to the back of Smrz’ Ducati for the next few laps before several mistakes saw the twenty-nine year old drop back to 15th. Fighting on hard, Kirkham soon made up the time to find himself right on the back of the battle for ninth. Despite several attempts, the Halsall Kawasaki man couldn’t make it past Lincolnshire’s Peter Hickman forcing him to settle for 13th across the line.

The second race wasn’t short of drama and with two red flags, tensions were high. Kirkham lost out on a couple of positions in the first restart after slowing to avoid a fallen rider, unfortunately as the race resumed before the red flag came out he was 15th on the grid for the restart.

A strong start in wet conditions saw the Kawasaki man progress though the pack, picking off his rivals. A couple of mistakes from others saw Kirkham climb to seventh place before chasing down a 2.6 second gap to Dan Linfoot.

Catching and passing Linfoot for sixth, Kirkham pushed on in attempt to chase down the podium battle but after nearly losing the front he opted to play it safe and bring his Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki home with ten solid points.

Jon Kirkham: “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. 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!”

Jack Valentine, Team Manager: “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!”

The Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki team are next out for the sixth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike championship at Thruxton.