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Super Sixth for Kirkham and Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki at Thruxton

It was a strong outing for the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki squad in the sixth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Thruxton, with Jon Kirkham equalling his season best finish of sixth place in race two.

After bagging sixth in wet conditions at Brands Hatch two weeks ago, Kirkham was keen to prove his pace in the dry this time out. An impressive performance in qualifying saw the Derby-based rider break into the final ‘Q3’ session before going on to qualify tenth.

A poor start to the first race saw the 29-year drop to fourteenth on the first lap placing him with the challenge of fighting back through the field. Joining the back of an eight rider freight train, Kirkham found himself in a four-way battle for tenth, displacing Barry Burrell and Peter Hickman for eleventh in the closing laps.

An impressive lap time in the first race saw Kirkham move onto the third row for the second outing, in which an improved start saw him move up to seventh early on. The race was halted on the fourth lap to allow a clean-up operation following another rider’s machine suffering a mechanical failure.

Getting off the line better for the restart, Jon settled into the race in seventh place behind Honda’s Peter Hickman before making a move to take sixth with four laps to go. Having followed him past the Lincolnshireman, John Hopkins pushed Kirkham hard in the closing stages but the superior pace of the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki saw Kirkham clinch his second sixth place of the season.

Jon Kirkham: “We’ve made progress again all weekend and I was looking forward to the races because it looked like we’d have real good race pace. In race one it didn’t quite click and I was struggling to be as aggressive as I wanted so come race two I dug in deep. The boys worked hard and made the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki feel a lot better and it helped me to be more aggressive, where I struggled in the first race I was strong in the second. It was a shame I didn’t get past Hickman a bit sooner as I thought that lost us the tow to the front group. I managed to catch Walker by the last lap but it was too little too late. This isn’t a very good track for me so I’m looking forward to moving on to some real circuits like Oulton Park.”

Jack Valentine, Team Manager: “To back up race two from a damp Brands Hatch with a sixth place in the dry around the fastest circuit in the country was just what we needed. I think Jon showed a lot more aggression in the second race and showed what he could do from a good grid position. A strong lap in race one saw him move onto the third row in 9th for the second race before moving into 7th after the red flag. He was running lap times as good as anybody in the top six showing exactly how hard the team is working and how much Jon’s gelled with the bike. It’s good to see his confidence is coming back, I knew his potential when he joined the team, all he needed was the right bike and the right team and as this weekend has shown it’s really come together for us.”

Martin Halsall, Team Owner: “It’s been a superb weekend and the team are making great progress. I’ve always said to the guys that the most important thing is to enjoy it and that’s what Jon and the boys are doing. He’s taken his time and not done anything silly to get where we are now, it’s great to see the progress and I’m really happy.”