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Top ten for Kirkham and Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki at Oulton Park

Jon Kirkham defied tricky conditions to bag two top ten finishes in Sunday’s MCE Insurance British Superbike races at Oulton Park to conclude a challenging but positive weekend for the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki team after securing a points finish from the back of the grid on Saturday.

Heavy rainfall on Sunday morning cast doubts over the afternoon’s track activity but a sunny spell around lunchtime helped the track dry ahead of the first British Superbike race of the day. With damp patches under the trees, Jon headed to the grid on intermediate tyres before opting to switch to slicks ahead of the race.

Steady off the start in the difficult conditions from 15th on the grid, Kirkham settled into a rhythm before picking off his rivals one by one. By mid-distance the Derby rider had moved into the top ten. A pass on Michael Rutter into Lodge on the ninth lap saw him secure his place in the top ten before chasing down the four riders battling for fourth ahead. The 29-year old crossed the line in a respectable eighth place.

Setting the seventh fastest lap in the second race, Kirkham started the final outing from the third row of the grid. Losing a few positions off the start, Kirkham found himself in ninth position with a two second gap to the rider ahead by lap five. Once settled he reduced the gap lap by lap until he was right on the back of the riders ahead. Looking for a way around Tommy Bridewell for eigth, Kirkham was held up by a backmarker in the closing stages and despite closing right up to the Milwaukee Yamaha on the last lap, it was too little too late leaving him to cross the line ninth.

Jon Kirkham: “I’m a bit disappointed with this weekend as I think we had so much potential as we showed with our performance in free practice. The crash made things difficult as I had to start Saturday’s race from the back of the grid and the first race today from 15th. It wasn’t until the third race that I got a decent grid position! It was a bit steady on the start and I had to close down the gap to the riders ahead. I was right on the back of Bridewell but got held up by Rhalf Lo Turco who was a lap down. I managed to close down the gap again but it was a bit too late. Overall it was a tough weekend but we can’t complain at two top ten finishes.”

Jack Valentine, Team Manager: “We started off really strong this weekend before the crash yesterday set us back a little bit. Jon has got it all together and we’ve been there or there abouts so I can’t say I’m disappointed. In both races we were on the back of the packs fighting for the top six so I’m sure if we’d had a better start Jon would have been up there. We need to work on getting a better qualifying position, which I think we’d have had without the crash yesterday, and then pushing hard in the first half of the race. There’s no reason we can’t be challenging for the top six every week and everything else will be a bonus from there.”

The Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki team will next be out at Cadwell Park for Round 8 of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship in two weeks time.