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Solid sixth for Kirkham and Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki at Cadwell

Jon Kirkham and Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki took their third sixth place of the season in challenging conditions today in the eighth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park.

The weekend had been going well for the 29-year old, not finishing outside the top ten throughout free practice. Come qualifying he progressed into the final Q3 session to take seventh on the grid putting him in a strong position on the third row for Sunday’s first race.

A rapid start in race one saw Kirkham bolt off the third row into third position. A first lap charge from Ryuichi Kiyonari saw Jon cross the line fourth at the end of the first lap. With weather conditions sketchy, he lost a further position to Bridewell the second lap before becoming embroiled in an eight-bike freight train fighting for the lead.

Kirkham held off championship contender Josh Brookes for several laps before the Yamaha man broke through. As the rain started to fall Kirkham opted to back off a little to assess the situation while remaining on the tail of the riders ahead. Having been threatening throughout the race, the rain came down heavy on lap eleven and with all riders out on slicks a few were caught out in the downpour including Jon, who crashed with Josh Waters on Park Corner. The red flag was brought out and the result taken back a lap meaning he’d be classified in eighth position.

After the crash at the end of race one, Kirkham was a little sore and with conditions much worse for the second race he opted to take it steady at the start.  Settling into a rhythm on the back of the battle for sixth he began to pick off his rivals one by one eventually getting the better of Glen Richards to lead the pack across the line.

Jon Kirkham: “I was a bit annoyed with the first race today as we got caught out by the rain, me and Josh Waters hit the same wet patch and got flicked off our bikes. That left me a bit sore for race two, I banged my chest pretty bad and hurt my knee, so I had no confidence at the beginning – the last thing I wanted to do was fall off! I’d watched the Supersport race before and they were falling like flies. I’m glad to have got another sixth place but I’m just a bit disappointed that I wasn’t confident enough at the beginning as then we might have been able to progress further. To achieve two top tens is a good result, I just need to calm down a bit at Donington as I get a bit worked up and put myself under too much pressure!”

Jack Valentine, Team Manager: “We qualified much stronger this weekend and Jon had a great start in race one. He’s gaining confidence all the time and is very happy with the bike. As the race went on he settled down and nibbled away at those in front but unfortunately as the weather got worse he slipped off. With the red flag the result stood so we were happy with the eighth place. In the second race we knew our wet settings were good and he had a steady start. As the race developed he got back into a rhythm and started picking them all off again. I’m really pleased with another sixth place, if Jon can believe in himself like we believe in him and hang in there that little bit earlier we’ve no doubt he’ll be challenging every week”.

Kirkham now sits eleventh in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings with 76 points. The Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki team are back out in two weeks’ time at Donington Park.