Kerr and AMD Motorsport end 2023 season on a high

Richard Kerr and the AMD Motorsport team ended their 2023 road racing season on a high at the weekend with the County Donegal rider taking a first and two second place finishes at the Sunflower Trophy races at Bishopscourt, Northern Ireland, also winning the Rider of the Meeting accolade.

The action around the 1.824-mile circuit had been due to take place on Friday and Saturday but Storm Babet resulted in the programme being moved to Saturday and Sunday with Richard taking pole position for the three Superbike races on the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, a time of 1’06.708 putting him almost half a second clear of recently crowned Irish Superbike Champion Jason Lynn and British Superbike Championship rider Charlie Nesbitt.

The first 10-lap Superbike race got underway on Saturday afternoon with favourable conditions, and it proved to be the perfect start with Richard dominating as he opened a lead of seven seconds before easing off in the closing stages to take a 3.855s victory over Nesbitt and former Moto 3 World Champion Danny Kent who, like Nesbitt, finished on the podium during the 2023 British Superbike Championship season.

With dry conditions once more on Sunday, the second 10-lap Superbike race opened proceedings with Richard having to settle for second on this occasion, Nesbitt taking the win. With his fastest lap of the weekend, 1’05.881, Richard pressurised Nesbitt throughout but ultimately had to settle for second at the chequered flag, 1.131s adrift of his fellow Honda rider after backmarkers came into play in the final laps.

That just left the feature Sunflower Trophy race, held over 12 laps with 23-year old Kerr keen to retain the trophy he won twelve months ago. That could be seen when he led the race in the early stages with Nesbitt and Kent running in his wheel tracks, less than a second covering the trio.

Nesbitt took the lead on lap four though and pulled away in the final third of the race which left Richard focusing on keeping Kent at bay and this he duly did, completing the 12 laps 0.086s ahead of his Yamaha rival to conclude his highly successful 2023 season with Fraser and Mary Dykes’ Dumfries-based team.

Richard Kerr: “I’m over the moon with how the weekend and the results we got given we were up against full-blown Superbikes. I had a bit of an advantage early on with track knowledge as Charlie, Danny and Lee (Jackson) were riding at Bishopscourt for the first time whilst Danny and Lee were also on their respective bikes for the first time. They got quicker as the weekend wore on, particularly Charlie, and the Superbikes had a bit of an edge along the start and finish straight.”

“With the extra rpm, they could pull a couple of tenths on me along there, but the pace was good all weekend, as could be seen by the fact we were lapping in the 1’05 bracket. Conditions were really good on Sunday, and I lapped Bishpscourt quicker than ever before, so I’m delighted with a win and a couple of seconds. It’s a great way to end the season so a big thank you to Fraser and Mary and the entire AMD Motorsport team.”

Fraser Dykes, Team Owner: Obviously bad weather stopped play on Friday but after qualifying on pole for race one, Richard was quick out the blocks to lead from start to finish. It was important to lay down a marker as we knew with the quality of Charlie Nesbitt, Danny Kent and Lee Jackson on full blown Superbikes, that once they got to grips with a new track, it was going to be difficult. Sure enough, Charlie was on it on Sunday, but Richard had two great rides to take a brace of second place finishes. All in all, we’re delighted to take a win and two seconds on our Superstock-spec bike against the full-blown Superbikes.”

Pictures by Stephen Davison (Pacemaker Press International)