Richard Kerr and the AMD Motorsport team got their 2023 Pirelli National Superstock Championship campaign underway in fine style at Silverstone at the weekend with the Donegal rider claiming a brace of fifth place finishes to slot into fourth place overall in the early championship points table.
With dry, sunny conditions all weekend at the Northamptonshire venue, the 22-year-old started his weekend with the second fastest time in his first free practice session on Friday and he improved his time by two tenths of a second later in the day. However, with two groups of 25 riders, this meant he was eighth fastest overall.
Saturday’s solitary qualifying session saw Richard post a similar lap time which meant he lined up for the 22-lap race later in the day in 11th place and on the fourth row of the grid. A superb start though elevated him to sixth place at the completion of the opening lap and he then overhauled Joe Franics for fifth four laps later. This was where he remained to the chequered flag to get his season up and running in a strong manner.
With the sixth fastest lap of the race, he started Sunday’s race, held over 22 laps once more, from the second row and although he slipped back to seventh on the opening lap, he was quickly back up to sixth. By lap seven, he was up to fifth and hopeful of more, but Billy McConnell pushed him back to sixth two laps later and from there it was a relatively uneventful race.
However, the race was red flagged on the final lap and with McConnell having fallen on debris left from a crash on the previous lap, he was removed from the results, which meant Richard was promoted to fifth ending the weekend in fourth overall in the championship.
Richard Kerr: “It’s good to get the season underway with two strong results and to leave Silverstone with a good points haul is exactly what I wanted. I was missing a bit in qualifying but improved my best lap time by four tenths of a second in Saturday’s race and with a good start, I was able to make a good leap forward on the first lap, gaining three places at the first corner alone. By the time I’d worked my way by Joe Francis, the front four had made a break but I was happy enough with fifth.”
“It meant I started Sunday’s race two rows further forward, but I wasn’t quite able to make the impression I’d hoped. The race pace was strong, and I did what I could whilst the overall results were a significant improvement on this time last year so that’s what I’ll take away the most. I still need to improve my single lap pace in qualifying and we’ve got two days of testing coming up at Oulton Park, so I’ll look to make the most of the track time available to be even stronger at round two.”
Fraser Dykes, Team Owner: “We’re pleased with how the weekend’s gone and to come away with a good haul of points is both important and pleasing. It’s not one of Richard’s favourite tracks but he made a major impression in Saturday’s race, coming through from 11th on the grid to fifth with his first lap being pretty special. On Sunday, he started sixth and finished sixth but, all in all, the team’s happy and with a test at Oulton Park in the next couple of days, we’ll look forward to round two there at the end of the month.”
The next round of the championship takes place at Oulton Park, Cheshire on April 29-May 1.
Pictures by Tim Keeton – Impact Images Photography
Championship positions (after round one)
1 Franco Bourne (Honda) 47pts
2 Alex Olsen (Honda) 45
3 Dan Linfoot (Honda) 40
4 Richard Kerr (AMD Motorsport Honda) 32
5 Joe Talbot (Honda) 32
6 Joe Francis (Kawasaki) 24