Richard Kerr moved up to fifth overall in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship standings at the weekend, with the AMD Motorsport Honda rider taking fifth and sixth place finishes at Thruxton for Fraser and Mary Dykes’ Dumfries-based team.
Like the rest of the country, the Hampshire venue was blessed with air temperatures of 33-35 degrees for the entire three days and a solid opening day on Friday saw Richard post a best lap of 1’17.570s to place 12th quickest overall. He improved that by a second in Saturday’s qualifying session and he lined up in tenth place and at the head of the fourth row for the 15-lap race later in the day.
A good start on the factory-prepared CBR1000RR Honda Fireblade helped the Kilmacrennan, County Donegal rider complete the opening lap around the high-speed 2.36-mile venue in eighth place and although he’d dropped back to tenth place on lap seven, the second half of the race saw him come into his own.
Managing the tyre life was always going to the main task but Richard had done just that and he continued to lap at a consistent pace whilst some of those in front of him began to see their lap times drop off by up to two seconds. As a result, Richard continually moved forward and he was duly rewarded for his fine ride with sixth place, the result helping him move up to fifth overall in the title standings.
Sunday morning warm-up saw Richard record the fastest time of 1’16.419s, his fastest lap of the weekend, and that put him in confident mood ahead of Sunday’s race, held over the same distance, where he lined up in the slightly more advanced position of ninth. A good start moved him up to seventh and he’d climbed to fifth on lap five only for the race to be stopped after a spill involving David Allingham, the Irishman suffering a leg injury.
The restart was held over eight laps and it was a dramatic start for Richard as he was almost highsided off the bike at the first turn and, three laps later, lost the front at the Complex. His pace was good though and he ultimately finished in fifth place for another excellent top six finish, the result consolidating his fifth place in the championship table.
Richard Kerr: “On the one hand, I’m pleased with the weekend’s results as we’re way quicker than what we were 12 months ago but on the other, I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get onto the podium. My race pace is as good as anyone’s but I’m making life harder for myself by not qualifying higher up the grid. Starting from the fourth row means I’m losing up to two seconds on the opening lap and that’s hard to pull back! I set a PB on Sunday morning but I need to do that in qualifying and, if I can, I think the results could be even stronger. I feel like I’m riding well and got stronger towards the end of each race so it’s nice to see our efforts rewarded with strong finishes. Now we’re in fifth overall, the aim is to keep improving and keep pushing for the podium positions.”
Fraser Dykes, Team Owner: “We’re more than happy with the weekend and to go from 10th to sixth in Saturday’s race and then ninth to fifth on Sunday shows the progress made. It would have been nice to have seen Sunday’s race go the full race distance as Richard’s consistent lap times would have seen him get stronger as the race wore on but that’s how racing goes sometimes. He gained a number of places in each race and not only moved into fifth in the championship table but also gained ground on fourth. It was a challenging weekend with the high temperatures but the team did a great job and it’s been another good weekend for AMD Motorsport.”
The next round takes place at Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire on August 27-29.
Pictures by Tim Keeton – Impact Images Photography
Pirelli National Superstock Championship standings (after six rounds)
1 Billy McConnell (Honda) 170pts
2 Davey Todd (Honda) 146
3 Brayden Elliott (Honda) 141
4 Alex Olsen (BMW) 140
5 Richard Kerr (AMD Motorsport Honda) 117
6 Tim Neave (Yamaha) 110