Kerr’s championship challenge continues with superb podium brace

Richard Kerr and the AMD Motorsport team’s challenge for the Pirelli National Superstock Championship continued at pace at the weekend with a brace of second place finishes at round seven at Thruxton, Hampshire.

The weekend started positively for Richard and the Dumfries-based team with the second quickest time across Friday’s two practice sessions, but qualifying on Saturday was hit by a heavy rain shower, the first wet weather of the weekend. The end result was tenth quickest on the Honda Fireblade but with second quickest Alex Olsen withdrawing due to a shoulder injury, Richard was able to start the first race from ninth on the grid.

Held over 14 laps, a lightning start saw the County Donegal rider move up to fifth on the opening lap and two laps later this had become third as he set about closing the gap to race leader Dan Linfoot and Billy McConnell. The trio were soon together and although Richard wasn’t quite able to make a pass, Linfoot ran wide at the final chicane and he dived through to take second, 0.412s beind race winner McConnell.

With the quickest lap of the race, he started Sunday’s encounter, this time held over 15 laps, from pole position and although he made a good getaway, he was lucky not to be taken out at the first corner when Lewis Rollo ran into his rear wheel.

Undeterred, he quickly regrouped to slot into third on the opening lap and, just like the previous day, it was a three-way battle for the win between the 23-year old, Linfoot and McConnell. There was never more than three-quarters of a second between them but the wily Linfoot timed his move to perfection to take the win from Richard and McConnell.

It was close though with just 0.354s covering the three riders at the chequered flag with the weekend’s results seeing Richard remain in second overall in the standings, just 11 points adrift of Linfoot.

Richard Kerr: “I’ve never had a podium here before so it’s good to lay that to rest and although I was frustrated with ninth in qualifying, I felt confident I had the pace for the two races. With ninth on the grid for Saturday’s race, I knew it was important to get a good start and I got up to P5 straightaway, so I was soon inside the top three. It’s so hard to pass here though and any move would have been dodgy, but I took full advantage of Dan running wide at the final chicane to take second.”

“I had another good race on Sunday and there was nothing between the three of us once more but I just lost a little bit of drive out of Church on the final lap which meant I wasn’t quite close enough to get in Dan’s slipstream. He’s a good rider with a lot of experience but we’ll get him next time! Two second place finishes mean it’s been a good weekend though and with the gap just 11 points, it’s all to play for.”

Fraser Dykes, Team Owner: “It’s been a great weekend for us and Richard’s been quick from start to finish. Both he and crew chief Simon Bleasdale continue to work well together so huge credit to them and with Thruxton not being one of Richard’s favourite tracks, to come away with a double podium is very pleasing. The gap’s still very small and we’ve some of our more favoured tracks coming up so we’ll keep pushing and, once again, a huge thanks to the whole team.”

Round eight of the series takes place at Cadwell Park, Lincs on August 26-28.

Pictures by Tim Keeton – Impact Images Photography

Pirelli National Superstock Championship standings (after seven rounds)
1 Dan Linfoot (Honda) 232pts
2 Richard Kerr (AMD Motorsport Honda) 221
3 Joe Talbot (Honda) 168
4 Alastair Seeley (BMW) 161
5 Billy McConnell (Honda) 135
6 Lewis Rollo (Aprilia) 130