Round nine of the Pirelli National Superstock Championship at Oulton Park over the weekend proved to be a more challenging affair for Richard Kerr and the Dumfries-based AMD Motorsport team but a brace of top ten finishes meant more valuable points were scored as they retained their fifth place overall in the championship standings.
The weekend started steadily for Richard and the team with wet conditions in Friday’s opening free practice session seeing the 22-year old sit things out, as did many other riders, but with better conditions in the afternoon, a lap of 1’37.673s on the factory-prepared CBR1000RR Honda Fireblade put him in tenth overall on the leaderboard.
Conditions were perfect for Saturday’s solitary qualifying session and although he slipped back to 17th quickest – after a late red flag prevented him from putting in a second flying lap – he was confident he could gain places in the afternoon’s 11-lap race despite having to start from the sixth row.
Sure enough, a good start immediately helped elevate him to 12th with another spot gained a lap later and on lap six, he overhauled Joe Francis to move into the top ten. Lapping comfortably quicker than he had done all weekend, that was where he finished with the result seeing him consolidate his fifth place overall in the championship standings.
The strong lap time meant he started Sunday’s encounter, cut from the scheduled 12 laps to ten, from the more advanced position of 11th and the fourth row and that was the position he found himself in at the completion of the opening lap.
This had become ninth three laps later as the Kilmacrennan, County Donegal rider overhauled Tim Neave although the Yamaha runner found a way back by with two laps to go. Try as he might, Richard was unable to make a pass and had to settle for his second tenth place finish of the weekend although the points haul from the two races saw him maintain fifth place overall in the championship table.
Richard Kerr: “It was a tough weekend and we probably never recovered from the red flag in qualifying. I’d only got a time in on a used tyre and so didn’t get a good grid position whilst I was also losing too much time, around 0.8s, in the final sector. Everywhere else, I was reasonably ok, but the bike was moving around a lot in the last sector, and I couldn’t ride in the way I wanted. It’s the one track, and sector in particular, where I haven’t made much progress this year.”
“We made some changes for Sunday’s race and I lapped at 1’36.8, which was a new personal best and half a second quicker than what I’d gone before but I definitely struggled a bit this weekend. The fact that I’m disappointed with tenth shows how far I’ve come this season but, as a racer, you always want more, so that will be the aim at Donington next weekend. I took a podium there earlier in the year so let’s hope both I and the team, who again worked tirelessly this weekend, can be back on the rostrum.”
Fraser Dykes, Team Owner: “It’s definitely been a tough weekend and after missing FP1 due to the weather, we never quite gained the ground lost. 17th in qualifying made life tough in race one but the positive is that Richard still took two top ten finishes this weekend to retain fifth in the championship. It also maintains our record of scoring points in every race this season and we go to Donington next, where we obviously have good memories, so let’s see what we can do there.”
The penultimate round of the series takes place next weekend at Donington Park, Leicestershire.
Pictures by Tim Keeton – Impact Images Photography
Pirelli National Superstock Championship standings (after nine rounds)
1 Davey Todd (Honda) 241pts
2 Billy McConnell (Honda) 215
3 Alex Olsen (BMW) 209
4 Brayden Elliott (Honda) 171
5 Richard Kerr (AMD Motorsport Honda) 153
6 Tom Ward (Aprilia) 148