Richard Kerr and the AMD Motorsport team claimed their third career victory, and first of the season, in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship race at Donington Park on Sunday, the County Donegal rider coming out on top after a thrilling battle with series leader Dan Linfoot.
The weekend got off to a great start for Richard when he posted the quickest time in Friday’s free practice sessions with a lap of 1’29.103 on the factory-prepared CBR1000RR Honda Fireblade. Conditions were ideal for qualifying the following day with dry, sunny weather at the Leicestershire venue and a lap of 1’29.059 meant Richard took third place for a front row position.
However, with pole man Alex Olsen having to start from the rear of the grid due to a penalty received at the previous round, 23-year old Kerr lined up for Sunday’s 15-lap race, where the weather was again perfect, in second place and in the middle of the front row, a great start seeing him immediately take the lead on the opening lap.
Any chance of a breakaway victory was soon extinguished as it quickly became a seven-rider battle for the lead, only 1.7s covering the seven riders after six laps. And although Richard dropped back to fifth at one stage, he quickly regrouped and soon fought his way back to the front.
Indeed, he was back in the lead just after half race distance and as the race entered its final stages, it became a straight two-horse race between Richard and Linfoot. The lead changed hands on three occasions on the last lap alone, but it was Richard who seized control at the penultimate corner and he held on to take a brilliant win by 0.393s.
The results saw Linfoot take the championship lead but victory for Richard enabled him to move up to second in the table, just eight points behind fellow Honda rider Linfoot.
Richard Kerr: “It’s been a brilliant weekend and we’ve never been out the top three so it’s brilliant to round it off with the win. I really enjoyed the race and knew tyre life would come into play so even though I dropped to fifth, I didn’t panic and felt I had something extra for the final third of the race. I also knew I had some strong points on the circuit compared to Dan and had a feeling where he’d try and make a pass so ensured I knew what to do when he made his move.”
“I also knew there was no way I was finishing the race in second so as soon as he came by, I dived straight back up the inside and held him off until the flag. I’m so happy and the team deserve real credit for working so hard across the three days to get the bike dialled in. I’m delighted to get the win and we’ve repeated what we did here last year so let’s hope we can do the same next time out at Knockhill. A big thanks as always to everyone at AMD Motorsport!”
Fraser Dykes, Team Owner: “We’re all over the moon with the victory today and it’s what we go racing for! The whole weekend has been fantastic, and Richard ran in the top three in every session so it’s clear he’s a different rider this year and taken his performances to the next level. It was a thoroughly deserved win with nothing handed to him and, as well as Richard’s performance, a huge shout-out must go to Simon Bleasdale for all his hard work. Both he and the whole team worked tirelessly all weekend and we can’t have asked for a better weekend!”
The next round of the series takes place at the team’s local round at Knockhill, Scotland on June 16-18.
Pictures by Tim Keeton (Impact Images Photography)
Pirelli National Superstock Championship race (15 laps)
1 Richard Kerr (AMD Motorsport Honda)
2 Dan Linfoot (Honda)
3 Alastair Seeley (BMW)
4 Joe Talbot (Honda)
5 Lewis Rollo (Aprilia)
6 Alex Olsen (Honda)
Championship Standings (after three rounds)
1 Linfoot 87pts
2 Kerr 79
3 Talbot 68
4 Bourne 67
5 Olsen 59
6 Seeley 40