Richard Kerr and the AMD Motorsport team faced challenging conditions at the penultimate round of the Pirelli National Superstock Championship at Donington Park at the weekend but the County Donegal rider took crucial finishes of sixth and ninth to keep himself well in title contention going into the final round later this month.
As has become the norm this season, the weekend started strongly for Richard and the Dumfries-based team as he posted the third fastest time in each of Friday’s free practice sessions around the Leicestershire venue. However, he was unable to improve upon his time in qualifying and that meant he had to settle for seventh place and a third row start for Saturday’s 15-lap race.
When the riders lined up on the grid later in the afternoon though, the threat of rain was high and sure enough it started to fall on the fourth lap which brought the red flag out. Re-started over just eight laps of the 2.5-mile GP circuit, Richard made a steady start to run in seventh and with championship leader Dan Linfoot down in tenth, he was on course to claw back some points.
As the race progressed though, Linfoot upped his pace to eventually finish in sixth whilst Richard dropped back and had to settle for ninth at the chequered flag, which saw the points gap between the two increase to 41 points.
The 23-year old lined up in ninth place for Sunday’s 15-lap race, which saw wetter conditions, with a good start on the Honda Fireblade seeing him complete the opening lap in seventh. Briefly up into fifth on lap three, Fraser Rogers pushed him back to sixth two laps later and it was here where he finished but with Linfoot back in tenth on this occasion, it meant Richard cut the points gap to 33 points with 70 still available at the final round.
Richard Kerr: “Saturday’s race was obviously a disappointment and although we made all the right changes, the set-up of the rear shock wasn’t quite where I needed it to be in terms of getting the drive off the corners. We haven’t had much time in the wet this year, but we made a good improvement in the damp warm-up session on Sunday morning and with the afternoon’s race being fully wet, we benefitted. We obviously want to finish higher than sixth, but it would have been easy to make a mistake and we had to look at the bigger picture. The boys at the front had nothing to lose and with Dan behind me, finishing ahead of him and clawing back some points was crucial so I’m pleased we achieved that and can take the fight to the final round.”
Fraser Dykes, Team Owner: “We’re smiling a wee bit more today than we were yesterday! The weekend obviously started well on Friday with some good pace in the dry, but the first race stoppage went against us as we were looking strong. We opted to go with full wets for the re-start but on hindsight, inters may have been the way to go as those riders were stronger at the end. We lost some ground to Dan, but Richard and the team worked well on Sunday to get an important sixth place and we’re now 33 points behind with 70 available so we know what we have to do at the final round.”
The final round of the series takes place at Brands Hatch on October 13-15.
Championship Positions (after ten rounds)
1 Dan Linfoot (Honda) 324pts
2 Richard Kerr (AMD Motorsport Honda) 291
3 Alastair Seeley (BMW) 261
4 Joe Talbot (Honda) 246
5 Lewis Rollo (Aprilia) 216
6 Billy McConnell (Honda) 213