Appleyard Macadam Racing picked up their opening victories of the 2018 Dickies British Supersport championship at Brands Hatch this weekend, thanks to a double win from Irishman Jack Kennedy.

The Dubliner set the pace through Friday’s free practice sessions but youngster Brad Jones was again impressive in only his second outing on the Yamaha YZF-R6 Supersport machine, ending up fifth quickest.

Saturday morning’s qualifying session was held in dry conditions and Kennedy was again dominant at the top of the time sheets, taking his second pole position in as many races. The performance of the 30 minute session came from 20-year-old Jones, however, who went one better than his grid position at Donington Park to claim his first front row start in third.

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That evening the 16 lap sprint race got underway and Kennedy made a good start from pole position to take an early lead. Kennedy lead every lap but one but was under immense pressure throughout from his championship rival, Australian Ben Currie. The 30-year-old was keen not to let Currie pass him on the last lap again and as the pair came through the last corner of Clearways, Currie was closing in but Kennedy held on to take the chequered flag by just 0.006 of a second and secured his first win of the season.

Jones was in a multi-rider battle for fourth place throughout and just missed out on winning by fractionally over a tenth of a second. However, fifth place and a best finish in the class delighted the whole of the team.

Sunday’s feature race was initially red flagged with Kennedy in second due to rain, but when the race restarted over 12 laps the track remained dry despite light rain continuing to fall. Kennedy pushed his way past American James Rispoli at the halfway point and wrapped up his second win of the weekend by over a quarter of a second. Jones was struggling with a front-end problem throughout the race so couldn’t match Saturday’s finish but rode maturely to eighth place.

Leaving Brands Hatch, Kennedy now sits atop of the championship standings; holding a four point advantage over Currie. After collecting 19 points over the weekend, Jones jumped up the standing to eighth place.

"It feels brilliant to do the double and come away leading the championship. It was a pretty perfect weekend, with a clean sweep of pole and two wins; we can't do better than that.

Race one was a close one, Ben [Currie] and I were locked into a battle all the way. Coming into the last corner I just had to break as late as I could, guard my lines then tuck in. I just managed to get the win by six thousandths of a second."

Jack Kennedy

"In race two there was a red flag when it started raining at Druids. On the restart the conditions were still sketchy and it was hard to know how much grip was out there. James [Rispoli] pulled a gap so it took me four or five consistent fast laps to reel him in. I got the slip stream down the start finish but got sucked in a bit. I didn't plan to pass him that close because it was really tight and, to be honest, we were lucky to get away with it. I started to push on once in front and put the laps together in the tricky conditions but then in the last two laps the rain came down really heavy again. I didn't want to bin it so I dropped off a tiny bit, rode defensively and by guarding my line I managed to bring it home in front."

"All credit to Appleyard Macadam Integro Yamaha for giving me a great bike this weekend and big thanks to the lads for all their hard work. I can't wait for Oulton Park - one of my favourite tracks."

"Overall, it was a great weekend for me and the whole team. It was good to get some more dry laps in, which allowed me to develop the Integro Yamaha a bit more. Getting my first front row in supersport was mega and then to have a great battle for fourth in race one was a lot of fun. In race two I had a few little issues, which meant I couldn’t push the front as much as I’d have liked but still, bringing it home in eighth means valuable points on the board."

Brad Jones

"It's still early days for me and I’m continuing to learn the supersport bike but I think it's very positive that I’ve managed to show a good pace so far this season. I’m excited with what the rest of the season holds and hope to be stood on that podium soon."