Kieran sets sights on top four

MOTOR SPORT: Copdock bike racer Kieran Murphy is gunning for a top-four finish as the National Superstock Championship nears its climax.Murphy could only manage seventh place in the latest round of the championship at Oulton Park after wrecking his top machine in a frightening crash in qualifying.

MOTOR SPORT

Copdock bike racer Kieran Murphy is gunning for a top-four finish as the National Superstock Championship nears its climax.

Murphy could only manage seventh place in the latest round of the championship at Oulton Park after wrecking his top machine in a frightening crash in qualifying.

However, having also escaped unscathed from a nasty spill in practice to take fourth spot in the

previous outing at Cadwell Park, Murphy has cemented a top-four spot in the overall standings.

The 23-year-old is now 25 points clear of fifth-placed Ross McCulloch with only Dave Jefferies, Chris Burns and John Crockford ahead of him in the race for glory. And he will be looking to step up his challenge in the penultimate round of the championship at Mallory Park this weekend before the curtain falls on the season at Donington on September 29.

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At Oulton Park, Murphy qualified in sixth position, but following his 125mph accident after he slipped on an oil spill, he was forced to switch to his spare bike and eventually managed only seventh place – 14 seconds behind winner and championship leader Jefferies.

However, Murphy had maintained his impressive form this season on Cadwell Park's narrow,

undulating track which provides the riders with a real test of nerve and ability.

After the crash in qualifying – described by Murphy as "the biggest accident I've ever had" – he went on to qualify in sixth position on the grid.

Murphy's main concern was beating nearest rival McCulloch.

Rain made the setup of the bike very tricky, but Murphy held his sixth position as Burns took an early lead from McCulloch and Crockford.

Murphy moved up into fifth as he fought hard to stay in touch with the leaders, until on lap five Dave Heal crashed which brought out the safety car.

At the restart Crockford passed McCulloch, but they touched, breaking the front brake-lever on McCulloch's bike which forced him to retire.

Burns eventually won the race from team-mate Crockford with Jefferies and Murphy indulging in a thrilling scrap for third, which went all the way to the finish line as Murphy just failed to make the passing manoeuvre by four one-hundreths of a second at the line.

"The rain made the set up of the bike a bit of a gamble, but I'm now 25 points ahead of McCulloch so I'm happy with the result, although a podium position would have been good," said Murphy.

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