Joe Francis battled through the pain to scorch to two top-10 finishes at the season finale at Brands Hatch – as Jenny Tinmouth made a welcome return to action.
Francis, from Backford, finished seventh and eighth at the last round of the Dickies British Supersport Championship campaign in what were his first races since fracturing his L1 vertebrae in a crash at Cadwell Park in August.
Former British Superbikes star Tinmouth, from Ellesmere Port, was back on the grid for the first time this season as a privateer and she finished 19th and 22nd in class in the same event.
Francis qualified in fourth for Saturday’s Sprint race before dropping back to seventh at the back of an eight-rider train after a steady start.
The 19-year-old managed to hold his position all the way to the chequered flag, crossing the line eighth overall and seventh in class.
He also set the second fastest time overall, which gave him a front-row start for Sunday’s feature race.
Francis again got off to a good start, holding his position and then taking the lead on the second lap.
But the Backford Bullet was powerless to prevent the rest of the pack catching and, despite pushing as hard as he could, he eventually finished eighth.
Francis, who rides for the Movuno.com Halsall Racing Team, said: “I’m really sore now but I’m happy with what we have achieved here this weekend.
“If anyone had told me before today that I’d be leading a race this weekend I wouldn’t have believed them.
“At the start of the races I was able to run much quicker times but I found that as the races wore on it just got really hard.
“I did what I could and the team have built me a great bike. I think two top 10s are a good result, all things considering.
“It’s been an up and down season but the team has been brilliant. We’ve had a few problems here and there but we’ve worked well together.
“It all came together just two weeks before the season began and I just want to thank Martin (Halsall) for the opportunity and the tea.”
Francis finished ninth in the final standings despite missing three rounds through injury.
And team owner Halsall said: “We’ve always known Joe is a great rider and coming back from injury in the way he has just proved what a fighter he is.
“We said from the moment he had his crash that if he wanted to come back for Brands that we’d be ready for him and he’s done everyone proud.
“It’s been a hard season but I’m really pleased that we put Joe on our bike. He’s a fantastic rider and he’s a great guy.
“We’ve loved having him and I’m proud of the job everyone has done.”