Phillips keeps Superstock 600 title hopes alive as Motostar crash rules out Courtney.
It was another eventful weekend for Team ILR as the 2016 BSB season moved on to Donington Park at the weekend.
Earlier in the week, Nadieh Schoots unexpectedly announced that she would give the Superstock 1000 race at Donington a miss due to her injuries from the previous round at Oulton Park, so it was left to Motostar (Moto 3 Standard Class) runner Connall Courtney to fly the flag for the team, with Superstock 600 Championship contender Carl Phillips also taking his now regular place in the team's garage under the Sandown Racing banner.
Courtney arrived at Donington determined to build on his recent performances, but unfortunately his endeavours only lasted until the second qualifying session.
After a respectable showing in the first sessions in which he continually set personal best times, Connall had moved up to 9th in the second session with a further improvement in his times, but as he slowed due to the dip in temperature he was caught out, as were many, by a cold tyre and injured his shoulder in the resulting crash and was deemed unfit to take any further part in the weekend's action by the medical team.
Phillips meanwhile was going about his business in an equally determined manner and was looking for a strong performance to keep the pressure on series leader Jordan Weaving.
Free Practice was something of a non-event for Carl, 14th quickest he wisely decided to pull in after three laps of the wet session with more to lose than to gain.
First qualifying was dry and Carl finished 7th but was left to rue being held up on the final corner on a flying last lap. Undaunted Carl again got the head down in the second session and finished third, just under half a second off pole and with one second covering the top dozen riders, the scene was set for an exciting race on Sunday.
Unlike the previous round, Carl got a good start on the opening lap in which Lewis Rollo opened up a gap of over one and a half seconds to lead the chasing pack, which included Phillips in fourth.
The deficit had reduced dramatically by the time the race reached the third lap with Carl still fourth and one second covering the top five.
On the fourth lap Rollo dramatically crashed out of the lead when he lost the front end of his Kawasaki at the Melbourne Hairpin. This left Jordan Weaving in the lead with Phillips half a second back in third and fully aware that in order to take the championship to the final round he couldn't afford to let another rider split the two.
Carl quickly got past second place man Bradley Jones on the next lap, but try as he did he just couldn't manage to close the half a second gap to Weaving.
With two laps to go Phillips decided that discretion was the better part of valour and settled for a secure second place which ensured that the title couldn't be won at Donington.
The final round is at Brands Hatch in October and effectively means that in order for Carl to win the title nothing less than a win will do with Jordan failing to finish in the Top 10.
It's a difficult but not impossible task and in racing anything can happen.
One thing is clear, Carl and the team will give it 100%.
"Well Donington turned out a bit on the disappointing side, with Nadieh deciding at the last minute not to ride as her shoulder was still hurting after her Oulton crash, then Connall picked up a shoulder injury in a crash at Coppice Corner, just when he was starting to make inroads on the others.
But that's racing I guess, and as a team manager you have to deal with all sorts of eventualities and personalities throughout the course of a season, every day is a school day and you never stop learning.
I really thought Carl would beat Jordan Weaving at Donington as he's very strong around here, but like I said before Jordan has gathered momentum and is on a roll after a succession of wins and rostrums.
At the flag there was very little in it with both riders doing almost identical lap times.
But as I've got to know Carl, I know he won't give up until after Brands is over and the championship is done, so there's still a chance he could walk away with the Superstock 600 title yet!"
"I had a clear objective for a Top 10 finish at the weekend.
In Q2 I improved my time by a good amount improving to 9th in the session, but unfortunately with the weather being so cold and such a strong wind blowing I rolled off enough on one lap to suffer a cold tyre crash, injuring my shoulder and being ruled out of both races.
It's unfortunate and we have had some bad luck in recent races but we will come back stronger in the last few races.
Thanks to the team and all my sponsors."
"I thoroughly enjoyed the race at Donington.
The weather was brill for the race, the bike was on song and I finished 2nd to Jordan Weaving the championship leader.
This means Jordan and myself go to Brands to see who will lift the title.
It's going to be a big ask but Team#32 haven't thrown the towel in yet.
Roll on Brands to see what happens.
A big thank you to all my sponsors, my team, Team ILR and to everyone who called over to say hello at Donington."
Courtney's Oulton ends in disappointment
Team ILR's Connall Courtney'sOulton Park finished in disappointment when the young Warrenpoint rider crashed out of the ninth round of the British Motostar (Moto3 Standard Class) Championship on Sunday.
Up until that point it had been a promising weekend for Courtney who had lapped much quicker in qualifying than his previous best at the same circuit in May.
As the race got underway in dry, sunny conditions Connall got off to a bad start but soon became involved in a dice with fellow Honda riders James Alderson and Ewan Potter, with the latter two edging away slightly mid-race.
As the race reached the halfway point it was obvious that Potter and Alderson were tripping one another up as Courtney responded with his fastest lap of the race on the seventh circuit to close to within half a second of the duo.
On the next lap, Connall was right in the mix again, however at Hizzy's Chicane he had a coming together with Potter bringing both rider's race to a premature conclusion.
Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher: "Oulton was literally an up and down meeting for both Connall and his team-mate Nadieh Schoots.
Connall was improving all the time especially in the wet Q1 session, in the race though he had a coming together with another rider and they crashed out, both without injury. Nadieh meanwhile had a crash in Q1 on her first flying lap and hurt her shoulder, but managed to get back out for Q2 and improve her times over the last meeting in May, which was good.
It's only a few days now until we set up at Donington Park for this weekend's round, so it's onwards and upwards."
"Back home from a mixed weekend at Oulton.
Had a really positive weekend up until the race, we had closed the gap to the group and I felt better on the bike with times getting consistently quicker.
After a bad start in the race and hitting a false neutral, I closed the gap ahead of me and was having a good battle until unfortunately I tangled with another rider and crashed.
I'm ok, just tweaked a few old injuries but I'll hopefully be fit for Donington this week.
Thank-you to everyone for their messages and to my sponsors, Modern Tyres, team and family.
Tough Weekend for Schoots
Nadieh Schoots experienced a tough weekend as the latest round of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship took place at Oulton Park.
Nadieh's weekend had barely got underway when she crashed out of the first qualifying session at Druids, with her right shoulder taking the brunt of the crash and resulting in a painful injury to her rotator cuff and muscles.
Schoots then had an anxious wait to see if she would be passed fit to take any further part in the weekend's action.
Thankfully she was allowed to continue, and with great determination she qualified the ZX-10R for Sunday’s 14-lap race, albeit from Row 11 on the grid.
Nadieh was in obvious discomfort during the race and, with little or no strength in her arm at times, was struggling to hold the big Kawasaki round the challenging Cheshire circuit, nevertheless she still managed to come home in a gritty 26th place.
Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher:
"Oulton was literally an up and down meeting for both Nadieh and her team-mate Connall Courtney. Nadieh had a crash in Q1 on her first flying lap and hurt her shoulder, but managed to get back out for Q2 and improve her times over the last meeting in May, which was good."
“I lost strength very quickly during the race and I'm just happy to have finished.
A big thank-you to my team.