Welcome to Team ILR...

Spring certainly sprung for Team ILR at the Bob Smith Spring Cup Road races at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough at the weekend, with the team coming away with a total of five wins and no fewer than six Top 6 placings. 

Good weather was forecast for the weekend and whilst this did eventually materialise, nevertheless overnight rain made for a tricky few laps on Saturday morning in which Joey Thompson headed timed qualifying for the Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight class. 

The rain gave way to sunny but chilly conditions as racing got underway on Saturday afternoon with Joey finishing 10th in a high quality Junior Race field and he followed this up with a runaway win in the Solo Open B race which he led from start to finish with the fastest lap of the race. 

Next up was the Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight race with Thompson on pole and Ian Lougher seventh quickest. Joey led them through at the end of the opening lap and he was never headed, eventually winning by over half a minute from the experienced Paul Owen and again posting the fastest lap of the race. 
The real race however was in the ultra-lightweight class where Lougher had come from the third row to gradually close on front row starter Justin Waring. 
With two laps to go the gap was one second, and on the penultimate lap Lougher made his move and used all his experience to just hold on to the line to take the honours and round off a very good first day for the team. 

Sunday dawned dry and sunny as Joey opened his day's account with 12th in the second Junior race and he again dominated the Solo Open B race. 
He then scored his second win in the Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight class with another dominant performance. 
Joey's lead at one point was over 13 seconds before he showed great maturity to roll off and come home with 8.4 seconds to spare. 
Meanwhile Lougher and Waring had resumed their dice from the previous day and this time it was 'local' man Waring who just got the better of the exchange with two laps to go to take the win. 
The last action for the team was in the main Spring Cup race with Joey having a solid ride to finish 11th and the second highest placed 600 rider. 

So a successful Spring Cup for Team ILR with four wins for the impressive Joey Thompson and yet another one for the circuit's most successful ever competitor Ian Lougher. 

Unofficial word regarding Ian's race win tally is that the statisticians have just stopped counting! 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"I was really impressed with Joey over the weekend. 
It was the first time for him to ride his 600 around Oliver's Mount, it's not an easy place to learn especially in mixed conditions as it was on the Saturday morning. 
But he listens carefully, taking in all the advice from myself and his mechanic Jacko, and he chipped away at steadily improving his set-up on the ZX6 and bringing his times down. 
This has shown us that he has real maturity and promise and he should take the forthcoming North-West 200 and TT races in his stride. 
As for my own results at Scarborough, I really enjoyed being back on a motorcycle, the first time since September. 
The little NSF250 Moto 3 bike did me proud, helping me win the Saturday race and narrowly missing the same on the Sunday...top do!!'' 

Joey Thompson
''We had a strong weekend at Oliver's Mount, as I had never ridden there on a 600 before. 
We were progressing leaps and bounds every session. We managed to take 4 wins on the 600 and 250 and made good progress in the main Spring Cup open race. 
The whole weekend went to plan and all at Team ILR did a superb job and thanks to my dad and sponsors for all their help. 
Also a big thank you to all the fans and supporters at the event, it makes it a great atmosphere! 
Now, on to Round 3 of BSB!'' 

From the roads it's back to the short circuits where the team will again be in the British Superbikes paddock for the continuation of the premier domestic championships at Oulton Park over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

The second round of the British Superbike Championship season at Brands Hatch saw Team ILR reduced to three riders with Ozzy Madey ruled out of participation in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 with a back injury. 

Nevertheless the team's remaining three riders were determined to put in a good showing around the short Indy circuit. 

The latest round, held as it was over the Easter weekend, saw four days of action with young Dromara rider Sam Laffins the only one not in action on the first day. 

British Supersport Championship 
In the Supersport class, Joey Thompson had a positive start to the weekend. 

In Free Practice 1, Joey finished 16th but just under a second off the top spot, and he continued to improve his times in FP2 and qualifying to finish 19th on the grid for the first of the weekend's three races. 

It was a frustrating first race though, as a poor start immediately put Thompson on the back foot and he spent the race in a group of riders all trying to break into the Top 20. 
A last lap effort by Joey just failed to get to James Hillier in 20th who he finished one place behind. 

Race 2 was only a few laps old when spots of rain began to fall as Andrew Irwin and Keith Farmer crashed out, resulting in a red flag. 

The re-start was over a reduced 14 laps and, as in the first race, a battle soon developed between Thompson and Hillier for 20th place but unfortunately Joey's race came to an end with a lap to go with an engine valve problem. 

In the feature race Thompson and Hillier were at it again with both running just outside the Top 20. 

In another red-flagged and restarted race, Joey just couldn't get past though with Hillier claiming 20th one place ahead of the Team ILR rider in a repeat of the first race placings. 

Joey Thompson
''We struggled with set-up at Round 2, but the team worked hard to try to solve the little issues. 
Unfortunately I just didn't have the pace to make it into the points in any of the races but we will keep working hard and not give up.  
Thanks to all my sponsors, dad, family and all at Team ILR for their support. 
Roll on Oliver's Mount!'' 

KTM RC British Junior Cup Championship 
Saturday morning saw Sam Laffins make his first appearance on track with Free Practice for the KTM British Junior Cup in which he finished 14th. 
Sam then went over one second quicker in qualifying to claim a spot in the middle of the fourth row of the grid for the first of the weekend's three races, with two taking place on Easter Sunday. 

The first race saw a real scrap between seven riders including Laffins, and in a dice that went to the flag Sam finished an excellent 8th and under half a second away from a Top 6 placing.  
Sam quickly settled into 6th place in the second race and again was involved in a battle for top placings when he unfortunately crashed out on the fourth lap, thankfully without injury. 

In Race 3 on Easter Monday, Laffins was 13th at the end of Lap 1 but was soon in the middle of a trio of riders sorting out 10th place with Sam determinedly holding on to this position at the chequered flag to bring another promising weekend to a close for the 15 year old. 

Sam Laffins
''The weekend started great when I qualified 11th and finished 8th in Race One, only a hundredth of a second between me and 5th place and only lapping one second off the leading group. 
For the second race I was moved up to 7th place on the grid but unfortunately I slid off at Clearways which moved me back to 12th on the grid for race 3. I finished 10th in the 3rd race and I had a continuous battle with Adam Dunn and Jordan McCord. 
Qualifying is very important in this class because you have to get away with the leading group and just go with them so falling off in the second race messed everything up for me because I was put back on the grid. 
I would like to thank all my sponsors and Team ILR and Ian for all his help over the four days. 
I would also like to thank Andy Reid, Joey Thompson and Ozzy Madey for their help improving my line and riding style. 
Roll on Knockhill.''  

National Superstock 600 Championship 
Free Practice saw Team Sandown's Robert Kennedy well to the fore as he finished third just 0.35 seconds off the fastest time. 
Saturday's second Free Practice saw Robert improve his time to finish 6th quickest and again well in the mix at only 0.4s down. 

With Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher in his corner, Sunday's qualifying would see Robert dip under 48 seconds for his best lap so far to finish on the second row of the grid for Easter Monday's race. 

Kennedy found himself down in 14th at the end of the opening lap of the race and he remained here until the halfway point when he moved into 12th with a late charge eventually placing him ninth, and still well placed in the championship in fifth. 

Robert Kennedy
ďOverall I am happy with the result as it's the first time I've ridden the Indy circuit, but at same time I'm slightly disappointed that I could not capitalise on my grid position. 
I struggled a lot in the race at the start, but as the race went on we got better. 
I am looking forward to getting more mileage on the Sandown Racing Kawasaki at a test day at Oulton Park. 
This is another new track for me to learn. 
My thanks to everyone that's made this possible for me. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"It's always nice to come away from Brands 'Scratch' with everything in one piece. 
It's an enjoyable little track but far too small to be used for BSB racing these days. 
The whole grid of riders is split by a nano second, so everybody tries so hard and with it being so early in the season most riders haven't found a good base setting for their unfamiliar machines. 
For our team, Joey was the only rider who had ridden there before, but 'RK' and young Sam acquitted themselves well with the circuit, with both getting top ten results. 
Joey's times were really good but it's such a hard and fast class he didn't manage a points finish yet, but I feel he is progressing very fast and it's not far away, plus a broken valve in race two didn't help. 
We look forward to Oulton Park next time out now." 

Brands Hatch was another positive step for the team, with the next round at Oulton Park in two weeks time. 
In the meantime the team will be at the Bob Smith Spring Cup meeting at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough this weekend.

Team ILR had their first competitive outing of the season with the first round of the British Superbike Championship season at Donington Park, and for team owner/manager Ian Lougher it was a busy weekend with four riders under his wing. 
Joining Team ILR teamsters Joey Thompson (British Supersport Championship) and Ozzy Madey (National Superstock 600 Championship) were schoolboy Sam Laffins (KTM RC Cup) and Team Sandown's Robert Kennedy (National Superstock 600 Championship) who were benefiting from Lougher's experience and expertise in a coaching and hands-on capacity. 

Practice on Friday was not without its share of issues with Thompson having problems with the gearbox not changing down properly on his Kawasaki. 

In the Stock 600 class Madey and Kennedy were experiencing mixed fortunes with Ozzy looking for a good set-up with his ZX-6, as Kennedy ended the day 9th quickest 0.771 off the top spot but like Madey, not entirely happy with some aspects of his machine, but problems the team were confident of resolving. 

Meanwhile in the KTM RC Cup class, Sam was doing really well as he moved up to 10th quickest in qualifying and confident of a good run in Saturday afternoon's race. 

In contrast to the previous day dry weather, Saturday's action was held in changeable conditions and it was again Kennedy who fared best finishing as he did in 13th position in Superstock 600 qualifying, a session which he led at one stage and one which was curtailed towards the end with the introduction of a red flag. 

Madey unfortunately struggled a bit with a misted visor and spent a lot of the session in the pits. 
The red flag also hampered him on his 'good' lap but to his credit he remained upbeat and determined. 

Thompson meanwhile finished 20th in the Supersport session to take his place on Row 7 of the grid for Sunday's race. 
Running just outside the points for the first two laps of the race, Joey then dropped to 25th but battled back to gain three places at the chequered flag. 

The first of the weekend's three KTM RC Cup races on Saturday saw young Laffins finish in ninth place, a great result in what was his first race in this class and his first time at Donington. 
Sam unfortunately crashed out of Race 2 on Sunday and, despite running on in the third race and having to go up the slip road through no fault of his own and losing a lot of time, he recovered well to finish 17th. 

Robert Kennedy had a great run in the Superstock 600 class to claim fourth, and was the quickest rider through the fifth sector of the circuit. Robert came through brilliantly from ninth on the opening lap to finish one place off the podium. 
Ozzy Madey however was experiencing a rear shock problem on his bike, but battled gamely with two other riders to finish 23rd. 

So a solid start to the season with everyone adjusting to, and gelling well, within the new set-up for 2017 and with lots of info gathered to take into the next round at Brands Hatch in two weeks time. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for us at Donington, on top of Ozzy's problem with the rear shock on his bike the weather didn't help, as it was it's usual slippery self on Saturday afternoon for qualifying. 
This made finding a good dry setting for a dry Sunday a bit tricky, but considering we've only just started working with the four riders we didn't struggle too much, I think. 
One thing's for sure, we'll be able to improve a lot next time out at Brands Hatch with the knowledge we gained here." 

Joey Thompson: 
"Round 1 was a difficult weekend as we had to solve some problems throughout practice which caused a lack of laps. Unfortunately in the race we had a minor problem with a loose footrest which caused me to drop back after the first lap when we had a lot of potential. 
On the bright side, the bike felt amazing and I beat my PB lap time by 1.2 seconds. 
The team worked amazing and I can't thank all my sponsors enough for making his happen." 

Ozzy Madey: 
"It was a tricky weekend in many ways- we struggled initially to find a good dry setup and found problems with grip when accelerating hard on the side of the tyre. 
We were caught out by a red flag in the latter stages of a damp qualifying that left us languishing in 33rd place on the grid but I knew that we had the pace for mid 20's even with a bike that I wasn't particularly happy with at the time. Come the race the bike did feel very good in the faster parts of the circuit such as Craner curves and the Schwartz / McLean sections although we were still struggling to get into and out of the Esses, and the two hairpins that finish the lap. 
We could have placed 21st at the line but these issues let us down in the 2nd half of the race so I settled for 23rd and a confident start to the season. I'd like to thank the entire ILR team for their efforts this weekend, but particularly Ian, Matt and my parents for their efforts throughout our first meeting together."
Sam Laffins: 
"The weekend started great with qualifying in 10th place and finishing the first race in 9th position and I was lapping only two seconds slower than the leading group.
For the second race I was moved up to 8th position on the grid due to my result in Race 1 but unfortunately on the second lap I slid off at the Old Hairpin which then moved me back to 14th on the grid for the third race.
Unfortunately again, going into Fogarty's, myself and another rider made contact and I ran on to the slip road and lost a lot of time and finished 17th.
I would like to thank Team ILR for their help with the set-up of the bike, I really enjoyed working with Ian and I'm looking forward to Brands Hatch.
I would also like to thank my sponsors for giving me the opportunity to race at this level."

Robert Kennedy: 
"I'm very happy with the result considering it's my first time racing at Donington. I just wished I had a better qualifying position to make things a little easier for myself for the race, but on to Brands which is a track I know, so I'm looking forward to it. Thanks to everybody who has made this opportunity happen, to all the team and the sponsors and of course Team ILR and my family. I would also like to thank everybody for all the good luck and well done messages, I really appreciate it, and thanks for the support."


Team ILR will renew their working relationship with Team Sandown in the 2017 Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship paddock, a partnership that came close to taking the title last year. 

Team Sandown will run Dundrod's Robert Kennedy in the series on a new Kawasaki ZX-6R, with Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher once again on hand to set up suspension, mentor and advise Kennedy, as well as assisting in pit-lane and on the grid. 
In addition to this he will again make the Team ILR awning available as a base for the ambitious Northern Ireland team. 

A front runner in the Irish 600 Supersport Championship for the past couple of seasons, Kennedy will take in a full season in what is a new and exciting challenge for him. 

A mechanic by trade, Robert started off in schoolboy motocross, where he progressed to a high level before turning his attention to short circuit racing in 2009. 

In 2015 he competed at the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod, and on what is essentially his home circuit, he scored two brilliant Top 10 places in the Supersport class on his RK Racing Yamaha R6 with an average speed of 125mph. 

It's this type of promise that has drawn him to the attention of Team Sandown who believe that Robert has shown his racing pedigree and is ready to challenge in the ultra-competitive Superstock 600 series, a support class of the British Superbike Championship. 

Robert took in a couple of British Championship meetings last year, just to test the water, and he sees the high standard of racing as something that can only serve to make him a better rider, and he cannot wait for the season to start. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher: "I am really looking forward to working with Robert Kennedy (RK) this season and continuing Team ILR's collaboration with Team Sandown. Robert had a few BSB outings in the Supersport category last year where I helped him with his machine set-up, and he showed me he had the ability and determination to produce some decent results. Joining the Superstock 600 class I believe he could be a dark horse once he learns the circuits." 

Robert Kennedy: "I am so thankful for this opportunity to prove to myself that I can race with the top riders in the UK. And whilst I am under no illusions as to the challenge and big learning curve ahead, nevertheless I cannot wait to get the season underway. I am also very much looking forward to working with and learning from Ian Lougher, to say I am excited is an understatement. This wouldnít be possible without Team Sandown and my sponsors, without whom I would not be able to realise a dream." 

Team Sandown: "We're really looking forward to getting the season underway, and once again working with Ian and his team. We enjoyed our time together last year and we're sure this season will be no different. A big thanks to all the team sponsors that made this happen."


With the new season fast approaching, Team ILR are pleased to announce their rider personnel for 2017.
Joining the team will be
Joey Thompson and Ozzy Madey, whilst Sam Laffins will avail of the experience and expertise of team manager Ian Lougher in a coaching capacity.

Joey Thompson will be in Team ILR colours for his second season in the highly competitive and exciting British Supersport Championship, a series that is a new venture for the team and one that will bring increased media exposure.

Joey cut his racing teeth in motocross before moving on to the tarmac at the age of 11 where he was very successful at Aprilia Superteen and 600cc Elite Club Championship level. Thompson finished ninth in the 2014 British Motostar Championship scoring points in nine races, with a sixth place at Oulton Park being a particular highlight.

Riding for Team ILR has also presented the 18 year old Yorkshire lad with the opportunity to make his debut at the Isle of Man TT races where he will rely on, and benefit greatly from, the presence of highly respected 10 times TT winner
Ian Lougher in his corner. 

Team ILR will run Thompson on a Kawasaki ZX-6R 
in the two four-lap Monster Energy Supersport races, where heíll be the youngest rider on the Glencrutchery Road at TT 2017.

Although he will be making his TT debut this year, nevertheless Thompson is no stranger to Oliverís Mount, Scarborough where he won all eight races he entered in 2016. He took the Stu Reed Lightweight Trophy, won in the past by Lougher, on a Moto 3 Honda as well as victory in the Phil Mellor Trophy race on a 250cc Yamaha. 
In addition to the Isle of Man TT and British Supersport Championship, Thompson will compete in the three big Oliverís Mount race meetings, beginning with the Spring Cup National Road Races in April, and he will also debut at the International North-West 200, all of which will be used as preparation for the TT.

Ozzy Madey from Douglas on the Isle of Man, will compete for the team in the BSB National Superstock 600 Championship.

The twenty-three old, is proving to be one of the Isle of Manís most promising young motorcycle racers.
Ozzy has had a keen interest in motorcycling from a very young age, initially starting his racing career at the age of 3 when his parents purchased a Malagutti 50cc motocross bike to ride around fields and circuits around the Island. After 2 years on the 50cc he moved up to an ex-factory Kawasaki KX60.
Although he loved the off-road discipline, at the time he and his parents decided to call an end to his racing until he was a bit older.

When he turned 12, he decided his future lay in road racing. After a lot of research Ozzy came to the conclusion that the best way of gaining the necessary experience to be ready for 125 racing would be minimoto racing.
In 2007 he received his first minimoto, a GRC 4.2 aircooled from Minimoto Racing Ltd at Hullavington, Wiltshire.
He raced it on the Island throughout 2007, failing to finish lower than 1st place all season out of the races that he competed in.

He competed in the Thundersport GB F400 Series in 2012, finishing second, and the following year he went one better to claim the title. 
After several wildcard appearances in 2015, Ozzy raced in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship in 2016, where he learned a lot and improved with every outing,
 and he goes into this season determined to build on his progress from last year.

Schoolboy Sam Laffins hails from Dromara Co. Down, home of the famous Dromara Destroyers, and in 2017 Sam will compete in the KTM 390 RC Cup Series.
Sam only began racing in June 2016 in the 300 Production Class, and his progress in such a short space of time has been impressive.

At the Neil Robinson Memorial at Kirkistown in July he registered two third place finishes.
Then in September at the Davy Wood Memorial, on his first visit to Bishopscourt, he had a second and a first place to his credit with a fastest lap of the race thrown in for good measure.

He finished 2016 on a high at the Sunflower Trophy races where he was second in the first Junior Cup race with a new lap record for the class, and winning the second race.
He also finished second in the Belfast and District Motor Club Junior Cup Championship.

Laffins will be under the mentorship of Ian Lougher in 2017, and it's a move that will only serve to further enhance his growing reputation and racing career. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher:
"The 2017 season is looming fast and I'm delighted to be moving forward with our plans, and pleased to be able to announce that Team ILR are keeping with the ethos of bringing on new riders who necessarily don't have the huge budgets, but have the talent.
It's good to see that for 2017 we have a couple of hungry riders who really want to get out there and get stuck in. They are all obviously very young (especially Sam) and on a massive learning curve, but hopefully with a lot of determination and willpower they can achieve their goals with us.
For Joey tackling the TT for the first time is no mean feat, but he has the right attitude towards it, and he knows this year is to go and enjoy it and chip away at it during the fortnight steadily bringing his times down
He's been over to the Isle of Man regularly driving around the circuit and generally doing his homework on the place, so we'll see how he gets on with it."

Joey Thompson:
"I am really looking forward to joining Team ILR, I think the team has a very good set-up and has the knowledge and experience to give me the best opportunity to do well.
I am happy to have Ian helping me on the roads as well, and i think the experience of a 10-times TT winner will help me a lot!
I can't wait to get stuck into the British Supersport Championship and see if we can get some good results.
Thanks to Ian and Team ILR for giving me the opportunity, and another thank-you to all my family and personal sponsors 
for making this possible.
See you at Round 1." 

Ozzy Madey:
"I'm really looking forward to working with Ian and his team. I feel that the knowledge, and in particular the rider development training Ian is able to offer, is something that I sorely missed last season.
The obvious aim for me this year is to become a regular top 10 finisher at least by the mid-way point in the season, and finish the year with good momentum to carry into 2018, when I move up to a Superstock 1000 machine.

Sam Laffins:
"I only began racing last June and to have a legend in the sport like
Ian Lougher coaching me this year is brilliant, and it goes with the ethos of Team ILR bringing on new talent into the sport!! It has really given me confidence and encouragement for 2017 and I can't wait for the season to start.
Thanks to Ian and my family as well as my sponsors




Next Event
Joey Thompson 
Ozzy Madey
Sam Laffins
Robert Kennedy

''I really respect Ian and his guys, not only for their success on the track, but for the friendly reception and countless cups of coffee and biscuits afforded over the years whenever I have shown up at their garage.
I am sure that their success will continue.''

Professional Photographer
Graham Ravensdale
2017 Season
Bob Smith Spring Cup: Oliver's Mount
BSB Championships Round 2: Brands Hatch (Indy)

BSB Championships Round 1: Donington Park
2016 Images
BSB Championships Round 12: Brands GP
BSB Championships Round 10: Donington Park
BSB Championships Round 9: Oulton Park
BSB Championships Round 8: Cadwell Park
BSB Championships Round 7: Brands Hatch GP

Isle of Man TT
BSB Championships
Round 3:
Brands Hatch (Indy)
BSB Championships Round 2: Oulton Park
Suter MMX 500 First Test: ASC Vairano Circuit
Bob Smith Spring Cup: Oliver's Mount
BSB Championships Round 1: Silverstone