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The second round of the British Superbike Championship season at Brands Hatch saw Team ILR field three riders, with Sam Laffins getting his season with the team underway in the first round of the British Motostar Championship. 

British Supersport Championship. 
In the Supersport class, Robert Kennedy had a particularly positive start to the weekend. 

In Free Practice 1, he finished an excellent second quickest and third fastest through two of the three sectors and also two of the three speed traps in the wet conditions, with Joey Thompson 20th and trying to find a good set-up. 
Drier conditions gave the riders a chance for some proper track time and qualifying saw Kennedy and Thompson post their fastest times of the weekend on their way to finishing 9th and 24th respectively. 

The first of the weekend's two races, Saturday's Sprint Race over 16 laps, was also held in dry conditions and Robert spent most of the race involved in an exciting four rider dice for 11th place, with the Dundrod rider eventually finishing a strong 13th, but more was to come in the second encounter. 

Joey meanwhile was involved in a similar scrap as he and four riders including GP2 rider Mike Brouwers battled for lower placings. 

Race 2 on Sunday was held in tricky conditions with rain falling on the Kent circuit. 
Unfazed, Kennedy quickly settled in from the fifth row of the grid and he went across the finish line at the end of the opening lap in 8th with his team-mate Thompson also riding well and making progress in 18th. 

With a quarter of the 12 lap race run, Robert was still in the top six and, as in the previous day's race, he again found himself in the midst of a group of riders. 

Robert kept things tidy in the tricky conditions as he moved between fifth and sixth place, however on the last lap he made his move and clinched fifth to move him into the Top 10 in the Championship and bring his weekend to a very satisfactory conclusion. 

Thompson also had his hands full as he also once again battled throughout with a group of riders. 

He gained three places on the tenth lap and despite dropping a place on the penultimate lap, he climbed two places on the last circuit to finish in a battling 14th for two championship points. 

British Motostar Championship.
Sam Laffins had an unfortunate start to his 2018 Moto 3 campaign when he crashed without injury at Graham Hill Bend during FP1. 
The team got Sam out for the second session where he finished 10th quickest and although he improved his time in qualifying, he finished one further place down the order in 11th for Race 1. 
Sam quickly settled into the race but in the latter stages he again came to grief, this time at Clearways, and unfortunately his race was run whilst lying in 8th place. 

The team again worked hard on the NSF 250 Honda and Sam was able to take his place on the ninth row of the grid for Sunday's Race 2, but he faced an uphill task on the short Indy circuit. 
As it was, Sam brought it home in 13th place to score his first points of the season, but importantly he had gained more valuable track time on the Moto 3 bike. 

The next round for Team ILR is at Oulton Park over the Bank Holiday weekend May 5-7. 

Team ILR owner-manager Ian Lougher
"Well it was nice to get some half decent weather at last at Brands Hatch for the second round of BSB. 
RK rode consistently well all weekend gaining confidence in the set-up we gave him and the team's and his hard work paid off with some great results. 
Hopefully with the bike set-up we have now, I'm sure Robert will have a great Oulton Park in 3 weeks time. 
Joey was riding well also, and his times getting better after every lap he did, setting his best times in the last race. But to be honest I think his thoughts are already fixed on the bigger road race meetings that are coming soon, so he's just using these early meetings to get up to speed in readiness for the major internationals. 
Sam has a heck of a lot of talent, but comes onto such a big stage of the BSB meetings and the British Talent Cup series with basically only one and a half years riding experience behind him, so he's having to learn so fast and try and find the limits of the Moto 3 bike in such a short space of time, which leads to mistakes and trips to the gravel trap, and this happened twice over the weekend. 
But when he settles into it and works hard at it, then he'll be fast and will surprise a lot of people in the future I'm sure." 

Robert Kennedy
"It was a brilliant weekend for me. 
Ian, William and my dad put a great bike underneath me throughout the whole weekend. It was so good to get two solid finishes with P13 in Race One, and the rain helped me in Race Two but it was so nice to finish fifth after the hard winter everyone has put in. 
We have some areas we can work on with both myself and the bike and hopefully we can improve on these in the next races with more track time. 
Massive thanks you to all at Team ILR all my sponsors, friends and family, and anyone who has helped me in any way."

Joey Thompson
"Brands Hatch was a very difficult round for me and the team. 
We started off in wet practice which meant we lost a session for setting up the new ZX6. 
We struggled a lot with gearing and set up all weekend and made a huge change every session and race we went into, which meant I was going into each race not knowing what the bike would be like. 
In the feature race we finally managed to get the perfect set-up for the bike but that was just too late unfortunately as we were well down the grid. 
Hopefully we can make a good round at Oulton Park and that's the circuits out the way with, and it'll be time to go Road Racing. 
Thanks to all Team ILR, THOMPSONS and all my personal sponsors for making it possible." 
Sam Laffins
"After getting some set-up in Free Practice 1, I went out in FP2 and got into the fifty-two's which put me in tenth. After qualifying in 11th I and dropped a place on the first lap of Race 1 but pulled back four places by lap five and was running in eighth place when I lost the front. 
Race 2 didn't go too well as the front brake wasn't releasing properly which meant the brake was holding a bit, but I managed 13th. 
So not a bad start to the season and roll on Oulton Park. 
I would like to thank Team ILR for doing a great job, and I would like to thank all my sponsors and supporters. 
It wouldn't be possible without you."


Team ILR had their first competitive outing of 2018 when the weather-hit first round of the British Superbike Championship season took place at a bitterly cold Donington Park over the Easter weekend with Joey Thompson and Robert Kennedy in action in the British Supersport Championship. 

Qualifying on Sunday saw Thompson finish among the top dozen riders with Kennedy down in 19th after an off at Starkey's, but he was still less than a second slower than his team-mate with both riders among the fastest five competitors through two of the three speed traps, and later in the day they lined up on the grid for the first of the weekend's two races, the sprint race over eight laps. 

Two laps in and Joey and Robert were together on track in 12th and 13th with Kennedy moving ahead on the next lap. 
At two-thirds distance the Dundrod man moved into the Top 10 and a lap later he was up to 8th as Thompson began to struggle with an over-heating engine on his Kawasaki. 

For the last two laps Kennedy was involved in a tussle with fellow Yamaha mounted Danny Booth with the latter grabbing 8th place from Robert who finished in a brilliant ninth on a track he only saw for the first time last season. 
Joey meanwhile nursed his bike home for a fine points finish in 12th. 

The feature Race 2 on Monday was badly affected by the weather with the race eventually getting the go ahead, but unfortunately Robert wasn't able to repeat his great ride from the previous day. 

Before the start of the race there was a problem with his Yamaha and although he started the race he had to admit defeat and retire after three laps with clutch problems. 

This left Joey as the team's sole rider in the race but the young Yorkshire rider had it all to do from the fifth row of the grid and eventually finished in a safe and mature 19th place in extremely tricky conditions. 

The action moves from Donington to Brands Hatch in two weeks time.

Team ILR owner-manager Ian Lougher
"After one of the coldest meetings I can ever remember, it's a relief to be leaving the first round with the riders and bikes in one piece to be honest. It was a mixed weekend for both riders. 
After a crash at Starkeys on Saturday, Robert slowly got his confidence back and had a fantastic ride through the field from 19th to 9th in the sprint race.
Joey was unlucky to have an over heating engine but still brought it home in 12th. 
To be very honest, if it hadn't have stopped raining and dried a little for the second race, my advice was to park the bikes as it was just outright dangerous to be out there on such a water logged and ever changing and unpredictable track. 
But fortunately it dried and although everybody chose wets on the damp track they both decided to race. 
RK had an issue with his clutch this time so retired and Joey brought it home in a very sensible 19th place finish. 
But overall we're all glad to see the back of Donington...maybe the organisers should look at a different one of their "many" tracks to host the first round of the series in a very cold March, as they have plenty to choose from..just a thought!!"

Joey Thompson
"We struggled a lot at Donington for Round 1 but we got a load of laps in, in the iffy conditions. 
Unfortunately we had a bad feature race which was my own fault and no one to blame. I just couldn't find the confidence and get into a groove on the slippery track. 
But we are taking all the positives from the weekend and leaving the rash behind us and moving onto Brands Hatch with a fresh head and ready to fight for a good result. 
Thanks to all Team ILR, Thompsons and all my personal sponsors for making it possible.
Another thank-you to my friends and supporters for braving the cold and rain to watch me." 

Robert Kennedy
"First round of the British Championship was a cold one but nevertheless it was good to get back out on the bike.
Qualifying in P19 for the sprint race, I made my way up to P9 which I didn't think would have been possible.
For the main race on the Monday I started 12th but had a problem before the race started. I tried to run with it for some laps but just started to drop back and in the end I pulled in so I wouldn't damage the bike any further.
A massive thank-you to all my team and sponsors, and we will look forward to Round 2 at Brands Hatch."


Team ILR can announce that team owner-manager Ian Lougher will compete at the 2018 Isle of Man TT races.

The 10-times TT winner will renew links with TEAM MIRAI when he spearheads their entry in the SES TT Zero race on Wednesday, June 6th. 

Lougher last rode for the Japanese outfit in 2013.
In extremely difficult circumstances, he took over the reigns of the Komatti-Mirai bike from his good friend Yoshinari Matsushita who tragically lost his life in a practice crash at Ballacrye.

The vastly experienced Welshman brought the bike home for a top six finish, in what was an emotionally charged, professional performance, 

TEAM MIRAI is an ambitious, friendly, private business that has a mission to 'contribute to society by developing vehicles that do not emit the next generation of carbon dioxide.' 
The company C/O Mr. Yoshihiro Kishimoto decided to try the TT again in 2018 with his new EV bike which brings to the table a very small machine, but with aggressive power using a NSF250 chassis.

Mr. Kishimoto himself competed in Pikes Peak in the USA, and he also competed at the Cemetery circuit in New Zealand among engine machines in 2017 finishing with two very respectable 5th and 6th places. 

It will again be a busy fortnight for Lougher as he will oversee the challenge of the team's young gun Joey Thompson who will be competing in his second TT races.

Team ILR owner-manager Ian Lougher:  
"I'm quite intrigued and looking forward to riding Kishimoto san's electric bike at the TT again, although this bike is a totally new machine from 2013.
I was lucky to be able to test the machine while I was in Japan recently, it was not an ideal test as it was only one degree above freezing but it was still good to get a general feel of it.
It's very small as it's based around a Moto 3 Honda chassis, which is great for me as I have plenty of experience riding one of those, so I'll get tucked in and see how we get on."

TEAM MIRAI owner-manager Mr. Yoshihiro Kishimoto:
"I am extremely pleased that my team is planning to come back to TT  Zero for the first time in five years.
At our last participation in TT  Zero in 2013 during our final preparation for the machine "TT Zero 13", we heard the news of Yoshinari Matsushita's accident while we were in London.
Our team had to face the heaviest difficult decision after our rider died during practice for the Isle of Man TT.
But Ian Lougher who was a close friend of Yoshinari decided to ride for him and he finished the race well.
This year, I am very proud that Ian and our team can come together again for the TT  Zero race.
Of course, Yoshinari will also participate together in our minds.
We are just a small independent team from Japan, please support us and our rider Ian Lougher.
Thank you." 

                               TEAM MIRAI website link: http://ev-mirai.com


Joey Thompson will have a factory S1-R Paton at his disposal at the Isle of Man TT, as well as the big international meetings at Scarborough, the North-West 200, Southern 100 and the Ulster Grand Prix in 2018. 
The young rising star will ride the Supertwin machine in the Lightweight TT and he will add his name to a list containing names such as Mike Hailwood, Roberto Gallina and Virginio Ferrari who have ridden the iconic Paton in the past. 

Joey had a very impressive pure roads debut in 2017 and he will arrive next year with more experience and circuit know-how, and the rider from Yorkshire is fully aware of what it takes to become a serious roads campaigner thanks to having Team ILR owner-manager Ian Lougher, himself no stranger to the Paton name, in his corner. 

Paton returned to the TT in an official capacity in 2014 to challenge the dominance of the ER-6 Kawasaki, with Olie Linsdell finishing an excellent sixth in the Lightweight TT. 

The following year, Paton Motorcycles turned to Lougher to oversee their Lightweight effort in the hands of Michael Rutter, under the banner Paton/Team ILR. 
Rutter and the team produced a superb display to put Paton on the podium in third, a result that absolutely delighted the Italian manufacturer, and who's to say that Joey Thompson won't grace the podium next June. 

Team ILR owner-manager Ian Lougher
"I am so pleased that we are in a position to offer Joey a potential race winning package for the Lightweight TT class, thanks must go out to the people who have made this possible for us, Mark Coverdale and Solway Slate and Tile

The Paton name is an iconic name in motorcycle racing, and Team ILR look forward to renewing our ties with the Paton factory. 

Joey is certainly not under any pressure from anybody to perform, as our ethos from a team perspective is 'a happy rider is a fast rider', so roll on 2018. 
Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to everybody from Team ILR." 

Joey Thompson
''Well what can I say, I am on a proven winning bike with a winning mentor... no excuses now! 
Seriously though I am so happy to be riding the Paton at Team ILR next season, as seeing the bike perform at the TT this year it was outstanding and to be given the opportunity to race the bike at all the international road races it gives me the opportunity to prove myself. 
It won't be easy though, it's a completely new bike for me as it will be completely different to the Trickbits Racing Suzuki twin I have previously rode and won on. 
So to be honest I have a lot of confidence on a super twin machine so let's get 2018 underway and see what me and the team can do. 
Once again thanks to everyone for this opportunity as without all the support from Thompson's, Team ILR and all my personal and team sponsors this wouldn't be possible.'' 
#TeamJoey #74


Team ILR's domestic championship season ended recently when the British Superbike series rolled into Brands Hatch for the final rounds of the 2017 season. 

The team again had three riders in action, with Sam Laffins competing in the KTM 390 RC British Junior Cup, and Joey Thompson joined in the two British Supersport Championship races by Robert Kennedy who was returning to the fold after his Superstock 600 crash at Oulton Park. 

Thompson would go on to register two solid Top 15 places on the more popular and longer GP circuit, with the second race being a bit more straightforward compared to the first where he was involved in a great dice with Tommy Philip. For Kennedy however, it was a weekend he will want to put well and truly behind him. 

He struggled throughout due to problems with his own privately run Yamaha R6, and as such practice and qualifying as well as Race 1 were non-events. Robert did however register a result in Race 2 when he led a chasing pack of 5 riders over the line to finish 23rd. 

Meanwhile, still justifiably buoyed by his selection for the 2018 British Talent Cup, Sam Laffins was going about his business in the KTM 390 RC British Junior Cup. 
Sam went into free practice not knowing what to expect as this was another new track for him. 
Nevertheless, he was really looking forward to the challenge ahead and set the 3rd quickest lap on the last lap of the session! 

Heading into qualifying Laffins was feeling confident and had provided some good feedback, which allowed team owner/manager Ian Lougher to make some set-up adjustment to the bike, making Sam more confident and comfortable. 

It certainly did the trick as the young Dromara rider qualified in 4th, having held the 3rd fastest lap right up until the last lap. 

However, a jump start in the first race meant he had to take a ride through penalty. 
Sam decided to take this penalty on the second lap whilst in 4th place, and he was back in last place coming out of the pits and had to make up 20 seconds to the last place rider. 
Laffins was pushing hard and after 4 laps he was up to 17th and eventually finished in a spirited 16th place. 
He did however post the 8th fastest lap time which meant he started from 8th on the grid for the second race. 

A bad start meant he was still in 8th into the first corner, but Sam knew he could make up places in Turn 2. 

At the end of the opening lap he was up to 4th place and was again pushing hard. Going on to the last lap he was 5th and approaching Clearways he made a pass and went from 5th to 3rd in one corner, but in doing so he lost the momentum and drive onto the straight and was just pushed off the last podium position by 0.1 of a second. 
Sam and the team were very pleased with his performance and were feeling really good afterward. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"Robert was so unfortunate to have a faulty ecu on his Yamaha, as it has never given any problem before, and to only get 5 laps in the morning warm-up before race two was so hard for him, but better than nothing. 
Joey was visiting the BSB scene for only the fourth time in 2017 but acted like he'd been at every meeting. 
He once again bettered his personal best lap time by over 1.7 seconds to qualify him well and came away with two 13th place finishes using an engine that was built for the road races with all top end power. 
For young Sam he rode brilliantly, especially in race two where he only got passed right on the finish line and was denied a rostrum spot in 2017, which summed up his season. 
But in my opinion it won't be long before the Dromara lad is climbing onto it very soon." 

Sam Laffins
"As it was the last round of the BSB championship, I would like to say a massive thank-you to Ian and Asa for the hospitality. 
Without Ian's knowledge and experience, this year wouldn't have gone as well as it has, I would also like to say a massive thank-you to all my personal sponsors for making this happen, it definitely would not have been possible without you all. 
I have enjoyed every minute of this year..... Roll on 2018." 

Joey Thompson
"Brands was a really strong season finisher for us with 2 races within the points. 
We found a great set up with the ZX6 but just lacked a bit of power as we were using our TT engines. 
But all in all, I was really happy with mine and the team's performance and can't wait for next season. 
Thanks to everyone that made this season possible because without you I wouldn't be where I am! 
See you in 2018." 

Robert Kennedy
"Tough weekend for me at Brands Hatch for the final British Championship round. 
I decided to ride in Supersport on my own bike, but after 1st practice I had blown an ecu. 
The team and I worked hard to try and get back out for Saturday but a new ecu was required. 
Got to say a big thank you to my Dad and Willy for having to go and driving a couple of hours just to get a new ecu. 
Big thanks to Midland Caliper for getting someone to lift the ecu and meet my Dad. 
We got the bike going and got out in morning warm-up on Sunday. 
I completed 5 laps and was allowed to join the race at the back of the grid. 
With no set up we started in 32nd and ended up in 17th, obviously I wasn't pleased and felt like pulling in during the race as the bike wasn't nice to ride, but we have since found a problem with the suspension. 
Just want to thank everyone for all their support and help this season. 
Especially Team ILR, Team Sandown and all my sponsors. 
Big thanks to my family as well, as I wouldn't be able to do it without them."


Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher added to his record tally of Oliver's Mount wins at the weekend when he came away from the Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup meeting with two wins in both Ultra-Lightweight races, however the weekend was marred by two serious incidents on Sunday which resulted in the rest of the meeting being abandoned. 

The road racing legend was joined at the North Yorkshire pure roads circuit by his young protege and rising star Joey Thompson, who earlier in the week had made the surprise decision to race at the event despite only being released from hospital on Tuesday following his big crash at Oulton Park last Sunday. 

Joey had another crash in qualifying on Saturday and a retirement from the Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight race when dicing for the lead did nothing for his healing process and seemed to have put paid to his chances of winning the Lightweight 250cc Championship. 

However a retirement from Sunday's second race by nearest challenger Alistair Haworth handed Joey the title without him turning another wheel. 

Ian Lougher meanwhile has seen it all before and he rode steady in both the Stu Reed/Phil Mellor Trophy races to finish 3rd and 2nd overall respectively in both races to be first rider home by a comfortable margin in the Ultra-Lightweight class and take his Oliver's Mount race win tally to an incredible 140.

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"With Joey now getting the nickname 'the yorkie bar kid' coming back from his massive crash at Oulton Park just 5 days before where his bike was written off, and only being able to walk properly on Wednesday, it was a case of seeing if he would be able to ride at all at the Gold Cup meeting. 
Things didn't get off to a great start either when on Saturday he ran wide at Memorial and crashed his dad's 250 Yamaha in qualifying, (he only needed 2 points to clinch the Auto 66 Junior Championship!!!!) once that was repaired the bike seized a piston in the race putting him out of the race. 
Joey showed his maturity and resilience though to bounce back with fine 5th place finishes on the 600, and equalled his best ever lap around Oliver's Mount. 
This kid is quite remarkable. 
It was a very difficult and trying time for the Auto 66 club over the weekend. 
The marshals deserve a medal for the job they do, so from all at Team ILR our best wishes go out to everyone who was involved in any incidents at the Scarborough Gold Cup meeting." 

Joey Thompson
"The Gold Cup was a tough one for me and the team but especially with my fitness after just being released from hospital 3 days before. 
I struggled with another crash on the 250 which meant the 250 had to be in the van for the weekend. 
I had 3 5th places on the Thompson's / ILR Supersport bike and also on the Paul Jinks Trickbits Suzuki SV650 which was great. I also managed to wrap up the Lightweight championship while sat watching the race. 
Once again I would like to thank everyone for giving me this opportunity, my dad, Team ILR, Trickbits and all my personal sponsors and supporters. 
It's a shame we couldn't end the season on a high after such a great season, but we will make our strong return in 2018!!! 
Peace out! #74."


It was very much a weekend to forget for Team ILR at Oulton Park. On Friday the team had three riders in action, and by Sunday afternoon all three were injured in crashes, two of which threatened to be potentially season-ending. Alongside regulars Robert Kennedy (Pirelli National Superstock 600) and Sam Laffins (KTM 390 RC British Junior Cup), the team welcomed back Joey Thompson who returned to the British Supersport grid after making a name for himself on the 'pure road' circuits this season, under the guidance of team boss Ian Lougher

British Supersport Championship 
A week ahead of the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup meeting at Oliver's Mount, Joey decided at the eleventh hour to compete at Oulton, and it's a decision he would later come to regret. 
He eased himself back into the highly competitive class by improving by almost two seconds to qualify in 15th position, and in a damp Race 1, he acquitted himself well to finish twelfth after a battle in the latter stages of the race with Ross Twyman. 
He was also fifth fastest through two of the speed traps. 

Joey moved up three places on the grid for Race 2 on Sunday, and was soon in the mix with three other riders and running in the Top 10. 
In really tricky conditions, he had moved up to 7th place on the last lap when he fell heavily and injured his lower back in the process which resulted in a 48-hour stay in hospital, and further medical tests to ascertain the extent of the damage. 

KTM 390 RC British Junior Cup 
Young Dromara rider Sam Laffins didn't fare much better than his team-mates at Oulton. 
His weekend started positively enough with a solid 6th place in Free Practice, but on the second lap of qualifying Sam crashed out but still managed to post the 10th quickest time. 
He started the first of the weekend's three races from 15th on the grid, a position determined from the grid from the cancelled second race at Silverstone the previous week. 
Sam never got beyond the first lap as he crashed after getting a good start. 
Going into Shell Oils corner, he was involved in an accident which resulted in him going down with another rider. 
Despite being in a lot of pain, young Laffins bounced back to finish a fine 8th in Race 2 after becoming involved in a terrific six rider scrap for 5th place. 
Unfortunately, the two crashes and the effort in Race 2 had taken their toll though, and the sensible decision was taken by Ian, Sam and his dad Sammy to refrain from any further participation. 

Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship 
Team Sandown's Robert Kennedy arrived at Oulton Park carrying great momentum from the previous two rounds but unfortunately for the Dundrod rider, his weekend got no further than the ninth lap of Friday's first Free Practice session when he went down heavily on his shoulder sustaining an injury which ruled him out of the rest of the weekend. 

So, both a weekend to forget, and also one to remember for all the wrong reasons. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"Going into Oulton Park both Robert and Sam were really looking to make their mark on things as both were going so well recently. 
This weekend they were to be joined in the awning by a returning Joey Thompson in the Supersport 600 Championship races. 
To say we are all devastated at Team ILR is an understatement. 
RK high-siding in the opening Free Practice 1 session in the wet and injuring his left shoulder after such a great result at Silverstone, is such a massive shame as the bike, suspension wise, engine wise and Robert were all gelling brilliantly. 
Sam injured his wrist in both his crashes so had to withdraw from the last race due to the pain in his wrist, despite getting an 8th in Race 2 while clearly hurting. 
Joey has had a fantastic year on the so-called "dangerous road circuits" so far this year, so to end up with, at this moment in time, unknown back injuries from a "safe short circuit" meeting, is very ironic. 
Until this point, the young Yorkshire man had impressed immensely at Oulton and bettered his personal dry lap times by a fantastic 2 seconds a lap. 
So with only two corners to go of the entire weekend and to finish on the floor with such injuries is very sad and frustrating for everyone involved. 
The whole team all wish Joey, RK and Sam a speedy recovery." 

Joey Thompson
"Oulton Park wasn't the best of weekends for me and the team. 
I started off great getting lots of confidence on the Kawasaki and setting my PB lap time in Qualifying and also getting my best position in the sprint race. 
Unfortunately Sunday wasn't my day. 
After getting a good start and running in 7th place on the last lap I suffered a big high side, (the worst of my career) I landed on my back and did quite a lot of damage and had to spend 3 days in Stoke Hospital. 
I have now had great physio and I'm back hobbling around. 
A lot may disagree with my decision, but I have decided to race at the Gold Cup 2017. 
It is my home race and is the highlight of my road racing season, it will not be easy and I don't expect to win any races. 
I just want to prove to myself and a lot of other people that I'm not here to make the numbers up, and also that with the right mindset and people behind you anything is possible. 
With my dad, my sponsors, Paul Jinks, and everyone at Team ILR, I have had such a strong road racing season this year, and I can't leave on a low. 
Thanks for all the support and messages." 

Robert Kennedy
"Due to an incident in FP1, I sustained an injury to my shoulder which declared me unfit to ride any further at the weekend. 
There is nothing broken but I am totally gutted and very disappointed for all at Team Sandown and Team ILR and also my family, friends, and sponsors who made the trip over. 
Thanks to everyone for their well-wishes, and hopefully I can get sorted and get back for Brands Hatch for the final round." 

Sam Laffins
"Oulton Park was a hard weekend for me. 
I was confident going into qualifying with my dry set-up prepared by Ian, and I knew I had good pace from free practice. 
But suddenly the rain came on and, despite not having time to change my set-up, I was still feeling comfortable and pushing in the wet conditions. 
Then due to the weather and track conditions, I crashed out at Turn 1 after putting in the 4th fastest lap of the session and then when the session had finished I was sitting in 10th place for Race 2. 
I was sore after again crashing in Race 1. 
I was immediately taken to the circuit medical center and the doctors x-rayed my wrist and luckily nothing was broken just very badly sprained. So after taking a medical exam to see if I was fit to race, I was passed by the paramedics for Race 2. 
I am slowly recovering and will be well and fit for Brands Hatch. 
I would like to say a big thank-you to Matt, Jacko, Nigel, and my dad for preparing the bike for race two in such a short time period. 
I couldn't have done it without you all."


Silverstone was the latest stop in Team ILR's busy season, with Robert Kennedy (Pirelli National Superstock 600) and Sam Laffins (KTM 390 RC British Junior Cup) in action at the weekend. 

Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship. 
For Team Sandown's Robert Kennedy, Silverstone was once again unfamiliar territory, but the Dundrod rider has proven in visits to other new circuits this season that he is a quick learner and the Northamptonshire track was no exception with Robert 5th and 12th in both wet Free Practice sessions. Thankfully qualifying was drier and Robert was well on the pace to finish 7th. 

From the third row in Sunday's race, Robert was soon up to 5th and by half distance he had climbed to 3rd and the battle for the last podium place was well and truly on between Kennedy, Ryan Vickers and Brad Jones. 
It was a dice that went all the way to the line with Vickers moving clear in the closing laps to claim third. 
Behind him, Robert and Brad were having a real scrap with Robert setting the second fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap. 

Carrying great momentum into the last lap, Kennedy snatched fourth by the slimmest of margins to claim a brilliant result for himself and the team. 

KTM 390 RC British Junior Cup 
Silverstone was also a new circuit for recently selected British Talent Cup young gun Sam Laffins, but after doing a few laps on his bicycle and going over track maps with Ian Lougher, he was feeling confident with the layout of the circuit. 
With his bike shod with standard road tyres (as laid down by the rules!) Sam fell victim to the conditions in a very wet practice session when he highsided at Luffield. 
The team then worked really hard to have his bike ready for qualifying. 
Undaunted, the young rider showed great resilience to bounce back to lead most of the qualifying session and eventually finish in 7th for the first of the weekend's scheduled two races. 

With rain again falling for Race 1, Sam was wisely advised by his mentor Ian Lougher to ride steady and bring it home safely and this he did to finish in 12th and well out of any trouble. 
Atrocious conditions unfortunately caused the cancellation of the second race on Sunday, It was irrelevant anyway as Team boss Lougher was reluctant to put the young Dromara rider on the grid in what was a sensible, experienced decision. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"Once again Robert and Sam were both newcomers to the latest Bsb round, this time at Silverstone. 
They had starkly different weekends. 
RK coming away with a brilliant 4th place finish and Sam unlucky to get his race in horrible wet conditions coming home in a distant 12th place. 
It was quite impressive how fast Robert learned the 3.9 mile track, starting out in free practice in 5th position and then onto qualifying in 7th. 
We worked hard over the whole weekend to find a good suspension setting to give him a good feel, and even went into the race with a last minute change of rear spring. 
He set the 2nd fastest lap of the race and missed his first rostrum in BSB by just two seconds, but the whole team feels it won't be long before he gets on there very soon. 

In Sam's KTM Cup series, riders aren't allowed the privilege of wet tyres, and on a track where even the most experienced riders on wet tyres in all the other classes could barely stay on two wheels, the 13-18 year olds are expected to race on basic hard road tyres...quite amazing and quite disgusting. 
Hence Sam crashed out in qualifying and just brought it home in Race One in one piece. 
For Race 2 I advised his dad to not let him go out as it was too dangerous, but then the organisers postponed it until Oulton Park in a week's time, which was a good call as there were only 7 superbike riders still upright after their race...phew!!!" 

Robert Kennedy
"Heading into Silverstone I was looking forward to racing at the circuit but it was another new track for me to learn so again, I didn't know what to expect. 
After free practice, I was getting on with the track ok. Ian and I and the team worked really hard over the weekend to qualify the bike in P7 on the grid for Sunday's race. 
I was happy with this especially as it was my first dry run on the track after practice was wet. 
We were still making changes going into the race but with the experience and knowledge Ian has, we knew these changes would be for the better and we were able to finish in 4th which equals my best result of the year. 
I was pleased with this result. 
I would like to thank everyone at Team ILR, Team Sandown for putting a brilliant bike underneath me, and all my family and friends for the support this weekend. 
Also to all my sponsors, I couldn't do this without them." 

Sam Laffins
"I wasn't feeling very confident because of my off in the wet during free practice, but was able to bring it home in 12th position in the first race. 
I and many other KTM riders had complained that the track conditions were too bad for the riders. 
I was looking forward to Race 2 because it had given great weather conditions and although I was starting in 15th position I was feeling confident because of the track conditions, and I was willing to push to my limits to improve my result from Race One. 
But unfortunately yet again the rain had made the track conditions unrideable so race direction made the right decision not to run the race and it was postponed to the next round which will be Oulton Park. 
I would like to thank Ian and my dad for repairing and preparing the bike and for putting their 100% into it for me and roll on Oulton Park this weekend."

Team ILR's ten times Isle of Man TT winner Ian Lougher's Classic TT could be described in footballing terms as 'a game of two halves' with the disappointment of his retirement in the Senior race made up for with a fine second place ride in the Lightweight Classic TT. 

As in 2016, Ian again teamed up with LayLaw Racing's Eddie Laycock and Gerry Lawlor to ride their TZ 250 Yamaha in the Lightweight Classic TT. In the Senior Classic event, Ian was entrusted to again compete on the iconic MV Agusta owned by John Chapman. 

Ian arrived on the Isle of Man straight from overseeing Team ILR's efforts at the British Superbike round at Cadwell Park and soon re-acquainted himself with the 250 Yamaha at a test session at Jurby. 
With the cancellation of Monday evening's practice session, he wasted no time laying down the first marker of the week in the Lightweight class by topping the leaderboard with a very respectable lap of 113.99 mph with Bruce Anstey second at 113.01mph. 

On Wednesday Ian again headed to Jurby for his first run on the MV and Wednesday evening saw him register his first lap on the iconic bike, and he took things steady to finish 11th quickest whilst continuing to be among the pacesetters in the Lightweight class. 

The following evening Ian was second quickest in the Lightweight, and he also broke the 100mph mark on the Italian machine to lap at 101.67mph to finish 8th quickest in the Senior. 
Unfortunately, the weather intervened on Friday evening to bring about a cancellation of the practice session with only the Superbike and Lightweight classes running, which meant that Lougher only had four laps of practice on the MV Agusta during the week. 

Both Ian's races took place the following day and, after a short delay due to an oil spill, racing got underway with the Welshman carrying the illustrious but not exactly ideal Number 1 plate, getting proceedings underway in the Senior Classic TT. 
Unfortunately, it was to be a short lived race as Ian was soon reported as a retirement at Greeba Bridge. 

Lougher then dusted himself down from this disappointment to take part in the Lightweight Classic TT in the afternoon. 
Again first away, he settled into a steady rhythm and rode his own race as Bruce Anstey set a blistering pace to lead the race. 
As they pitted at the end of the second of four laps, Ian was riding well and was lying fourth just 8 seconds behind third placed Michael Rutter. On Lap 3 Daniel Sayle retired from second as Rutter and Lougher now battled for second with 13 seconds splitting the two. But by Ballaugh on the last lap, the deficit was down to 8 seconds as back markers came into play for both riders. 

Over Ian's favourite Mountain section the gap to Rutter was halved, but he couldn't quite get there to finish the race with just 2.36 seconds separating the two. 

However, it didn't end there as the post-race technical inspection revealed an irregularity, with Michael's Ducati having an oversize fuel tank and therefore eliminating him from the race and elevating Lougher to second place to repeat last year's result for the Laylaw Racing team. 

Ian Lougher
"Well the Classic TT is over once again, and what a great festival it is too, everybody enjoying it more and more each time. 
For me, it was great in some ways and a little frustrating in others. 
It puts a bit more pressure on you when you go off at number one too, but I've done it before and can handle it ok, except it's a little more difficult when you have Bruce starting right behind you on such a quick bike. 
Congratulations to Bruce on being the first person to do a 120mph lap on a 250, although I did say long ago it was possible if everything clicked on the day. 
On my Laylaw Racing Yamaha, Eddie and Gerry and all the guys worked hard to give me a great bike, but I do feel we missed something in getting the best out of the bike on the day. 
Two strokes are difficult in getting the right compromise between speed and reliability, but we'll bounce back next year with some trick bits of our own to surprise a few people. 
On John Chapman's MV500 we managed 4 laps in practice, Arran, John, Carl and the guys had worked wonders on lots of aspects on the bike, so I felt really comfortable and confident on the bike going into the race and looking forward to a rostrum finish. 
But it wasn't to be as I think it dropped a valve as I approached Greeba on the first lap...so disappointing for everybody involved. 
I would have loved to have given John Chapman a really decent finish as he has put so much work and effort into this project, but we'll have to wait for another year at least now. 
From Asa and myself, I want to thank both the Laylaw Racing and John Chapman camps for all their hard work and enthusiasm, and look forward to working together again soon." 


Team ILR had two riders in action as the British Superbike Championship visited Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire at the weekend, with circuit newcomers Sam Laffins back in the Santander Consumer Finance KTM RC 390 British Junior Cup, and Robert Kennedy competing in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship. 

Santander Consumer Finance KTM 390 RC British Junior Cup With only a few days until he took part in the British Talent Cup selection event at Silverstone, Sam Laffins could have been forgiven for 'taking things easy', but this wasn't the case as he arrived at the nicknamed 'mini-Nurburgring' determined to show just why he has been selected for such a prestigious opportunity this week. 
His weekend got off to a less than ideal start though when he was shunted off the track by another rider on his practice session out-lap and lost the front end when he had to take to the grass. 
This meant that his very first laps of Cadwell Park would be in qualifying! 

Undaunted Sam went out and duly qualified a brilliant sixth quickest and was in the top 6 though both speed traps. At the end of the opening lap of Race 1 on Saturday, Laffins had dropped two places but was very much in the hunt for sixth as the top five riders began to pull away in front. 

At the halfway stage Sam had made sixth place his own and had his sights set on fifth place rider Connor Thomson who was half a second in front. Sam claimed fifth on the fifth lap and next on the radar was fourth in the championship Matthew Bower who he caught and passed on the next lap after setting what would be the 4th fastest lap of the race. 
With two laps to go Laffins was holding on to 4th place, but Bower wasn't quite finished and the two had a real scrap over the next two laps which went all the way to the finish with Matthew just getting the nod by the smallest of margins. 

For Sunday morning's warm-up team boss Ian Lougher made some changes to the bike after feedback from Sam, and he immediately felt the benefit and finished in 3rd place and feeling confident.  His great ride the previous day had put him two places up the grid to head the second row for Race 2 which would again see him in a tussle with Bower and Thomson. 
This time though Laffins got the measure of his Race 1 rival to take a superb fourth place from Bower in fifth, and he set the fifth best lap of the race on his last lap. 
Sam was also third quickest through the finish line speed trap, and was in the top six through all three sectors to complete a very satisfactory weekend's work. 

Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship 
Team Sandown's Robert Kennedy has got his season back on track in recent rounds, and he maintained this momentum with an excellent performance at Cadwell. 
Practice and qualifying were held in tricky conditions with rain appearing midway through the second practice session and at the start of qualifying. 
Despite this, the team worked professionally to ensure Robert had the best set-up possible and, with the qualifying session virtually completed, he put in his best lap to finish an excellent 8th quickest, and he was also third fastest through both speed traps. 

From the third row of the grid, Kennedy got a good start and soon found himself in a safe sixth, which by the seventh lap was still looking very secure. However, on the 10th of 11 laps he was coming under real pressure from Dan Stamper and Bradley Pirie, and as they went on to the last lap the battle for sixth was very much on with only 0.4s covering the three. 

But Robert is riding with renewed confidence and he kept his nerve and rode brilliantly to fend off the challenge and hold on to sixth place. 
He also set the 4th fastest lap of the race which was only 0.314 seconds outside the new lap record to round off a very pleasing weekend for the Dundrod rider who now sits tenth in the championship. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"It's fair to say that I'm so impressed with both RK and Sam for their efforts over the weekend. 
Cadwell Park is such a difficult and strength-sapping circuit, it's hard to describe how much of an obstacle it is until you have ridden it. 
They were both first timers at the place, but worked hard and got to grips with it so quickly, it's unreal how fast learners they both are. 
Sam was unlucky not to get 4th in his first race, getting out dragged to the line by 0.024 of a second, but made up for it in race two and out paced his two nearest rivals on the last lap to claim 4th in that one. 
RK was unsure if he even liked the place after his first practice, but qualified 8th to go on and have an amazing race to bring it home in a fine 6th position." 

Sam Laffins
"Right from the beginning this has been a very challenging, but also a very rewarding meeting and arriving on the back of a recovery truck wasn't the best start, but I was looking forward to getting to grips with the challenging Cadwell track regardless. 
I enjoyed the track and quickly got to grips with it, enjoying the undulations of the back and the technical nature of the mountain section. 
After a few laps, I started to really feel confident and began to push for a good time. 
When up to speed I felt a few slides from the front and knew I could make some improvements. 
I felt very happy with my progression throughout the weekend with all the problems we had, I'd like to thank Ian Lougher and Asa from Team ILR for their support and input, and indeed all my personal sponsors, friends and family for making this happen. 
Now on to Silverstone for the British Talent Cup trials, where I hope to keep the momentum going and give a good performance." 

Robert Kennedy
"I didn't know what to expect going into this weekend, as I had never been to Cadwell Park before! 
After FP1 I wasn't overly enjoying the track, but thanks to the hard work from Ian, Willy and my dad we made great progress as the weekend went on. 
I was over the moon with my qualifying place which has been a struggle for me this year. 
In the race itself, I made a great start and tried to go with the leading bunch, but to be honest I didn't have the track knowledge to stay with them, but I'm over the moon with 6th place. 
Just want to thank all at Team ILR and Team Sandown for all their hard work, all my sponsors for making this happen every weekend, and all my family and friends." 

The next round of both championships take place at Silverstone in three weeks time. 
In the meantime, Sam Laffins is at Silverstone for the British Talent Cup event, and Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher is back on the Isle of Man where he will take part in the Classic TT races.


Team ILR's Dundrod newcomer Joey Thompson has already claimed his first win on the famous circuit when he romped to victory in the Dundrod 150 National race on Thursday. 

The race was red flagged after the leaders had crossed the line at the end of the third lap with Thompson holding a 6-second lead and pulling away with every turn of the wheels. Quickest in practice, Thompson dominated from the off on the Team ILR Kawasaki ZX-6 and he stamped his authority on the scheduled five-lap race leading from start to finish. 

As the lights signaled the start of the race, the 19 year old showed absolutely no nerves as he quickly powered to a lead of over two seconds from Davey Todd as Jonathan Perry, Rob Hodson and Josh Daley battled for third, some four seconds in arrears. 

At the front there was no stopping Joey and he wasn't going to be denied as he continued to carve out a now secure race winning advantage on the second lap of just over three seconds with the fastest lap of the race over Todd with British Supersport runner Daley third. 

As they finished their third lap Thompson had doubled his lead to over six seconds with Perry now ahead of Daley for third. The race was then red-flagged shortly afterward due to an incident at Joey's Windmill with the result going back a lap to give Joey his maiden race win at Dundrod. 

So Thompson went into his first Ulster Grand Prix two days later in a confident mood, and his second outing of the day saw him podium Adrian Nettleship's 125 Honda when he scored a brilliant third place in the Ultra-Lightweight race. 

With a best lap some 14 seconds quicker than his qualifying mark, Joey rode a sensible race to come home over 13 seconds clear of another rising star Adam McLean. 

If Thompson's ride on the small bike was impressive, his performance in the first Supersport encounter was no less so, as he came from 20th on the grid to brilliantly hold off the challenge of James Cowton, Ivan Lintin and Christian Elkin and bring the ZX-6 home in 12th place after a terrific race between the four. 

The second Supersport race saw Joey involved in an exciting scrap for fifth with a seven rider group including, Elkin, Coward, Cowton, Todd and Paul Jordan. 
Joint quickest through the Flying Kilo speed trap at 176.3mph, unfortunately on the last lap he hit a false neutral at Leathemstown and had to take to the grass. 
He recovered but lost 10 seconds and dropped to 10th, but his performances had deservedly clinched him the meeting's Best Newcomer Award. 
It's the second time in two years that Team ILR has achieved this, with Horst Saiger picking up the Best Newcomer Award at the 2015 event. 

The 2017 'Ulster' was a successful one for the team, and yet another meeting where Joey Thompson made a real name for himself and where everyone at Team ILR again worked so hard for him. 

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Jamie Hodson who sadly lost his life on Thursday and we wish a speedy recovery to the riders who were injured. 

The busy season continues this weekend with the next round of the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship at Cadwell Park with Robert Kennedy in action, and where Sam Laffins makes a welcome return in the KTM RC390 British Junior Cup. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"The Ulster GP is not an easy place to learn, with so many blind corners at such high speed, that's what made the circuit my favourite as it's a real challenge. 
So for 19 yr old Joey to leave Dundrod after his first visit having bagged some top results and lap times, which will have shamed some of his rivals, not to mention best newcomer in every race he entered is nothing short of mind blowing. 
It's a shame he got a false neutral on the last lap of Supersport Race 2 as a top five place was definitely on the cards. 
People kept asking me if I miss racing at Dundrod, my answer was...of course I do, but the next best thing is working with a young talented rider like Joey Thompson, who listens and wants to learn and progress, which is so very satisfying for me." 

Joey Thompson
"Ulster GP, where do we start... being a newcomer to the circuit I did not expect the performances I pulled off, getting to grips with the Dundrod circuit so quickly was a surprise but with the help from Ian's knowledge it made it a lot easier. 
Winning Race 1 was ideal as it set me up with confidence for the rest of the week, the 600 ran perfect with no issues and the Nettleship Honda RS125 was singing and we managed to qualify front row then get a podium after a hard race against Moto3s. 
It has been a very successful week and I enjoyed every minute of it, being the fastest ever 600cc newcomer topped it all off nicely. 
Thanks to my dad, Team ILR and all my sponsors and fans for a great time!"




Next Event
Oulton Park 
May 5-7 
British Superbikes

Joey Thompson 
Robert Kennedy 
British Supersport Championship 
Sam Laffins

British Motostar Championship

''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
2018 Season
BSB Championships Round 2: Brands Hatch (Indy)
BSB Championships Round 1: Donington Park 
2017 Season
BSB Championships: Silverstone
Classic TT: Isle of Man
BSB Championships: Cadwell Park
Dundrod 150/Ulster GP
BSB Championships: Thruxton
BSB Championships: Brands Hatch GP

Southern 100: Billown
Cock O' the North Road Races: Oliver's Mount
BSB Championships: Knockhill
Post TT Races: Billown
Isle of Man TT
North-West 200

BSB Championships Round 3:
 Oulton Park
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