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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%. 

Ian Lougher

"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!" 

Connall Courtney

"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." 

Carl Phillips

"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." 

Connall Courtney

"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." 

Nadieh Schoots

“I lost strength very quickly during the race and I'm just happy to have finished.  

A big thank-you to my team.


Phillips back at the sharp end

It was something of a bittersweet weekend for Sandown Racing's Carl Phillips in the latest round of the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship at Oulton Park. 

Thanks to a lot of hard work by Carl and his team, with a lot of input and assistance from Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher, the weekend brought an end to the awful run of handling problems in recent rounds which resulted in Carl losing his place at the top of the standings. 

However another win for Jordan Weaving has extended his championship lead to 16 points, with Phillips currently second. 

Free practice and Qualifying 1 took place in cold, overcast conditions with Phillips third quickest, and in the second session Carl went one better to qualify the ZX-6R on the front row of the grid in 2nd place, a performance that did his confidence the world of good. 

Carl must have thought his run of bad luck had returned on race day as he got a terrible start which relegated him to 8th place at the end of the opening lap, but showing great maturity he didn't panic and quickly settled into a good race rhythm which brought him the third fastest lap of the race. 

With a lap to go he was pushing for a podium place with Lewis Rollo, but wisely decided to play it safe and bring the Kawasaki home in fourth. 

Ian Lougher

"Carl had a very respectable Oulton after he worked hard on machine set up, and we tried something new for the race which worked really well. 

But after a terrible start he found himself in 8th on the first lap after qualifying 2nd, but rode hard setting the 3rd best lap of the race and eventually finishing 4th. 

Unfortunately his main rival in the series Jordan Weaving is on a roll. 

It's only a few days now until we set up at Donington Park for the next round, so it's onwards and upwards." 

Carl Phillips

"Finished fourth, could have went for third, but didn't want to get tangled with Lewis, who was riding very well. 

So I settled for the points to keep my championship hopes alive. 

Jordan Weaving looks as if he's on rails at the moment so I'm going to need the luck of the Irish to pull this off. 

Next weekend it's Donington, a circuit I like, so let's hope Team #32 can push at the front again. 

Big thank-you to all my sponsors, to my pit crew, to Lizzie, and to Ian Lougher and all at Team ILR." 

The next round takes place this weekend at Donington Park, and with Oulton Park seeing Carl back to the sort of form that saw him dominate the earlier rounds, it's still very much 'game on' as the championship enters the business end of the season.


Ian Lougher's Classic TT 2016

Ten times Isle of Man TT winner Ian Lougher returned to the Classic TT for a two pronged challenge at this year's event. 
At his disposal was an iconic MV Agusta owned by John Chapman for the Senior Classic TT, which was manufactured by HRT’s Ezio and Maurizio Mascheroni and Enrico Sironi, and was virtually an exact replica of the GP 500 MV Agusta's that Giacomo Agostini rode in the early 1970's in what was then the 500cc world championship. 
Also in the Lougher stable was the LayLaw Racing TZ250 Yamaha of Eddie Laycock and Gerry Lawlor which Ian would campaign in the Lightweight Classic TT, LayLaw Racing of course being the same team Ian rode for in last year's Formula 2 Classic TT. 

The week started well with the two times Classic TT winner concentrating his efforts on the Yamaha in Monday night's practice session in which he set the early benchmark with a lap speed of 113.363 mph, with one of his main rivals and pre-race favourites Bruce Anstey retiring his RS 250 Honda at Kirk Michael on the opening lap. 
The following evening's session again saw Lougher to the fore as he continued to top the Lightweight leaderboard with a lap of 13.893 mph. 

However, his progress on the TZ250 Yamaha proved to be in stark contrast to his fortunes on the MV when he took it out for the first time on Wednesday evening. 
Ian had got as far as Sarah's Cottage, 11 miles into the lap, when his experience told him that all wasn't well with the Ł250,000 MV triple, with a hole in the piston putting paid to any further participation for the bike in this year's event. 

So it was back to the drawing board as owner Chapman then wheeled out a replica of the 1966 Honda RC181 on which the great Mike Hailwood beat Giacomo Agostini’s MV triple in the famous 1967 Senior TT. 

The original plan had been for the bike to be ridden for one lap of race week's Lap of Honour, but now the idea was for Lougher to ride it in the 151-mile four-lap Senior Classic TT race. 
It was a bold, if hardly ideal Plan B for Ian, a situation not helped by the cancellation of Thursday evening's practice session due to low visibility on the Mountain Course, plus damage to the road at Churchtown, Ramsey following the incident which caused the stoppage of the earlier Superbike/Lightweight session. 

So, it was a quick run-out on the hastily race modified bike at Jurby as Ian then 'coasted' round the TT circuit on Friday evening to ensure qualification for Saturday's race with a lap of 90.079mph. 

Meanwhile back in the Lightweight class, Anstey was starting to show his cards as he posted a lap of 113.776 mph in Wednesday evening's session to move ominously up the leaderboard and, with Ian understandably concentrating on the Senior class on Friday evening, Bruce then moved to the top of the pile with an impressive lap of 118.239mph. 

And so it was on to the opening day of racing on Saturday and any real hopes Ian and the Chapman camp had of the RC181 lasting the pace were dashed on the opening lap when he had to retire the Honda near Union Mills. 
Ian's disappointment was tempered by the knowledge that the LayLaw Yamaha was going well, and that the Lightweight Classic TT later in the day would bring his best chance of success. 
It was Anstey who led at Glen Helen on the opening lap but his lead over Lougher was just 1.8s whilst Ian in turn only had a 0.4s gap over Ryan Kneen who soon retired at Kirk Michael. 
As the lap progressed Bruce started to pull away and, with an opening lap of 117.170mph he had a 16.9s lead over the Welshman whose first lap speed was 115.486mph. Anstey continued to build on his lead on the second lap and it soon became evident why as he lapped at 118.744mph to break John McGuinness’ long standing 250cc lap record. 
Ian meanwhile was having an equally good ride but at the pit stops his deficit to the Kiwi was now widening. Going on to the final lap Anstey's advantage was 1m.11s over Lougher who was even further ahead of third placed Phil Harvey. 
At the flag it was Bruce from Ian by 1m.4secs with Harvey over two minutes back in third. Ian's second place was just rewards for the effort both he and the LayLaw Racing team had put in. 
After last year's disappointment in the Formula 2 Classic TT, the team had vowed to return stronger than ever and that's exactly what they did, and it took a great ride from Anstey to deny them the race win. 

Ian Lougher
"The Classic TT as always, is something all the riders enjoy a lot, possibly more than the TT where there is a lot more pressure. 
Unfortunately John Chapman's 500 MV had an engine fault after only half a lap, so it was parked up and will be returning to Italy for the builders inspection. 
Time was running short but I managed to get one practice lap on John's 500 Honda Four, but in the race fuel starvation stopped me before I reached Union Mills, which was a shame as the guys had worked hard to get it ready in such a short space of time. 
After a difficult year in 2015 with the older TZ 250 Yamaha, the Laylaw Racing guys were especially pleased with the 2nd place finish we achieved this time. The newer Yam was a joy to ride and with Eddie Laycock twiddling the spanners I had real confidence in the bike. 
Looking back we may have jetted it a little bit leaner to get nearer to Bruce's Honda as it was barely pulling top gear on the last lap as the conditions changed, but that's two stroke racing in the Isle of Man for you, it's never easy!! 
On behalf of my wife Asa and myself, I would like to take this opportunity to thank John and everybody at John Chapman Racing, and Gerry and all the guys at Laylaw Racing for their hard work and great craic we had together, and look forward to next year and doing it all again. 
And a big thank you to David and Helen for making our trip so memorable." 

Sure Lightweight Classic TT - Result 
1. Bruce Anstey 2. Ian Lougher 3. Phil Harvey 4. Paul Owen 5. Charles Rhys Hardisty 6. Gary Vines


Schoots registers best result of the season. 

Team ILR's Nadieh Schoots had her best result of the series so far, when the eighth round of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship paid a visit to Cadwell Park over the August Bank Holiday weekend. 

With team owner Ian Lougher competing in the Senior and Lightweight Classic TTs on Saturday before travelling to Cadwell overnight, Schoots struggled a bit in qualifying but managed to take her place on the grid for Monday's race. 

From the back of the grid, Nadieh had an early dice with Matt Pearce until the safety car came out on lap four, two laps later they were racing again and Schoots wasted no time getting past her fellow Kawasaki mounted rival to move into 26th. 

There were a few fallers in the latter half of the race and Nadieh soon found herself up to 23rd, and when James White and then Darren Ibertson crashed out in front, she crossed the line just one place outside the Top 20 to bring the weekend to a very pleasing conclusion. 

Nadieh Schoots: “I'm really pleased with my best result up to now, and I have lots of confidence for the next round. Again, a big thank-you to my team, and Bring on Oulton Park!" 


Phillips relinguishes Championship lead. 

For Sandown Racing's Carl Phillips it was another disappointing weekend in the eighth round of the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship at Cadwell Park over the August Bank Holiday weekend. 

Phillips had led the championship by 46 points, but a run of bad luck combined with a fourth podium on the trot for Jordan Weaving has saw his lead gone and he now lies second. 

The team, who are operating from the Team ILR awning this season, have spent the last few weeks trying to iron out the front end problems that have beset the ZX-6R mid-season. 

A couple of outings at Bishopscourt and Mondello Park seemed to do the trick and they arrived at Cadwell in a more positive frame of mind. 

However, it soon became obvious that all still wasn't right as Carl struggled in qualifying to start the race from a lowly 27th on the grid, presenting him with an almost impossible task to score any meaningful points round the undulating and twisty Lincolnshire circuit. 

This would prove to be the case although worse was to come. At the end of the opening lap Phillips had moved up to 19th place but he then encountered the inevitable traffic and by the halfway stage had been unable to make any further progress. 

Then it all went wrong for Carl as he was knocked off by a very enthusiastic Jordan Gilbert, which did his championship hopes no good at all and caused the race to be red-flagged with a result declared. Weaving's third place now puts him ahead in the championship, but with only a four point deficit and three rounds to go it's still very much game on for Carl and his dedicated team. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher

"It's been a tough weekend for all three riders. Cadwell is never an easy place to come to, especially for Connall who was making his circuit debut, and it was only Nadieh's second time here. 

We stayed on with Carl for a track day on Tuesday and managed to get him comfortable with his new front fork internals, so hopefully when he goes out at Oulton he can be straight on the pace. 

His championship fight definitely starts here." 

Carl Phillips

"A busy weekend to say the least. I would like to thank everyone who contacted me after my off, I was a bit stiff but nothing is broken and that's the main thing. 

The bad news is, I have lost the lead in the championship and I now trail by 4 points. 

The team remained at Cadwell to take in a track day, more work needs done to put this bike back to where it was. You would not believe the effort the boys have put in, if it were a proper job they would have walked out long ago!!. 

This is frustrating for everyone, from sponsors to family and friends, please understand we are doing everything possible. 

Thanks for now." 


Courtney makes his Cadwell Park debut.

Connall Courtney had his second outing since returning from injury when he took part in the latest round of the Hel Motostar British Championship at Cadwell Park over the August Bank Holiday weekend. 

On what was his first visit to Cadwell Park, Connall found the going tough in Free Practice and Qualifying, but he did however qualify 13th quickest in the Standard Class to take his place on the split grid with the Motostar GP riders  for Race One on Sunday. 

But unfortunately he found he was still struggling to fully get to grips with the circuit's undulating and varied characteristics and he finished off the pace in 12th. 

In Race 2 on Bank Holiday Monday, Courtney soon got involved in a race with Connor Thomson. 

And as the race progressed, a high rate of crashes elevated Connall to 8th place at the chequered flag in the Standard Class. 

Connall Courtney

"Home from a productive Cadwell. 

I struggled to gel with the track as it is a tough track to learn being there for the first time. 

However my times were constantly improving and my hand is not perfect but getting better. 

As always huge thanks to my team, my sponsors Modern Tyres and my family for their support. 

Preparing for Oulton in 2 weeks." 

The next round of all three championships takes place at Oulton Park over the weekend of September 9-11th.


Courtney returns from injury at Brands Hatch. 

Team ILR's Connall Courtney returned to action at the latest round of the Hel Motostar British Championship at Brands Hatch last weekend. 

The young rider from Warrenpoint has missed out on the last two rounds since his crash during the first qualifying session at Knockhill in June which left him requiring surgery on his right hand. 

However, it was obvious during practice and qualifying that Courtney was struggling but, after much thought, he decided to take to the grid for Race 1. 

Despite being in pain and discomfort, Connall did well to register an 11th place finish, but this proved to be a step too far with his injury and he reluctantly made the decision to take no further part in the weekend's proceedings. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher: 

"Connall returned to Brands after having to miss the previous two rounds through a nasty injury to his finger, where he had to have the finger pinned and a skin graft and the two fingers sewn together. 

Unfortunately it was probably a week or two too soon to return to action as he was only really able to do 6 or 7 laps before his two fingers were starting to cramp up, which made it very difficult to brake properly. 

But Connall gave it his best in the one race out of the three that were scheduled for the weekend." 

Connall Courtney

"It finished up a really tough weekend. I knew from the morning warm-up that the race was going to be tough to finish with the injured hand but I managed to just about make it to the line in 11th. 

I really struggled to get the bike stopped because it's my right hand but happy to have made it, learned more and made some improvements."


Phillips holds on to Championship lead. 

Sandown Racing's Carl Phillips had another challenging weekend at Brands Hatch. 

Working out of the Team ILR awning this season, Carl and his team had to dig deep to bring home some crucial points that have kept him at the top of the standings, but with his nearest rival Jordan Weaving winning for the second meeting on the trot, Carl's lead has been reduced to 12 points. 

The sun did little to warm Carl's mood as a few problems surfaced with the front end of his bike during qualifying, but he knuckled down to the task in hand and managed to finish up in 7th place for a third row start. 

By the halfway point of the 10 lap race a pattern had emerged with Phillips running in 8th place with just over a half second buffer to the next rider Lewis Rollo, Carl in turn being some three seconds off the rider in front Harry Truelove. The time differences closed up in both directions with two laps to go, however Carl couldn't get closer to Truelove but he did respond to the challenge of Rollo to open the gap again and finish in 8th position at the flag.  

Ian Lougher: "Carl had a difficult weekend after he and the team struggled to find a good set up for the front of his ZX-6R, but he still managed a very respectable 8th position finish.  Normally that would be a very good result considering the circumstances, but with his nearest rival for the championship getting a win, this has reduced his lead somewhat. Carl needs to regroup now and come out fighting at Cadwell Park." 

Carl Phillips:  "We didn't get the result we were hoping for with 8th place. 

There are front end issues with the bike that the team can't resolve at present but we won't give up that easily. 

The last three rounds have been very frustrating and so much effort is put into this by a lot of people. 

With four rounds of the championship still to go, the gap is now down to 12 points. 

Let's hope Team Sandown can get back up to the front of the pack at Cadwell.  

Thanks to my sponsors and team members."  


Next Event
Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup: Oliver's Mount, Scarborough. September 24-25
Ian Lougher

''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.
This year I am sure that their success will continue.''

Professional Photographer
Graham Ravensdale
2016 Images
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
Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup: Oliver's Mount
Hel Motostar British Championship: Oulton Park
Isle of Man Classic TT
Ulster Grand Prix: Dundrod