From the Isle of Man TT roads it was on to Snetterton and a return to the Hel Motostar British Championship for Team ILR at the weekend. 

Practice saw both Vasco van der Valk and Joe Thomas ride smoothly after the six week gap from the last round with Van der Valk quickest to finish on the fifth row of the grid for Race 1 with Thomas one row behind. 
The first few laps of the shortened 8-lap race saw the two riders in 14th and 15th although almost four seconds separated them with van der Valk in a group of five riders challenging for 10th. 
At half race distance Jake Archer had distanced himself from the group but Vasco was still in the hunt for 11th with Joe still 15th and under pressure from Tomas De Vries.

A lap later Vasco put in his fastest lap of the race to move into 12th, and riding determinedly he held this position to the line, just fractions of a second behind the ninth place rider Joseph Thompson, Thomas meanwhile had been overtaken by de Vries but the two moved up the leader board slightly, finishing 13th and 14th respectively. 

Vasco's efforts moved him up to the fourth row of the grid for Sunday's second race with Joe on the sixth row and just as in the first race, van der Valk was soon challenging for a top ten place in the slightly longer 12-lap race. 
For most of the race he was in a 3-way dice with Georgina Polden and Elliott Lodge for 10th place until the last lap when his two rivals went out, this combined with David Wales dropping back elevated Vasco to a great 9th place finish and an equally pleasing 11th fastest lap of 2:02.957, over a second quicker than his previous best. 
Thomas in the meantime was embroiled in his own 3-rider dice which lasted for the duration of the race with the young Welshman just missing out on 12th but picking up more points and repeating his first race result well clear in 14th. 

Team ILR now have a short well earned break before heading to Scotland and the next round at Knockhill on 3-5 July, the first race meeting in what will be another busy period for the team. 

Ian Lougher Team ILR owner/manager: ''After a 6 week break since the last BSB meeting in Oulton Park, it was good to see both our riders Vasco and Joe were raring to go at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk. It's quite clear from the earlier rounds that they both have the pace at the end of the race, but need to qualify better to try and get away and get going sooner if they are to get some top ten results, but this year's championship field is stronger than ever, so it's a very tough task now. Vasco worked hard on machine set up throughout the weekend, and rode well to get a 12th in the first race, and a fantastic 9th in the second. Joe struggled a little more but rode hard to get a brace of 14th place finishes from a difficult starting position. We look forward to a very different type of circuit in Knockhill in two weeks time. A big thank you to all our sponsors, and everyone who follows our team exploits, see you all soon.'' 

Joe Thomas: "A good weekend, although I struggled with the track and the set-up....but can't wait until Knockhill! Thanks to the team and my sponsors and hopefully I can get back on form for the Scottish round." 

Vasco van der Valk: "This was my best weekend thus far in the season! 
Beforehand I was a bit worried for the outright speed of some of our competitors, but I really like fast flowing tracks like Snetterton, they remind me of the European tracks I used to ride before, like Assen. I lost a little bit on the straights, but was able to make up for that in every corner and worked on my exit, which gave me some extra slipstream and speed. I really want to thank Matt and Ian for the work they did to get the bike this good, with their help I was able to fight for a good result, with a great 9th position in Race 2 a result."

Solid Points Weekend at Snetterton for Team ILR 

Posted May 2015