Amongst the many reports and discussions on the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix, one common theme was the performances of Team ILR's newest recruit Horst Saiger

The Austrian star was paying his first visit to Dundrod, but with a typically professional approach and with one of the most successful riders ever round the Co. Antrim circuit in his corner in Ian Lougher and his team, Saiger came away from the event with the Best Newcomer Award. 

With unfavourable Dundrod conditions during practice, Horst didn't have the track time he would have liked, but despite this he was an excellent 16th in Wednesday's wet Superbike free practice session on the team's Superstock Ninja ZX-10R. 

The following day Horst experienced his first dry laps of the Dundrod circuit when he posted a fastest lap of 122.375mph in the Superstock class, and with an improvement of over two seconds he was a solid 25th in Superbike practice with a very respectable fastest lap of 124.812mph. 

And then it was on to the Dundrod 150 Superbike race. 

From the second group of riders and the seventh row of the grid, Horst rode a brilliant race to finish 12th and register a fastest lap of 127.127mph to get his Dundrod adventure off to a great start. 

Saturday race day dawned dry and mild and Saiger's first outing was in the 6-lap Superstock race, for which he again lined up in the second wave of riders on Row 7 of the grid. 

At the end of the opening lap Horst was 23rd and in a 10 rider group separated by 1.5 seconds. On lap two he was into the top 20 in 18th and despite being held up slightly he had managed to climb to 16th at the halfway stage. With a few 'moments' during the early stages of the race, Saiger was however riding at a calm and controlled pace and now had Ben Wylie and Tom McHale in his sights whilst at the same time fending off the threat of Davy Morgan and Dan Cooper. On the last lap he got ahead of Wylie and McHale to finish a highly impressive 12th with a fastest lap of 125.743mph. 

Saiger's next outing was frustrating in that his 16th place finish could possibly have been higher. With some riders in front of him coming to grief, the race was red-flagged with the result being taken from the previous lap therefore meaning that Horst didn't gain any places, importantly however all involved were ok. Horst also took consolation from the fact that he posted his fastest Dundrod lap, and the 12th quickest of the race, with a speed of 127.833mph. 

By mid-afternoon patchy rain was now falling on the circuit and by the time the last race of the day for superbikes came round, the course was wet. 

In this one, Horst rode a steady race in the company of Seamus Elliott to finish in a safe 16th place with a best speed of 115.452mph. So, with top finishes and impressive lap speeds, Horst Saiger can feel justifiably proud of his first Dundrod experience, and the Best Newcomer Award was well deserved. 

In closing, the thoughts of everyone at Team ILR and Saiger-Racing are with the family and friends of young Scottish rider Andy Lawson who sadly lost his life during the meeting. 

Ian Lougher Team ILR owner/manager: 

''It is fair to say that Horst Saiger is a class act, he comes with many years of riding in endurance racing, as well as the North West, TT, Macau etc etc. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Horst, he knows what he wants from the bike and has a good understanding of how to change it to make it how he likes it. 

We had a shaky start to the Ulster though, when on his first lap of practice the engine let go, giving JackoBernt and myself a heck of a lot of work to prepare the spare bike in time for the next session, which we did with only seconds to spare. 

It was a testing time for us but we didn't want to let Horst down, and knew as a newcomer he would need as much practice as possible, as the Dundrod circuit has many blind fast corners which make it a challenging place at the best of times. 

I would certainly like to work with Horst again in the future, as his adaptability, speed, and honesty are hard to find in a rider, and he is one of the funniest men in the paddock." 

Horst Saiger

" We didn`t have the best start into the UGP with all the rain and some technical problems. 

But we kept on working and focusing on the most important thing: racing! There was no drama or long faces in the awning, everybody was working like an absolute professional. 

I was not always happy with my improvement on the track, as it is really hard to go fast with that little track time that we had and it`s so easy to make a mistake on this very fast and unforgiving circuit. 

But what I know now is that the ILR Team is for sure Team Happy, like the marshall said when he went into our awning and it was a big honor and pleasure to be part of it! 

There`s a lot of experience and love for the sport in all of us and hopefully we can do another race together one day... because nobody knows how competitive we can be if we have more time together... for sure I`ll need bigger leathers as Mrs. TeambossAsa is a real star in the kitchen! 

So I only have to say thank you for everything Team ILR, you`re the dream team anybody could wish for. 

Keep on smiling!"


Saiger Impresses on debut at Dundrod 

Posted August 2015