Silverstone was the latest stop in Team ILR's busy season, withRobert 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!!!"
"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."
"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."