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."



       April 2018