In 2008, Ian Lougher paid his second visit to Japan to look into the possibility of a TT style race on Miyakejima Island, whilst there he met a Japanese superbike and endurance racer who wanted to ride at the Isle of Man TT races, and Ian agreed to take the newcomer under his wing for his debut on the Mountain Course.

That rider was Yoshinari Matsushita, and although his participation on Ian's Superstock machine in both Superbike races and the Superstock class was to be a one-off for the TT, during that short period of time 'Matsu' quickly endeared himself to everyone in the team and very soon gained a loyal following on the Island itself.

His best result that year was 43rd in the Superbike race, he later crashed on the Mountain section during the Superstock event, sustaining ankle injuries.

Yoshinari never forgot the opportunity that was afforded to him by Ian to realise his dream of competing in the Isle of Man TT races, and the friendships formed within the team that year remained to the present day.

'Matsu' did not speak much, in fact barely any English, in many ways he didn't have to.

His ever present infectious smile, the enthusiastic glint in his eye and his obvious love of life spoke volumes to all who knew him, knew of him, or were in his presence.

He was an absolute gentleman and a credit to his family and his homeland.

When he crashed at the TT back in 2009, Ian visited him in hospital where Yoshinari was more concerned about, and apologised sincerely, for any damage caused to the bike.
He was that type of person, one of life's truly genuine people............

Yoshinari was a real TT enthusiast whose racing calendar revolved around the annual two week pilgrimage to the island.

He always viewed and treated the TT as a challenge, and he met and prepared for that challenge with the utmost professionalism and with the respect he knew it deserved.

In 2011 he had his best place finish on the island when he came home fifth in the TT Zero for electric bikes and his joy was there for all to see.

Sadly we will never see him grace the TT again, it's cruel and ironic that the circuit he loved to compete on, should claim his life in a practice crash for the 2013 event.

His death has robbed his family, friends and the sport of a much loved, popular and respected personality who will be sorely missed.

Farewell 'Matsu'-san..............


'Matsu' with his good friend, and the man he referred to as his mentor, Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher.
Photo: Asa Asada

A friend of the team. Helping with the awning at the 2012 Isle of Man TT races.

Asa Asada


Takao Isobe

'Matsu' chats to Ian Lougher and his wife Asa, who was his friend and race manager.
Photo: Team ILR
Matsu in the frame