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Joey Thompson took part in his first 'Friendly Races' at the 2017 Southern 100 and came away delighted with his results after four days of strong team work. 
Thompson has decided to take a back seat from the British Supersport Championship this season to concentrate on the roads, and it's a decision that is starting to pay off very nicely for the young, hard working Yorkshire rider. 

With the event's most successful competitor in his corner in the form of Ian Lougher, Monday evening practice saw Joey get stuck in from the word go, finishing sixth quickest in the first 600 session but going almost six seconds faster in the second session to finish fifth fastest behind Michael Dunlop. Joey also led the 250's in the combined 250/650 practice session to finish third fastest. 

Tuesday evening saw Joey take the Corlett's Trophies Senior Founders 600cc honours in the 100/600cc race with a commanding performance to win by over 18 seconds, surely the first of many wins around the Billown circuit. 
And he was again well to the fore in the 650/250 session to again lead the 250's. 

Day three again saw Joey in race action where he narrowly missed out on a podium in the Mike Kerruish Plumbing and Heating 250/650 race in which he had a great scrap with Rob Hodson who just got the nod on the final lap. 
Joey had the consolation of being the Best Newcomer in the race. 

He then had a superb ride in the Radcliffe Butchers 600cc race to again be the Best Newcomer on his way to finishing 5th ahead of Ivan Lintin and Dan Hegarty. 

And so to Thursday's traditional Championship Day where Thompson kicked off his day with another strong ride to take 5th in the S&S Motors 600cc race and again claim the Best Newcomer accolade. 
Joey then jumped on his TZ250 Yamaha to take another fourth place (and Best Newcomer) in the Ocean Motor Village 250/650 race. 

The Manx Gas Solo Championship race concluded Thompson and the team's Southern 100 and here Joey finished 16th and was the first of the 600's in a high quality field. 

A great Southern 100 for Joey and Team ILR, and he will take this form into the Barry Sheene Festival meeting at Oliver's Mount' Scarborough this weekend. 
The team will also be at Brands Hatch this weekend to again provide support to Team Sandown's Robert Kennedy as he resumes his Pirelli National Superstock 600 campaign. 

Team ILR owner manager Ian Lougher
"To say I am impressed with Joey on his rides at the Southern 100 is a massive understatement. 
He rode with the maturity of a seasoned campaigner, and not of a 19 year old in his first season of real road racing. 
Not only were his results impressive, his lap times were equally so. 
He's also very good with his feedback of the bike settings, and can jump from a four stroke to a two stroke with ease, I'm mega impressed." 

Joey Thompson
"The Southern 100 was a great event for me and all at Team ILR. 
We all gained confidence in my riding ability and I also gained confidence in my team's ability setting the bikes up for me to ride. 
Both the Team ILR Kawasaki and the JTR THOMPSONS 250 ran amazing and we got some good results and proved that it won't be long until I'm a contender for race wins. 
Once again I would like to thank all the team for a great week, my dad, all my sponsors and supporters for being behind me. 
Roll on Oliver's Mount!"

It was on to Snetterton in Norfolk for the latest round of the 2017 BSB championships, where Robert Kennedy (Superstock 600) and Sam Laffins (KTM Junior Cup) would be competing under the Team ILR banner. 

After a good top ten finish at Knockhill, RK who was a rookie at Snetterton, was looking for more of the same at the Norfolk circuit. 
Free practice left him upbeat finishing in 5th position, but after the dust had settled after Qualifying and some niggling set up issues, the Dundrod rider had to settle for a fourth row start in 11th position. 
In the race Robert got a great start and moved up into 6th position by the second corner, only to get boxed in, and relegating him to 11th place by the end of the opening lap, but he got his head down putting in some real good lap times and worked his way up to 8th position by lap eight of twelve. 
But exiting the last chicane he clipped the inside curb and lost the front of his Team Sandown/Team ILR ZX-6R and down he went. 
So an unfortunate end to such a very promising weekend for the Northern Ireland rider. 

Sam who is new to all the UK circuits, had two races over the hot and sunny weekend. 
He qualified well in 9th with a 2m 18.2 second lap and was looking forward to his race later the same day. 
Saturday evening's Race 1 was a hectic affair when Sam was involved in a frantic fight for fifth position with Connor Thompson, a battle he was to win. 
Race 2 on Sunday and another tough battle this time for 6th place was to ensue with Connor Moody, again with Sam using his slip streaming expertise to gain the advantage and come home in a fine sixth place finish. 

Ian Lougher:
'' Despite RK not getting a finish at Snett, we feel we have found him the set up he is looking for to progress further in the future. 
I know how disappointed he is after his crash, this time though it was his own fault and not being taken out by someone else, he will learn from this, but I know for sure he has the talent, capability and above all else the dedication to succeed. 
He will come back at Brands Hatch stronger than ever. 

Sam on the other hand had the opposite of weekends, coming off his last weekend of mixed fortunes and problems, to a weekend of learning a new circuit as a young 15 year old, to opening a lot of people's eyes with a well rounded mature performance and coming away with a 5th and 6th.
Sam is out next at Cadwell Park in August, onwards and upwards.'' 

Robert Kennedy
''Another tough weekend for me at Snetterton. 
We qualified in P11 for my first race weekend there, which I was happy with my times, but not my position. 
We got an ok start in the race but dropped back in the first lap to 12th. I managed to get up to 7th place but unfortunately I came off the bike with a couple of laps to go. 
Itís very frustrating at the moment for me not being able to deliver like I know I can, but big thanks to Sandy, Willie, and my Dad, especially for all their hard work, and all the sponsors, and of course Team ILR. 
Also thank you to everyone else who has helped me this year each and every weekend, thank you so much, I know we can get there.'' 

Sam Laffins:
''The weekend at Snetterton started with Free Practice on Friday. 
I was 10th quickest with only 2 seconds separating the top 10 places around the three mile circuit. 
Saturday was qualifying and I ended up in 9th position, knocking 2 seconds off my lap times from the free practice session which put me in 9th position on the grid for race 1. 
I finished Race 1 in 5th position, again knocking 2 seconds off my qualifying lap time which moved me up to 6th position on the grid for Race 2. 
I had a great battle with Connor Moody in race 2 which finished with me in 6th position. 
I really enjoyed my weekend at Snetterton Race Circuit with the fast flowing nature of the circuit again I would like to thank Ian and Team ILR for the hard work, this is being proven as every race meeting Iím improving my lap times and getting closer to the front runners. 
Thanks for believing in me Ian. 
Of course I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all my sponsors for giving me the opportunity to race in this championship.''


Team ILR had a successful two days at the annual Cock O' the North road races at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough at the weekend. The team came away with three wins, with two for young up and coming star Joey Thompson, whilst the circuit's most successful ever competitor Ian Lougher continues to rip up the history books with yet another win round 'The Mount' to take his tally to an incredible 138. 

Young Thompson opened his account on Day 1 with a runaway victory in the Lightweight race on his immaculate TZ250 Yamaha, as team boss Lougher won the concurrently run Moto 3 race on the team's NSF 250 Honda, just edging ahead of Justin Waring. 

Joey also had two impressive Top 10 finishes in the Superbike and Supersport races. 

Thompson again took the honours in the Lightweight class on Sunday, as James Cowton won a thrilling Moto 3 encounter from Lougher and Waring. 

Ian had led for the majority of the race and was just pipped on the last lap, with less than a second covering the three at the flag. 

Even the disappointment of a retirement for Joey in the Junior race when he had made contact with the leaders, did little to dampen what had been a very good weekend for the team. 

Team ILR owner manager Ian Lougher
"It was only Joey's second race on his ZX6 Kawasaki at Oliver's Mount, but his times improved every time he goes out. 
Unfortunately he had a problem with his bike on Sunday and had to park the bike for the remainder of the day. 
On his TZ250 Yamaha he won both races he entered and it goes to show for a young guy he's very good at jumping from one bike to another and this is just one of the things that impresses me about him. 
As for myself... well to be honest I felt incredibly rusty and unbike fit, having not raced since April, nevertheless I managed to just hold off Justin Waring on his Kalex KTM for the win in Saturdays race. 
On Sunday I got a great start but after half of the race I felt I had a few aches and cramps starting, which led to being caught on the last hairpin on the last lap by a charging James Cowton. 
I guess it goes to show that I still have the drive to still go racing to win, as I am gutted to lose out so late in the race, especially to such a new boy in the class...I'll do my best to be less complacent next time." 

Joey Thompson
"Oliver's Mount, where do we start? 
The meeting was ran perfectly by the organisers and I really enjoyed myself. 
We are slowly getting where we need to be and moving up the field constantly and it will not be long until we are fighting for podiums round my home road race. 
The 250 was faultless and ran amazing and dominated both Lightweight races, thanks to Phil Guillu for the great engine and to my dad for supplying the bike. 
The 600 was running great until we had an electrical fault which we are sorting for the Southern 100. 
Each time my leg goes over the ILR/Thompsons Kawasaki I give 110% and never give up and hopefully my determination to achieve results will show very soon. 
It's coming... 
Thanks to all the team for their great work, thanks to my dad and all my family for their support, and I would just like to say one MASSIVE thank you to all the fans that give me lots of support at my local race."


Team ILR had a two rider representation with Sam Laffins back in action in the Santander Consumer Finance KTM RC 390 British Junior Cup and Robert Kennedy in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship, as the British Superbike series headed north of the border for the annual visit to the Knockhill circuit in Scotland. 

Santander Consumer Finance KTM RC 390 British Junior Cup 
It promised to be an busy time for the British Junior Cup competitors with no fewer than four races over the course of the weekend. In the free practice session young Laffins was a brilliant third and was quickest through Sector 1 and second quickest in Sectors 2 and 3. 
He was at it again in qualifying where he was never out of the Top 3 in the three sectors and had the second best Perfect Lap, finishing fourth quickest just over half a second off pole and starting the race heading the second row of the grid. 

However Race One didn't exactly go to plan. 

After a good start in which he held his position, Sam dropped two places on the second lap and soon found himself involved in a three rider dice with Will Lathrope and Matthew Bower for sixth. It was a tussle that ended on the sixth lap with all three going down at Turn 2 after the rider in front of Sam left him with nowhere to go, bringing the race to a close with the introduction of a red flag. 
Thankfully Sam was unhurt but didn't go out in the second race which was held just over an hour later due to his bike being damaged. 

Sunday's third race saw Sam having to start from the back of the grid following his crash the previous day, despite this he rode brilliantly to steadily work his way through to finish 8th in a field of 20 riders, and had the fourth quickest lap of the race to push himself back up to head Row 2 for the fourth race. 
However Sam's bad luck struck again. 
He was running in 5th position when the race was red flagged which meant when it was restarted he started 5th on the grid. 
Within one lap of the restart he pulled back into 4th and run the rest of the race with the front 3 runners. But with two laps to go Sam lost the front and ended up crashing and at the end of the same lap the race was red flagged again with one rider coming off and another disqualified for putting him off, which meant Sam would have finished second but for his crash. 

After again being impressive through all three sectors he was in a safe 4th place when he crashed out. 
Although uninjured, he was nevertheless left to ponder on what might have been. 

Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship 
Team Sandown's Robert Kennedy, who has been working closely with Team ILR this season, arrived in Scotland after a string of bad luck and hoping to get his season back on track. 
As has been the case all season, Robert was well on the pace in practice and qualifying. 

Despite finishing 10th fastest for the race, Kennedy was only 0.42 seconds off pole with the top 17 riders all covered by less than a second. Again Robert's bad luck returned in the race though as he got pushed wide at Turn 1 and suddenly found himself down in 18th. 

From there it was a game of catch-up, not an easy task at Knockhill. 
But Robert knuckled down and did very well to claw himself back to 9th at the chequered flag. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"The weather at Knockhill can be a little unpredictable to say the least, and once again it didn't disappoint. 
Thursday and Friday started so cold, but by the time Sunday arrived we were all getting sunburnt. 

RK had a mixed weekend, mainly due to a slight lack of confidence after failing to finish in the last two rounds when lying in the top five in both races. But he rode well but couldn't quite find the front end feel that he was looking for, so a ninth place finish at the Scottish track and now looking forward to Snetterton in two weeks time. 

As for Sam he had one of the hardest weekends that any 15 year old should ever have to stand. 
His qualifying was fantastic, riding well within himself and ended up 4th on the grid, only to get knocked off in one race which resulted in him missing the next one, however 8th in the third race from the back of the grid was great. 
But when lying in a safe 4th place with a lap to go he suffered an unexplained front end crash. 
So it was a great sight to see him being able to hang on to his pint sized rivals for most of race 4 and heart breaking to see the end result. 
But it's all a massive learning curve for the young Dromara rider, and I am quite sure he has the talent go on and be a great rider in the future." 

Sam Laffins
"It was a good weekend for me and Team ILR, only for the two crashes. 
I was doing good consistent lap times, one minute flat and the guys that were in front were doing 59.5's which meant I was only half a second off the pace. 
It did show that I can run at the front with the top three and after only three race meetings. 
Thanks to Ian and Team ILR for doing an excellent job with bike set up, and for mentoring and working hard with me." 

Robert Kennedy
"Disappointed with another poor weekend, both for the team and myself. 
I just didn't have the confidence to do what I needed to do on the bike. 
The team worked tremendously hard all weekend, to try and resolve the problems, but we simply ran out of time! 
We head to Snetterton in two weeks time where we tested a couple of weeks ago, so here's hoping for a good solid weekend. 
Thanks again to everyone for their help. 
And of course to Team ILR, Team Sandown and to all the team sponsors and my personal sponsors and family and friends, who I couldn't do this without."


Team ILR's Joey Thompson had his first taste of the Isle of Man TT when he became the youngest ever competitor in the history of the world famous event in 2017. 

The young 19 year old rookie had a highly experienced 10 times TT winner in his corner though, in the shape of Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher

Thompson approached his first TT in a professional manner with lots of preparation, hard work and good advice behind him, and it showed on his first night when he registered a 110mph lap in practice. 

Practice week though was blighted by poor weather and, as was the case with many competitors, Joey was itching to get as many laps as possible in. 

Towards the end of practice week he was starting to get a feel for the unique and varied characteristics of the circuit and he went round at 116.7mph on his eighth lap on Friday evening. 

With racing put back until Sunday, the organisers announced that Saturday would be a practice day which gave Joey invaluable track time, with the team knowing where he could gain lots of time. 

It obviously paid dividends as Thompson had his fastest lap of the week at 117.287mph to finish 41st quickest overall in the Supersport class and rewarded with being moved halfway up the starting order to 42 from an original starting number of 84. 

The first lap of Monday's four lap Supersport race saw Joey set off down Bray Hill for his first ever TT race with the advice of Ian Lougher to keep it smooth and flowing very much in his mind. 

He opened with a lap of 115.90mph to place himself in 33rd position, and as he pitted for fuel at the end of the next lap he was lying in 34th. The team worked efficiently to put Thompson back out quickly, and on the third lap he was still in the Top 40 and riding comfortably within himself. 

The final lap saw Joey post a very respectable 118.54mph, and not even a 30 second speeding penalty for going over the 60kmh in pit lane (he was actually 0.2 of a kmh over) could deter him, as he made places up to bring the ZX-6R home for a very respectable 34th place finish and a bronze replica, which will no doubt soon be replaced by the first of many silver. 

Unfortunately the Manx weather again intervened to bring a premature end to Joey's first TT adventure, with the second Supersport race being scrubbed from the schedule. 

Following his TT exploits, Thompson then competed in the Post TT event over the Southern 100 course and, again with advice from Billown specialist Ian Lougher, he was the fastest newcomer and finished 8th quickest in practice for the Supersport race. 

In the race itself he was 3rd going on to the last lap, but showing immense maturity he rolled off to finish 4th as he felt he was making too many mistakes as a circuit newcomer. 
Equally impressive was Joey's 7th place finish in the Superbike race which brought his debut Manx adventure to a very satisfactory conclusion, and further cemented his reputation as a real star of the future. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
''At Team ILR we are so impressed and delighted with Joey in the way he handled his first Isle of Man TT race. 
It was a difficult year for every competitor and team, with such bad weather affecting even the most experienced of riders, but Joey always remained calm, upbeat and focused, riding well within himself. 
He started out in practice (not Qualifying as people keep calling it these days...the TT is about learning without any pressure for the need to qualify and this word in my opinion leads to mistakes, which are hard to undo) with a very respectable 110mph lap and upped his pace to almost a 119mph lap in the race, on his Superstock (standard engine) ZX-6R Kawasaki. 
It was such a shame his second 600 race was cancelled due to lack of time, as I'm sure he would have got to a 120mph lap with no problems. 
Whilst we had plenty of down time due to the bad weather, Joey expressed an interest in viewing the Southern 100 circuit (Billown), so I showed him around one of my favourite circuits. 
He seemed to like it, as when the dust settled after his two races at the Radcliffe Butchers sponsored meeting, Joey had narrowly missed the rostrom in the 600cc event, finishing in 4th place, and went on to better his times by a further two seconds in the 1000cc race finishing in 7th position, with a best average speed lap of over 105mph. 
Once again we were all over-awed by his maturity and endurance at such a young age, and this fun to work with young rider has a big future in Road Racing!" 

Joey Thompson
"The TT was great, we had a lack of track time which put us on the back foot but we learned fast and got some great lap times. 
I loved every second of it and can't thank all the team, my dad and sponsors enough, for such a great opportunity. 
My thoughts are with the families of the riders who lost their lives. 
Roll on the Classic TT!"


With Team ILR's team owner/manager Ian Lougher at the Isle of Man TT races in support of newcomer Joey Thompson, both the team's National Superstock 600 runners Ozzy Madey and Robert Kennedy (Team Sandown) were in action at Donington Park at the weekend when the latest round of the championship acted as one of the support races to the World Superbike Championship round. 

One thing immediately clear from the schedule was how little time the 600 riders would have on track and how 'full-on' it was, with two practice sessions within two hours of each other late on Saturday afternoon, only one of which counted as a qualifying session. 
However the old saying it's the same for everyone applied and the lads knuckled down and got on with it. 

Free practice saw Kennedy on the pace in 7th with Madey in 25th and having gear problems, with less than a second covering the first dozen riders. In the later qualifying session Robert was again well up in 8th with the top 14 all within one second. 
Ozzy was left ruing the tight schedule, as he was still working to rectify his gear issues when the session got underway and he never got a lap in, although he was allowed to start the race, albeit from the back of the grid. 

The race proved to be disastrous for Kennedy, after a bad start from the third row and getting boxed in at the first corner he was soon riding strongly and with three laps to go he was going for 3rd when another rider came across the front off him. 
Robert hit the brakes and came off and took the other rider down as well. 
Madey meanwhile was working equally hard and was pushing for 20th when the race was red-flagged on the final lap. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"It was such a shame for Robert that his race ended in the kitty litter after being taken out by another rider for the second race in a row, especially after coming through from 15th after a bad start. His luck has to change soon. 
Ozzy had a gearbox issue in free practice which normally would have been fixable within an hour or two, but the ridiculous timetable that was laid out by the organisers meant that he failed to get out in qualifying in time so had to start from the back of the grid but rode well to come home in 21st position." 

Ozzy Madey
"In FP1 it was a case of steady away on scrub tyres, running just outside of the Top 20 but comfortable on the bike. 
We did suffer from the fairly major gear selector issues so I parked the bike with around 5 minutes of the session left. 
We worked hard to reach P21 with roughly eight laps to go, we 'should' have nabbed P20 but red flags on the last lap put an end to that. 
Still a good end to the weekend, and very nice to have decent weather, albeit with no track time. 
Thank-you to everyone who helped us over the weekend as well as all our sponsors." 

Robert Kennedy
"A very frustrating weekend for me and the team. 
We had an ok qualifying and ended up in P8, but with some problem the team worked hard into the early hours to get the bike sorted for the race on Sunday, something I am very grateful for. 
Down at the bottom of Craner Curves we got good momentum and got up the inside of the 3rd place guy. 
I thought I was past as I couldn't see him in my view as I approached the corner aiming for the apex of the Old Hairpin. 
But out of the corner of my eye he came back into my view coming across the front of me which resulted me hitting the brakes and going down and taking him down as well with me, which was not the plan! 
So frustrating because we were making so much progress during the race. 
I just want to thank everyone who came over to watch and to all the people who keep making all this possible. 
Big thanks to Team ILR and all the Sandown team and the sponsors and all my family." 


Before this year's International North-West 200 the name Joey Thompson may not have been on everyone's lips, but at the conclusion of this year's meeting the 18 year old Team ILR teamster had won himself an army of admirers. 

Joey arrived at the North West having never raced there before, but he had an ace card to play in the form of Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher, an eight times North-West 200 winner and the only man to win five consecutive 125cc races at the event. 
One of the first items on the agenda for Joey was a car trip around the famous triangle circuit with the vastly experienced Lougher passing on valuable tips to his young rider. 

Joey approached Supersport practice both with the eagerness of his young years and the maturity of an older rider. In first qualifying he circulated at a very steady 106.93mph, going through the speed trap at 164.6mph, and declaring himself very happy with his day's work and already looking forward to the second session where he knocked a full 7.5 seconds off his previous best lap time and also showing that he was getting accustomed to the high speed nature of the circuit by upping his speed trap time to 169.6mph. 
His efforts meant that he started the first race heading the second row of Group B. 

At the end of the opening lap of Thursday evening's 6 lap race only Guy Martin from the second wave of riders was in front of Joey, and on the next lap Joey got ahead to lead Group B and hold 20th overall. The next few laps saw Thompson lose a place but he rode sensibly to come home in 21st place and claim the second wave honours and the fastest lap by a newcomer, a very commendable performance. 

Overnight rain on Friday night left the North-West circuit wet on Saturday morning but as the riders went out on their sighting lap for the second Supersport race, a combination of a drying wind and heavy road traffic had dried approx 80% of the course. 

However at the chicanes and on sections of the coast road, particularly at Juniper Hill, there were still large damp patches. 
Following a short delay the race eventually got underway and Joey immediately took the initiative from the second group and led the charge into the right hander towards Primrose and down to York Corner. 
From there he progressed to 17th place and was again the fastest newcomer on the circuit when a mechanical problem on the penultimate lap brought his race to a disappointing end. 
Nevertheless Joey had shown that he is going to be a future star on the North Coast. 

It's the Isle of Man TT next for Team ILR, where Joey Thompson makes his debut at the event and will be the youngest rider ever to line-up on the Glencrutchery Road. Also at the end of the month Robert Kennedy and Ozzy Madey will be in action in the next round of the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship, where it is one of the support races in the Donington Park World Superbikes Round. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"It's fair to say I'm very proud of Joey, he took his first visit to one of the fastest road race circuits in the world in his stride, in damp and challenging conditions that even a more experienced rider would have found extremely daunting. 
He showed total composure and wasn't fazed at all about the task in front of him. 
It was such a shame he couldn't finish his Saturday race as he had 17th in the bag. 
At Team ILR we all look forward now to our visit to the Isle of Man in a couple of weeks time with Joey, and to carry on giving him as much guidance and help as we possibly can and make his first TT visit a successful one." 

Joey Thompson
"I had an awesome time at the North-West 200, the most fun I've ever had on a motorbike. 
I was absolutely gutted that we had to retire from the main race on Saturday with a mechanical issue, as we were on for what would have been a very strong debut result. 
The whole week went to plan and we chipped away each time. 
Thanks to all the team, sponsors, and for all your support. 
This is only the beginning!!"


Team ILR welcomed back Ozzy Madey from injury as the team arrived at the latest round of the British Superbike Championship season at Oulton Park over the May Bank Holiday weekend. 

It was a three rider team that took part in their respective classes, with no KTM RC Cup race Sam Laffins didn't travel to the Cheshire circuit from his home in Northern Ireland. 

Fresh from a successful outing at Oliver's Mount the previous weekend where he picked up four wins, Joey Thompson settled into Free Practice finishing 15th, but the second session brought disaster for him with a blown engine bringing his weekend to an abrupt halt. 

Superstock 600 Free Practice saw Robert Kennedy just outside the Top 6 in the first session with Madey in 23rd. 

Both riders were 12th and 24th respectively when the second session was red-flagged, with Kennedy already slightly faster than his first time. The conclusion of the session would see Robert 5th fastest, improving by almost two seconds and just over half a second off the pace, with Ozzy also going quicker but down in 27th. 

In qualifying 'RK' was really on it to finish 5th, but the timing sheet would show him only 0.2 off second place and 0.4 off pole. 
Ozzy meanwhile was continuing to improve his times and started the race from 26th on the grid. 

Unfortunately Robert never made it beyond the first lap of the race as he was taken out by another rider at the Britten Chicane and was lucky to escape injury as riders took evasive action, and with Ozzy finishing well down in 24th it was a disappointing weekend for the team. 

It's a return to the roads and the North-West 200 next for Team ILR, where Joey Thompson will continue his preparations for the forthcoming Isle of Man TT races. 
Robert and Ozzy will also compete in the next round of the Superstock 600 Championship, where it is one of the support races in the Donington Park World Superbikes Round. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"It's fair to say that Oulton wasn't one of our better meetings, although things like Joey's engine problems and Robert being taken out of his race by another rider through no fault of his own are things you just can't account for. 
It was also Ozzy's first race back from injury and he's determined to break into the points in the coming rounds. 
We'll now re-group, move on, and prepare for the North-West 200. 
Onwards and Upwards." 

Joey Thompson
"Unfortunately this weekend at BSB Oulton Park come to a premature end with engine failures once again. 
Tough start to the season but looking forward to my road racing campaign now! 
NW200 up next. 
Big thank-you to all the team and sponsors." 

Ozzy Madey
"The best part of this weekend was the drive home! 
A fairly atrocious weekend in terms of what we did on track...can't really say much more than that. 
We ran full wets on a drying circuit (as many did) but I couldn't make the most of it like everyone else could. 
Bad day at the office." 

Robert Kennedy
"I started the race from P5 and was in 5th on the first lap. 
But there was a collision with another rider and I went down, but we will look ahead to the next round. 
Thanks to all the team for all their hard work and of course to Team ILR for all their help. 
Thank-you to all the sponsors who make this happen. 
I've learned a lot this weekend."


Spring certainly sprung for Team ILR at the Bob Smith Spring Cup Road races at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough at the weekend, with the team coming away with a total of five wins and no fewer than six Top 6 placings. 

Good weather was forecast for the weekend and whilst this did eventually materialise, nevertheless overnight rain made for a tricky few laps on Saturday morning in which Joey Thompson headed timed qualifying for the Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight class. 

The rain gave way to sunny but chilly conditions as racing got underway on Saturday afternoon with Joey finishing 10th in a high quality Junior Race field and he followed this up with a runaway win in the Solo Open B race which he led from start to finish with the fastest lap of the race. 

Next up was the Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight race with Thompson on pole and Ian Lougher seventh quickest. Joey led them through at the end of the opening lap and he was never headed, eventually winning by over half a minute from the experienced Paul Owen and again posting the fastest lap of the race. 
The real race however was in the ultra-lightweight class where Lougher had come from the third row to gradually close on front row starter Justin Waring. 
With two laps to go the gap was one second, and on the penultimate lap Lougher made his move and used all his experience to just hold on to the line to take the honours and round off a very good first day for the team. 

Sunday dawned dry and sunny as Joey opened his day's account with 12th in the second Junior race and he again dominated the Solo Open B race. 
He then scored his second win in the Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight class with another dominant performance. 
Joey's lead at one point was over 13 seconds before he showed great maturity to roll off and come home with 8.4 seconds to spare. 
Meanwhile Lougher and Waring had resumed their dice from the previous day and this time it was 'local' man Waring who just got the better of the exchange with two laps to go to take the win. 
The last action for the team was in the main Spring Cup race with Joey having a solid ride to finish 11th and the second highest placed 600 rider. 

So a successful Spring Cup for Team ILR with four wins for the impressive Joey Thompson and yet another one for the circuit's most successful ever competitor Ian Lougher. 

Unofficial word regarding Ian's race win tally is that the statisticians have just stopped counting! 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"I was really impressed with Joey over the weekend. 
It was the first time for him to ride his 600 around Oliver's Mount, it's not an easy place to learn especially in mixed conditions as it was on the Saturday morning. 
But he listens carefully, taking in all the advice from myself and his mechanic Jacko, and he chipped away at steadily improving his set-up on the ZX6 and bringing his times down. 
This has shown us that he has real maturity and promise and he should take the forthcoming North-West 200 and TT races in his stride. 
As for my own results at Scarborough, I really enjoyed being back on a motorcycle, the first time since September. 
The little NSF250 Moto 3 bike did me proud, helping me win the Saturday race and narrowly missing the same on the Sunday...top do!!'' 

Joey Thompson
''We had a strong weekend at Oliver's Mount, as I had never ridden there on a 600 before. 
We were progressing leaps and bounds every session. We managed to take 4 wins on the 600 and 250 and made good progress in the main Spring Cup open race. 
The whole weekend went to plan and all at Team ILR did a superb job and thanks to my dad and sponsors for all their help. 
Also a big thank you to all the fans and supporters at the event, it makes it a great atmosphere! 
Now, on to Round 3 of BSB!'' 

From the roads it's back to the short circuits where the team will again be in the British Superbikes paddock for the continuation of the premier domestic championships at Oulton Park over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

The second round of the British Superbike Championship season at Brands Hatch saw Team ILR reduced to three riders with Ozzy Madey ruled out of participation in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 with a back injury. 

Nevertheless the team's remaining three riders were determined to put in a good showing around the short Indy circuit. 

The latest round, held as it was over the Easter weekend, saw four days of action with young Dromara rider Sam Laffins the only one not in action on the first day. 

British Supersport Championship 
In the Supersport class, Joey Thompson had a positive start to the weekend. 

In Free Practice 1, Joey finished 16th but just under a second off the top spot, and he continued to improve his times in FP2 and qualifying to finish 19th on the grid for the first of the weekend's three races. 

It was a frustrating first race though, as a poor start immediately put Thompson on the back foot and he spent the race in a group of riders all trying to break into the Top 20. 
A last lap effort by Joey just failed to get to James Hillier in 20th who he finished one place behind. 

Race 2 was only a few laps old when spots of rain began to fall as Andrew Irwin and Keith Farmer crashed out, resulting in a red flag. 

The re-start was over a reduced 14 laps and, as in the first race, a battle soon developed between Thompson and Hillier for 20th place but unfortunately Joey's race came to an end with a lap to go with an engine valve problem. 

In the feature race Thompson and Hillier were at it again with both running just outside the Top 20. 

In another red-flagged and restarted race, Joey just couldn't get past though with Hillier claiming 20th one place ahead of the Team ILR rider in a repeat of the first race placings. 

Joey Thompson
''We struggled with set-up at Round 2, but the team worked hard to try to solve the little issues. 
Unfortunately I just didn't have the pace to make it into the points in any of the races but we will keep working hard and not give up.  
Thanks to all my sponsors, dad, family and all at Team ILR for their support. 
Roll on Oliver's Mount!'' 

KTM RC British Junior Cup Championship 
Saturday morning saw Sam Laffins make his first appearance on track with Free Practice for the KTM British Junior Cup in which he finished 14th. 
Sam then went over one second quicker in qualifying to claim a spot in the middle of the fourth row of the grid for the first of the weekend's three races, with two taking place on Easter Sunday. 

The first race saw a real scrap between seven riders including Laffins, and in a dice that went to the flag Sam finished an excellent 8th and under half a second away from a Top 6 placing.  
Sam quickly settled into 6th place in the second race and again was involved in a battle for top placings when he unfortunately crashed out on the fourth lap, thankfully without injury. 

In Race 3 on Easter Monday, Laffins was 13th at the end of Lap 1 but was soon in the middle of a trio of riders sorting out 10th place with Sam determinedly holding on to this position at the chequered flag to bring another promising weekend to a close for the 15 year old. 

Sam Laffins
''The weekend started great when I qualified 11th and finished 8th in Race One, only a hundredth of a second between me and 5th place and only lapping one second off the leading group. 
For the second race I was moved up to 7th place on the grid but unfortunately I slid off at Clearways which moved me back to 12th on the grid for race 3. I finished 10th in the 3rd race and I had a continuous battle with Adam Dunn and Jordan McCord. 
Qualifying is very important in this class because you have to get away with the leading group and just go with them so falling off in the second race messed everything up for me because I was put back on the grid. 
I would like to thank all my sponsors and Team ILR and Ian for all his help over the four days. 
I would also like to thank Andy Reid, Joey Thompson and Ozzy Madey for their help improving my line and riding style. 
Roll on Knockhill.''  

National Superstock 600 Championship 
Free Practice saw Team Sandown's Robert Kennedy well to the fore as he finished third just 0.35 seconds off the fastest time. 
Saturday's second Free Practice saw Robert improve his time to finish 6th quickest and again well in the mix at only 0.4s down. 

With Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher in his corner, Sunday's qualifying would see Robert dip under 48 seconds for his best lap so far to finish on the second row of the grid for Easter Monday's race. 

Kennedy found himself down in 14th at the end of the opening lap of the race and he remained here until the halfway point when he moved into 12th with a late charge eventually placing him ninth, and still well placed in the championship in fifth. 

Robert Kennedy
ďOverall I am happy with the result as it's the first time I've ridden the Indy circuit, but at same time I'm slightly disappointed that I could not capitalise on my grid position. 
I struggled a lot in the race at the start, but as the race went on we got better. 
I am looking forward to getting more mileage on the Sandown Racing Kawasaki at a test day at Oulton Park. 
This is another new track for me to learn. 
My thanks to everyone that's made this possible for me. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"It's always nice to come away from Brands 'Scratch' with everything in one piece. 
It's an enjoyable little track but far too small to be used for BSB racing these days. 
The whole grid of riders is split by a nano second, so everybody tries so hard and with it being so early in the season most riders haven't found a good base setting for their unfamiliar machines. 
For our team, Joey was the only rider who had ridden there before, but 'RK' and young Sam acquitted themselves well with the circuit, with both getting top ten results. 
Joey's times were really good but it's such a hard and fast class he didn't manage a points finish yet, but I feel he is progressing very fast and it's not far away, plus a broken valve in race two didn't help. 
We look forward to Oulton Park next time out now." 

Brands Hatch was another positive step for the team, with the next round at Oulton Park in two weeks time. 
In the meantime the team will be at the Bob Smith Spring Cup meeting at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough this weekend.




Next Event
Joey Thompson
Robert Kennedy
Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship

''I really respect Ian and his guys, not only for their success on the track, but for the friendly reception and countless cups of coffee and biscuits afforded over the years whenever I have shown up at their garage.
I am sure that their success will continue.''

Professional Photographer
Graham Ravensdale
2017 Season
Cock O' the North Road Races: Oliver's Mount
BSB Championships: Knockhill
Post TT Races: Billown
Isle of Man TT
North-West 200

BSB Championships Round 3:
 Oulton Park
Bob Smith Spring Cup: Oliver's Mount
BSB Championships Round 2: Brands Hatch (Indy)

BSB Championships Round 1: Donington Park
2016 Images
BSB Championships Round 12: Brands GP
BSB Championships Round 10: Donington Park
BSB Championships Round 9: Oulton Park
BSB Championships Round 8: Cadwell Park
BSB Championships Round 7: Brands Hatch GP

Isle of Man TT
BSB Championships
Round 3:
Brands Hatch (Indy)
BSB Championships Round 2: Oulton Park
Suter MMX 500 First Test: ASC Vairano Circuit
Bob Smith Spring Cup: Oliver's Mount
BSB Championships Round 1: Silverstone