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Welcome to Team ILR...
  



Team ILR had two riders in action as the British Superbike Championship visited Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire at the weekend, with circuit newcomers Sam Laffins back in the Santander Consumer Finance KTM RC 390 British Junior Cup, and Robert Kennedy competing in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship. 

Santander Consumer Finance KTM 390 RC British Junior Cup With only a few days until he took part in the British Talent Cup selection event at Silverstone, Sam Laffins could have been forgiven for 'taking things easy', but this wasn't the case as he arrived at the nicknamed 'mini-NŁrburgring' determined to show just why he has been selected for such a prestigious opportunity this week. 
His weekend got off to a less than ideal start though when he was shunted off the track by another rider on his practice session out-lap and lost the front end when he had to take to the grass. 
This meant that his very first laps of Cadwell Park would be in qualifying! 

Undaunted Sam went out and duly qualified a brilliant sixth quickest and was in the top 6 though both speed traps. At the end of the opening lap of Race 1 on Saturday, Laffins had dropped two places but was very much in the hunt for sixth as the top five riders began to pull away in front. 

At the halfway stage Sam had made sixth place his own and had his sights set on fifth place rider Connor Thomson who was half a second in front. Sam claimed fifth on the fifth lap and next on the radar was fourth in the championship Matthew Bower who he caught and passed on the next lap after setting what would be the 4th fastest lap of the race. 
With two laps to go Laffins was holding on to 4th place, but Bower wasn't quite finished and the two had a real scrap over the next two laps which went all the way to the finish with Matthew just getting the nod by the smallest of margins. 

For Sunday morning's warm-up team boss Ian Lougher made some changes to the bike after feedback from Sam, and he immediately felt the benefit and finished in 3rd place and feeling confident.  His great ride the previous day had put him two places up the grid to head the second row for Race 2 which would again see him in a tussle with Bower and Thomson. 
This time though Laffins got the measure of his Race 1 rival to take a superb fourth place from Bower in fifth, and he set the fifth best lap of the race on his last lap. 
Sam was also third quickest through the finish line speed trap, and was in the top six through all three sectors to complete a very satisfactory weekend's work. 

Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship 
Team Sandown's Robert Kennedy has got his season back on track in recent rounds, and he maintained this momentum with an excellent performance at Cadwell. 
Practice and qualifying were held in tricky conditions with rain appearing midway through the second practice session and at the start of qualifying. 
Despite this, the team worked professionally to ensure Robert had the best set-up possible and, with the qualifying session virtually completed, he put in his best lap to finish an excellent 8th quickest, and he was also third fastest through both speed traps. 

From the third row of the grid, Kennedy got a good start and soon found himself in a safe sixth, which by the seventh lap was still looking very secure. However, on the 10th of 11 laps he was coming under real pressure from Dan Stamper and Bradley Pirie, and as they went on to the last lap the battle for sixth was very much on with only 0.4s covering the three. 

But Robert is riding with renewed confidence and he kept his nerve and rode brilliantly to fend off the challenge and hold on to sixth place. 
He also set the 4th fastest lap of the race which was only 0.314 seconds outside the new lap record to round off a very pleasing weekend for the Dundrod rider who now sits tenth in the championship. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"It's fair to say that I'm so impressed with both RK and Sam for their efforts over the weekend. 
Cadwell Park is such a difficult and strength-sapping circuit, it's hard to describe how much of an obstacle it is until you have ridden it. 
They were both first timers at the place, but worked hard and got to grips with it so quickly, it's unreal how fast learners they both are. 
Sam was unlucky not to get 4th in his first race, getting out dragged to the line by 0.024 of a second, but made up for it in race two and out paced his two nearest rivals on the last lap to claim 4th in that one. 
RK was unsure if he even liked the place after his first practice, but qualified 8th to go on and have an amazing race to bring it home in a fine 6th position." 

Sam Laffins
"Right from the beginning this has been a very challenging, but also a very rewarding meeting and arriving on the back of a recovery truck wasnít the best start, but I was looking forward to getting to grips with the challenging Cadwell track regardless. 
I enjoyed the track and quickly got to grips with it, enjoying the undulations of the back and the technical nature of the mountain section. 
After a few laps, I started to really feel confident and began to push for a good time. 
When up to speed I felt a few slides from the front and knew I could make some improvements. 
I felt very happy with my progression throughout the weekend with all the problems we had, Iíd like to thank Ian Lougher and Asa from Team ILR for their support and input, and indeed all my personal sponsors, friends and family for making this happen. 
Now on to Silverstone for the British Talent Cup trials, where I hope to keep the momentum going and give a good performance." 

Robert Kennedy
"I didn't know what to expect going into this weekend, as I had never been to Cadwell Park before! 
After FP1 I wasn't overly enjoying the track, but thanks to the hard work from Ian, Willy and my dad we made great progress as the weekend went on. 
I was over the moon with my qualifying place which has been a struggle for me this year. 
In the race itself, I made a great start and tried to go with the leading bunch, but to be honest I didnít have the track knowledge to stay with them, but I'm over the moon with 6th place. 
Just want to thank all at Team ILR and Team Sandown for all their hard work, all my sponsors for making this happen every weekend, and all my family and friends." 

The next round of both championships take place at Silverstone in three weeks time. 
In the meantime, Sam Laffins is at Silverstone for the British Talent Cup event, and Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher is back on the Isle of Man where he will take part in the Classic TT races.

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Team ILR's Dundrod newcomer Joey Thompson has already claimed his first win on the famous circuit when he romped to victory in the Dundrod 150 National race on Thursday. 

The race was red flagged after the leaders had crossed the line at the end of the third lap with Thompson holding a 6-second lead and pulling away with every turn of the wheels. Quickest in practice, Thompson dominated from the off on the Team ILR Kawasaki ZX-6 and he stamped his authority on the scheduled five-lap race leading from start to finish. 

As the lights signaled the start of the race, the 19 year old showed absolutely no nerves as he quickly powered to a lead of over two seconds from Davey Todd as Jonathan Perry, Rob Hodson and Josh Daley battled for third, some four seconds in arrears. 

At the front there was no stopping Joey and he wasn't going to be denied as he continued to carve out a now secure race winning advantage on the second lap of just over three seconds with the fastest lap of the race over Todd with British Supersport runner Daley third. 

As they finished their third lap Thompson had doubled his lead to over six seconds with Perry now ahead of Daley for third. The race was then red-flagged shortly afterward due to an incident at Joey's Windmill with the result going back a lap to give Joey his maiden race win at Dundrod. 

So Thompson went into his first Ulster Grand Prix two days later in a confident mood, and his second outing of the day saw him podium Adrian Nettleship's 125 Honda when he scored a brilliant third place in the Ultra-Lightweight race. 

With a best lap some 14 seconds quicker than his qualifying mark, Joey rode a sensible race to come home over 13 seconds clear of another rising star Adam McLean. 



If Thompson's ride on the small bike was impressive, his performance in the first Supersport encounter was no less so, as he came from 20th on the grid to brilliantly hold off the challenge of James Cowton, Ivan Lintin and Christian Elkin and bring the ZX-6 home in 12th place after a terrific race between the four. 

The second Supersport race saw Joey involved in an exciting scrap for fifth with a seven rider group including, Elkin, Coward, Cowton, Todd and Paul Jordan. 
Joint quickest through the Flying Kilo speed trap at 176.3mph, unfortunately on the last lap he hit a false neutral at Leathemstown and had to take to the grass. 
He recovered but lost 10 seconds and dropped to 10th, but his performances had deservedly clinched him the meeting's Best Newcomer Award. 
It's the second time in two years that Team ILR has achieved this, with Horst Saiger picking up the Best Newcomer Award at the 2015 event. 

The 2017 'Ulster' was a successful one for the team, and yet another meeting where Joey Thompson made a real name for himself and where everyone at Team ILR again worked so hard for him. 

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Jamie Hodson who sadly lost his life on Thursday and we wish a speedy recovery to the riders who were injured. 

The busy season continues this weekend with the next round of the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship at Cadwell Park with Robert Kennedy in action, and where Sam Laffins makes a welcome return in the KTM RC390 British Junior Cup. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"The Ulster GP is not an easy place to learn, with so many blind corners at such high speed, that's what made the circuit my favourite as it's a real challenge. 
So for 19 yr old Joey to leave Dundrod after his first visit having bagged some top results and lap times, which will have shamed some of his rivals, not to mention best newcomer in every race he entered is nothing short of mind blowing. 
It's a shame he got a false neutral on the last lap of Supersport Race 2 as a top five place was definitely on the cards. 
People kept asking me if I miss racing at Dundrod, my answer was...of course I do, but the next best thing is working with a young talented rider like Joey Thompson, who listens and wants to learn and progress, which is so very satisfying for me." 

Joey Thompson
"Ulster GP, where do we start... being a newcomer to the circuit I did not expect the performances I pulled off, getting to grips with the Dundrod circuit so quickly was a surprise but with the help from Ian's knowledge it made it a lot easier. 
Winning Race 1 was ideal as it set me up with confidence for the rest of the week, the 600 ran perfect with no issues and the Nettleship Honda RS125 was singing and we managed to qualify front row then get a podium after a hard race against Moto3s. 
It has been a very successful week and I enjoyed every minute of it, being the fastest ever 600cc newcomer topped it all off nicely. 
Thanks to my dad, Team ILR and all my sponsors and fans for a great time!"

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The ultra fast Thruxton circuit played host to the latest British Superbikes round where Team ILR were again assisting Team Sandown's Robert Kennedy in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 race. 

This was Robert's first visit to the Hampshire venue but he quickly got to grips with the place, finishing 9th and 19th in both Friday's Free Practice sessions, with 1.9 seconds covering the Top 20 riders. 

In contrast to the previous day, Saturday saw wet weather and as the riders took to the track for the qualifying session rain began to fall with the session being red flagged. 
It was re-started, but just as Robert was getting down to business on his second lap, the rain returned leaving him unable to post a quick lap and subsequently down in 20th position, and very much with it all to do in Sunday's race. 

Robert made the best of a bad situation to stay calm and steadily work his way through the field, improving his best lap time in the process and posting the fastest speed through the start-finish speed trap at 119.1mph to finish the race in 11th position and just outside the Top 10, in what was a good ride given his starting position on the grid. 

It's a two-week break now for Robert until the next round at Cadwell Park where he'll be joined by young KTM RC390 British Junior Cup rider Sam Laffins. 

For Team ILR though it's an immediate return to the roads with Joey Thompson as he makes his debut at the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod. In closing, the thoughts of everyone at Team ILR are with the family and friends of Mark Fincham who sadly lost his life in a crash in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race at Thruxton. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"Thruxton is probably one of the big balls and hardest circuits on the BSB calendar. 
That's because it is so fast and bumpy and difficult to adjust to and where you get so little time at this Hampshire track. 
But Robert took to it like a duck to water ending his first free practice in 9th position, which is an unbelievable achievement. 
He ended up with a very unlucky 20th on the grid after qualifying, after a shower of rain came at just the wrong time on the second lap of the session and wrecking his chances of a top 6 qualifying position. 
However, Robert dug deep and came within 0.2 of the winner's best lap time, coming home in a quality 11th place... top man. 
Back at the Ulster GP now with Joey "Yorkshire" Thompson. 
He is really looking forward to it and I hope I can help him carry on progressing and round off 2017 with some decent results." 

Robert Kennedy
"It was a tough but enjoyable weekend at Thruxton, and it was another new track for me to learn. 
P20 on the grid I knew it was going to be tough. 
I ended up finishing in 11th which I was ok with, and I improved my laps time by nearly 1.5 seconds. 
Big thanks to all my sponsors, Team Sandown, Team ILR, Willy, my dad, Ian and Asa and everyone else who helped me over the weekend.

A big good luck to everyone racing at the Ulster Grand Prix this week, not jealous at all."

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It's not often a 10 times TT winner and one of road racing's biggest and well known names dons a newcomer's race vest, but this was the case when Ian Lougher made his first appearance at the Armoy Road Races at the weekend, where he was joined in the newcomer ranks by Team ILR's young rising star Joey Thompson who has been guided and mentored by Lougher this season. 

The weather on Friday was far from ideal for practice and qualifying with rain showers producing some challenging circuit conditions. First up was 125GP/Moto 3 qualifying which ran in damp conditions, with the Team ILR duo of Thompson and Lougher finishing 4th and 8th respectively. 

Joey then went on to take part in Supersport and Superbike qualifying on the team's ZX-6 Kawasaki, giving a good account of himself with Top 10 placings in both. 

Friday evening's first Supersport encounter saw Thompson determinedly fight his way through to sixth when the race was stopped due to an oil slick on the circuit, a result was then declared before racing for the evening was cancelled. 

If Friday's conditions were challenging then Saturday was equally so with further rain showers and oil spillages during the day. 

First race for the team was the 125GP/Moto 3. Both Ian and Joey were running in the Top 6 in the early laps and as the race entered the closing stages Thompson went third only to disappointingly crash the 125 Honda at Church Bends thankfully without injury.  


With one eye very much on the fast approaching Classic TT, Lougher meanwhile was using all his experience and riding steadily in the tricky conditions and was having a great dice with Derek McGee until the latter retired the Joey's Bar MCC 125 Honda on the penultimate lap to leave Ian in an excellent fourth place at the flag, just over 1.5 seconds clear of fifth placed Gary Dunlop. 

With his racing over for the day, Ian was then able to commit fully to overseeing Joey's racing and the young Yorkshire rider continued to impress on the unfamiliar circuit with sixth place in the second Supersport race, where he rode brilliantly to fend off a determined challenge from Christian Elkin. 
He then had another great result in the Superbike race before rounding off his day with an excellent 6th place finish on his 600 in the Race of Legends Grand Final where he had a terrific battle with Davey Todd and Paul Jordan. 

Armoy saw another brilliant debut for Joey Thompson whose season on the roads continues to go from strength to strength as he now looks to his  Dundrod debut at the Ulster Grand Prix next week. 
Before then, it's a return to the premier domestic short circuit scene for the team this weekend as the BSB Championship rolls into Thruxton in Hampshire. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"I only decided last week to compete at the Armoy Road Races, I have been asked many times by the organisers but in recent years it was not possible due to our BSB team commitments.  
The main change of plan this time was in order to be able to help Joey out to the max with his settings on the bikes, and I thought I should experience the circuit first hand in order to do that.  
Well it worked out spot on with Joey going on to score a 6th place finish and first 600 home in the main race. 
Not to mention three other results in the top six. 
It was a shame he slipped off Adrian Nettleship's 125 whilst challenging for 2nd position as he deserved at least one rostrum.  He was fine and knows his mistake and is a very fast learner, so no problems.  
As for myself, I enjoyed my "wobble" around on our little Team ILR Moto 3 Honda very much. 
I've missed the competitiveness of racing of late and have felt a bit rusty when I do get to ride, but this has revitalized me ready for the forthcoming Classic TT where I'll be MV500 and 250 Yamaha mounted." 

Joey Thompson
"Up and Down weekend at the Armoy Road Races, weather changing every second and we managed to get some good results and show our potential on a track that we didn't know, I had my first real road racing crash at Church Bends on the 125 and crashed out of 3rd place, and then we had 4x Top 6 finishes in the 600cc Supersport and Race of Legends. 
Thanks to everyone for making this possible, my great team Ian, Asa and Jacko, dad and Adrian for working so hard in the horrible conditions and putting 2 great bikes out there! Thanks to all my sponsors and supporters for the help, another thank you to Donald and family for the accommodation and last of all thanks to all the marshals and fans for sitting out in the rain so we can go racing!"
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Joey Thompson continued his pure road racing season when he took part in the Barry Sheene Road Race Festival at the weekend at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough, a circuit on which he has always ridden particularly well.

This meeting was no exception, and on a weekend which at times was badly affected by poor weather, the young relative newcomer to this particular discipline of the sport came away from the meeting with more solid performances including two wins and a further podium place.

On a particularly tough first day due to the weather, Joey managed two top ten finishes, 6th in the Junior 600 (4th fastest lap) and 8th in the Solo Open races (second 600 rider) respectively. 

On Sunday, the Auto 66 club re-scheduled the programme to fit in the six races which were unable to be run on Saturday, so a busy day lay ahead.

The action got underway at 9 am on a drying circuit, and Thompson got his day's action off to the perfect start when he romped to a start to finish victory in the Lightweight race by over half a minute and claiming the fastest lap of the race.
With Team ILR mechanic Jacko and his dad John providing the crucial support, it was a repeat performance in the second Lightweight race when Joey again was never headed to win by almost 24 seconds on the immaculate JTR Thompson TZ250 Yamaha and again post the fastest lap.

Sandwiched between the two wins was a superb ride in the second Junior 600 race of the weekend where Joey took second place on the Team ILR ZX-6 Kawasaki, 2.44 seconds behind Jamie Coward and almost a second and a half clear of third placed James Cowton. 
Particularly pleasing was Joey recording his personal best 600 lap around Oliver's Mount, which also gave him the fastest lap of the race and the event record which was held by Daley Mathison from the previous day.

Thompson concluded his weekend with another impressive ride to take fifth in the Senior Open event where he was the highest placed 600 rider and was the third fastest rider in the race.

From the Yorkshire coast, Joey now heads to Northern Ireland where he will be joined by his mentor and Team ILR owner/manager 
Ian Lougher as they both make their debuts at the Armoy Road races this weekend.

Team ILR owner manager Ian Lougher:
"Joey is gaining in confidence at every meeting. although Saturday at Oliver's Mount was a bit of a wash out with badweather and then an oil spillage,
Sunday was Joey's best showing to date, finishing 2nd in the 600 race bettering his best lap times by over one and a half seconds. In the 1000cc race he came from 11th place on the first lap to come home in a fine 5th place.
In the 250cc event he once again took the honours on his Thompson TZ Yamaha. 
We all look forward to working with Joey next weekend at Armoy road races."


Joey Thompson:
"
What a weekend at Oliver's Mount, conditions changing all weekend put us on the back foot setting up the new Kawasaki.
Our aim was podiums in the 600 and 250cc and we achieved our target and much higher with two 250cc wins and a 2nd place in the 600 race and also taking the fastest lap of the race.

Hopefully we can carry this progression on to Armoy next weekend.
Once again thanks to all my sponsors, family and all Team ILR for the great support."
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Brands Hatch hosted the latest round of the BSB Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship with Team ILR supporting Robert Kennedy (Team Sandown) who was hoping to put his recent run of bad luck firmly behind him. 

On the popular GP circuit, Kennedy was well on the pace in Free Practice and in qualifying, but his efforts in the latter session were frustrated when he found himself caught up in traffic which would ultimately place him 11th on the grid. 
Undeterred, it was a determined Kennedy who set off in the race and it wasn't long until he was mixing it with the leaders. 

As the race settled down, Robert found himself in the middle of a fantastic battle for third place and as the race entered the last lap RK was still in the hunt for a podium place. 

At the last corner he made a brave move for fourth but just couldn't quite make it, and in turn he lost one place to cross the line in a confidence boosting 6th place. 

Brands Hatch was another big team effort by everyone, with the next round in two weeks time at the very fast Thruxton circuit in Hampshire. 

Team ILR owner/manager Ian Lougher
"After a couple of tough rounds for Robert recently he needed a really decent result to get his confidence back on track. 
We fitted some new ZCOO front and rear pads to his ZX-6 and this helped RK stop and turn the bike, especially into Druids and Stirling's corners. 

After a great start which put him in a 6 rider fight for 3rd place for the entire race, he approached the final corner and not wanting to settle for 5th place he realized he could possibly get 3rd instead, but ran a metre wide resulting in a 6th position. 
We can move on to Thruxton now in 2 weeks where he once again will be a newcomer to the circuit but with renewed confidence." 

Robert Kennedy
"We had a strong start to the weekend finishing FP1 in P2 and FP2 in 6th which I was really happy about. 
Qualifying didn't go to plan and I ended up starting the race from 11th on the grid but we got a good start and got up into 3rd. 
There was 5 of us having a dice for 3rd place and we eventually dropped back to 5th. 
I made a move for 4th in the last corner which cost me some time and ended up finishing in 6th. 
Really pleased with the result, we have made a big improvement with set up with the bike this weekend and I really felt a lot more comfortable on the bike. 
Pity we didn't get the podium today nevertheless, I am over the moon with the progress we have made this weekend. 
Big thanks to everyone who has helped me this year, especially Team Sandown and Team ILR, Willy, Andy, Ian, Asa, Greg, Sandy for all the hard work. 
Also big thanks to all my sponsors who make this possible and to my family and friends who make the trip over to support me most weekends."
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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!"
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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.''

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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."

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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."

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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!"

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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." 

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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!!"

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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."



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Current Event
Ian Lougher



''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
BSB Championships: Thruxton
BSB Championships: Brands Hatch GP

Southern 100: Billown
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
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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
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