Race Report Snetterton 300 2017

Welcome to TeamMTR’s latest newsletter for the 2017 season. Round 4 of the Ducati TriOptions Cup was held at Snetterton 300 circuit. Ducati TriOptions Cup Round 4 of the season came after a long 9 week break from Oulton Park, giving the team chance to recuperate some funds after the quick succession of the first 3 rounds of the season, while also being able to welcome aboard two new sponsors in Ace Taxis and DJH Installations.

Snetterton 300 is a circuit that Mike and the team had not raced at before, so it was crucial to get a good bike setup in the Friday 20 minute free practice session. Straight away it was clear to see that there was lots of time to be made up from Mikes initial pace, and that there was a lot of work to be done on the bike setup to help Mike move up the field for Saturday qualifying.

Race 1
After making some big setup changes for qualifying, Mike went 5 seconds a lap quicker from Friday to Saturday morning, proving that the teams changes overnight made a great improvement to the bikes handling. However, Mikes pace was still way off where he and the team had predicted to be, therefore achieving their worst qualifying of the season in 26th.

Some further gearing changes for race 1 ensured Mike moved up the order, and finished the race 6 positions higher, crossing the line in 20th, while also knocking a further second off the mornings lap time. Unfortunately, this was the first non-points score of the season for Mike and the team.

Race 2
With Race 1’s result from the previous day, this elevated Mike up to 23rd on the grid. This was still a long way down the order, and not where Mike is used to being. This grid position did also give Mike the chance to move a little further up the field during the race. A good start elevated Mike into 17th after lap 4, and a good race followed with other riders running a similar pace. This ensured that there was plenty of close overtakes being made by many different riders. Unfortunately, the race got cut short due to an engine blow up from another machine, meaning that the race result was declared after 7 of the scheduled 10 laps, leaving Mike disappointed with another 20th place position.

A hugely difficult weekend was had by the whole team, and the results were not what anyone had predicted before the weekend. Once again, the team lacked lots of initial pace from the start, and compared to the more established teams, were just unable to reach their level in the short amount of track time that is available at the race meetings. Unfortunately, the next couple of race meetings will be very similar, as these are circuits that Mike has never been to before. Both Mike and the team had already been expecting this part of the season to be a struggle, but it still makes the results hard to take, as Mike truly believes he has the ability to be much further up the field than he was at Snetterton 300. It just proves how hard this Championship is to be competitive in. On a more positive note, Mike was over 7 seconds faster in Sundays race than when he was in Fridays free practice, therefore showing the team had made significant steps forward throughout the weekend. As a team, we know for next years Snetterton 300 meeting, our bike setup will be capable of those lap times, giving the team a great platform to move forward again.


Thompson's Impressive Southern 100 Debut

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!"



Luke Hedger continued to show, both his, and the EHA Racing Aprilia’s pedigree with three strong performances at Brands Hatch in the National 1000cc Superstock Championship over the weekend. Sixth place was followed by a brace of fifth placed finishes in the Stock 1000 class from the 21-year-old rookie, who maintained his top six spot in the championship standings.

Speaking of his weekend aboard the EHA Racing Aprilia RSV4RR, the Gloucestershire lad said: “Overall I am very happy with my results and how the weekend went. We found a good set-up very quickly and worked from there in the first two-part race on Saturday. We were playing about with the set-up between parts one and two and couldn't quite find the sweet spot for me, but in Sunday’s race we found it. I had a brilliant race and can't thank the EHA Team enough.”

Gail Allingham – Team Manager:
“Luke had another consistent weekend with his 6,5,5 scorecard. He rode great in all his races and was pushing hard for that podium finish. Big thank you to Moreno from Aprilia and Richard from Maxton for all their help with bike set-up this weekend – it made a great difference.

"We will keep up the hard work and have no doubts as we enter the second half of the season, that those podiums will come for Luke and the team. It was also nice to have Aprilia UK personnel at Brands supporting us. As always thanks to all our sponsors for their help and support, as without them we would not be going racing. Also thanks to Tommy Hill for being with us this weekend, he presence was a big benefit to the entire team.”


Lintin takes stunning Ulster GP win and new lap record

Ivan Lintin and the Dafabet Devitt Racing team were back in road racing action at the weekend with the International Ulster Grand Prix taking place on the high-speed Dundrod circuit and it proved to be a highly successful meeting with a series of high class results including yet another race win in the Supertwin class.

Victory came in an extremely hard fought manner as the Bardney rider went head to head with Dan Cooper, the duo smashing the lap record. There was never more than a second between the pair but although Ivan led for the first four laps, with a new lap record of 120.402mph, Cooper grabbed the lead at Tournagrough on the final lap.

It looked like Ivan would have to settle for second, especially as an overtaking attempt at the Flowbog Crossroads didn’t come off but he got superb drive around the final corner and edged out his fellow Kawasaki mounted rival by just 0.024s!

His busy race programme started with Thursday’s Dundrod 150 Superbike race where a good start saw him complete the first lap of the 7.4-mile circuit in twelfth place and for the entire six laps, he was part of a thrilling six-rider battle for tenth. Positions changed hands frequently and with a fastest lap of 128.783mph, he finished the race in a solid 13th place on the Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Unfortunately, delays meant the five-lap Supertwin race was cancelled and so his next outing came in Saturday’s Ulster GP Superstock race, held over six laps. After placing 11th at the end of the first lap, he moved up into the top ten a lap later and with two laps to go, he’d moved up further to eighth. Lapping at close to 129mph once more, he duly held onto the position to secure a superb result.

Next up was the opening Supersport race and although he had a sluggish start, dropping back to 20th, he moved steadily forward and aided by his fastest ever lap of Dundrod on a 600cc machine, 125.669mph, he took a solid 14th after six highly competitive laps. With little respite for Ivan or the team, the feature 7-lap Superbike race immediately followed and after a good battle all race with Dan Cooper and Michael Sweeney, he took a strong 12th place with a best lap of 129.605mph.

After taking the aforementioned victory in the Supertwins, Ivan wrapped up his meeting with the second Superbike race and again he secured a top ten finish, a fastest lap of 129.604mph helping him take a fine ninth place.

Ivan Lintin: “It’s been a fantastic meeting and I’ve really enjoyed the week, the obvious highlight being the win in the Supertwins race. I knew it was going to be tough as it’s become a really competitive class and Dan was with me throughout. When he came by me, I thought I could have a go back at the Flowbog or Quarry Bends but I lost the front a couple of times and thought that was it.”

“I got the power on through Dawson’s as soon as I could though and managed to get the win with the lap record being a bonus. I had good rides in all of the races and although I didn’t crack the 130mph barrier this year, I had some good results on the big bike and we made good progress all week whilst I also set my quickest ever lap on a 600 so, all in all, it’s been a highly successful meeting.”

Ben Constable, Team Co-owner: “It’s been a brilliant meeting and we’re delighted with the results especially the Supertwin race. It was one of Ivan’s hardest fought wins in the class not just during the race but before it also as another rider collided with him on the warm-up lap damaging his hand and also the bike slightly. He regrouped though and it’s probably the best I’ve seen Ivan ride on the Twin so the win and the lap record were simply superb.”

“It’s been an up and down season so to come here and have strong results on both the big bike and 600 as well is very pleasing indeed. The whole team have worked really well all week and the boys did a mega job with the bikes so we’re looking forward now to the Scarborough Gold Cup and Macau Grand Prix and finishing the season strongly.”


Newcomer Thompson leaves his mark at Dundrod

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!"


Report Brands Hatch and Thruxton

Welcome to TeamMTR's latest race report. After Round 5 at Snetterton back in July, Mike and the team have travelled back down to Brands Hatch and Thruxton for Rounds 6 and 7 of the Ducati TriOptions Cup. Brands Hatch GP After the the teams last outing at Snetterton, both Mike and the team were eager to get back on track, and try to find some pace similar to the start of the season. The Brands Hatch GP circuit is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar, but not a circuit that the team had raced at beforehand. As usual, this meant Friday practice was essential to get a good setup, and learn as much about the track as possible. Unfortunately, after only 4 laps, Mike suffered the first break down of the year, causing the team to withdraw from the 20min session earlier than anticipated. The team made some quick and efficient repairs to the bike, allowing Mike to get out on circuit for that afternoons qualifying session. Mike managed to qualify in 18th, which wasn't too bad considering the lack of laps he had done beforehand. The team were confident of a solid push through the field for Saturdays race one.

Race One
As the riders went out on track, all 56 riders were on dry tyres. As the forecast predicted, rain was imminent, and while sat on the grid, the heavens opened. The team were quick on their feet, and managed to get the wet tyres and setup completed on the grid with more than enough time to spare. As the race wore on, the rain got more severe, and the correct call was made to finish the race early, completing only 5 laps of scheduled 10. Mike managed to move up the field to finish 17th. This was a slightly disappointing result, as both Mike and the team were hoping for more in some testing race conditions.

Race 2
After the torrential rain from Saturdays Race one, the team were greeted with bright blue skies for Sundays Race Two. All the Ducati riders were treated to a morning warmup, allowing Mike to grab some ever more valuable laps around the GP Circuit. After morning warmup, Mike finished the session in 12th, right back where the team believe him to be. Needless to say, Mike was looking forward to the race at 5.30pm after finding much more confidence in the bike and the circuit. Mike moved up the grid and was due to start in 17th. However, Mike was caught up in a huge accident on the warmup lap, involving 4 riders in total. This caused Mike to miss the race due to bike damage, and resulted in £1000's worth of repairs before the next meeting at Thruxton. Thankfully, Mike was uninjured in the accident. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for two of the other competitors who were involved.

After the disaster of Brands Hatch GP, the team headed to Hampshire for round 7 of the championship, only two weeks after Brands Hatch GP. After only receiving some parts from the crash the evening the team left for Thruxton, there was no way of checking the bike prior to the event, so the team went to Thruxton not really knowing if everything was correct after such a heavy impact. Thruxton being another circuit that Mike has had little experience with, the team knew the task ahead of the weekend would be tough. A much more positive Friday free practice showed the bike was fine after the crash, and Mike was able to push straight from the off. Although Mike finished the session in 19th, the team were extremely satisfied with the pace, with only 4 seconds covering the top 25 places, showing that Mike was well in touch of the riders ahead. Race 1 After qualifying a rather disappointed 20th, Mike was confident of running the pace of the top 15, and hopeful of getting back into the points. This was not to be the case, as Mike just couldn't get anywhere near the pace of the riders ahead, languishing down in 20th for much of the race.

Race 2
After the frustration of Race 1, Mike was extremely disappointed that he couldn't ride the bike how he wanted. Complaining of a lack of front end confidence, the team decided to borrow a set of uprated Ohlins front forks from another competitor. At around £2000, these forks a designed for much more track riding and racing, giving the rider masses amount of adjustment and feel for the track and different corners involved. Starting from 21st on the grid, the front forks were a big gamble for Mike to make, but the team knew that the recent results hadn't been good enough, so something had to be done to help try and bridge the gap. A good start allowed Mike to make some places up on the first lap. After 2 laps, it was clear to see that Mike was much more confident in the bike, and moving up the field lap after lap. With only 8 laps in the race (being cut short due to an earlier accident), Mike was riding over 2.5 seconds a lap faster than he'd been all weekend, highlighting the fact the front forks seem to have made an immediate impact on the handling of the bike. By the end of the race, Mike finished 14th, and back in the points, while also lapping faster that the two riders ahead of him. For Mike, this was a welcome return to the points, and in the teams eyes, where he should regularly be. To see such an improvement overnight, simply from a set of forks, was clear to see for everyone involved. This also highlights the problems that the team were having at previous meetings, with bike setup and confidence in the bike itself.

After a few very difficult rounds, with no points scored at Snetterton and Brands Hatch GP, it was a welcome return to points scoring at Thruxton. The team have decided to purchase some uprated forks, as that seems to be the missing key to Mikes problems, and the team are extremely confident of pushing on now at the last two meetings of the year at Silverstone and Assen. A special thanks to Rob Dartnell for coming up with a mini fundraiser to help pay for the new front forks, and to all companies that have all added a bit extra to the cause, ASMF, Watsonian Sidecars, S&T Services, DC Group, Bruce Hodgkins and TJ Auto Electrics. The budget has been really stretched after the Brands Hatch crash, and your donations have managed to pay for over 75% of the front forks to be done in time for Silverstone. We would also like to welcome on board another new sponsor in the shape of Conquest Carbon, who will provide us with all our exotic race parts and spares needed to run at this competitive level.


Ian Lougher's Classic TT

Team ILR's ten times Isle of Man TT winner Ian Lougher's Classic TT could be described in footballing terms as 'a game of two halves' with the disappointment of his retirement in the Senior race made up for with a fine second place ride in the Lightweight Classic TT.

As in 2016, Ian again teamed up with LayLaw Racing's Eddie Laycock and Gerry Lawlor to ride their TZ 250 Yamaha in the Lightweight Classic TT. In the Senior Classic event, Ian was entrusted to again compete on the iconic MV Agusta owned by John Chapman.

Ian arrived on the Isle of Man straight from overseeing Team ILR's efforts at the British Superbike round at Cadwell Park and soon re-acquainted himself with the 250 Yamaha at a test session at Jurby. With the cancellation of Monday evening's practice session, he wasted no time laying down the first marker of the week in the Lightweight class by topping the leaderboard with a very respectable lap of 113.99 mph with Bruce Anstey second at 113.01mph.

On Wednesday Ian again headed to Jurby for his first run on the MV and Wednesday evening saw him register his first lap on the iconic bike, and he took things steady to finish 11th quickest whilst continuing to be among the pacesetters in the Lightweight class. The following evening Ian was second quickest in the Lightweight, and he also broke the 100mph mark on the Italian machine to lap at 101.67mph to finish 8th quickest in the Senior.

Unfortunately, the weather intervened on Friday evening to bring about a cancellation of the practice session with only the Superbike and Lightweight classes running, which meant that Lougher only had four laps of practice on the MV Agusta during the week.

Both Ian's races took place the following day and, after a short delay due to an oil spill, racing got underway with the Welshman carrying the illustrious but not exactly ideal Number 1 plate, getting proceedings underway in the Senior Classic TT. Unfortunately, it was to be a short lived race as Ian was soon reported as a retirement at Greeba Bridge.

Lougher then dusted himself down from this disappointment to take part in the Lightweight Classic TT in the afternoon. Again first away, he settled into a steady rhythm and rode his own race as Bruce Anstey set a blistering pace to lead the race.

As they pitted at the end of the second of four laps, Ian was riding well and was lying fourth just 8 seconds behind third placed Michael Rutter.

On Lap 3 Daniel Sayle retired from second as Rutter and Lougher now battled for second with 13 seconds splitting the two. But by Ballaugh on the last lap, the deficit was down to 8 seconds as back markers came into play for both riders. Over Ian's favourite Mountain section the gap to Rutter was halved, but he couldn't quite get there to finish the race with just 2.36 seconds separating the two.

However, it didn't end there as the post-race technical inspection revealed an irregularity, with Michael's Ducati having an oversize fuel tank and therefore eliminating him from the race and elevating Lougher to second place to repeat last year's result for the Laylaw Racing team.

Ian Lougher:
"Well the Classic TT is over once again, and what a great festival it is too, everybody enjoying it more and more each time. For me, it was great in some ways and a little frustrating in others. It puts a bit more pressure on you when you go off at number one too, but I've done it before and can handle it ok, except it's a little more difficult when you have Bruce starting right behind you on such a quick bike. Congratulations to Bruce on being the first person to do a 120mph lap on a 250, although I did say long ago it was possible if everything clicked on the day. On my Laylaw Racing Yamaha, Eddie and Gerry and all the guys worked hard to give me a great bike, but I do feel we missed something in getting the best out of the bike on the day. Two strokes are difficult in getting the right compromise between speed and reliability, but we'll bounce back next year with some trick bits of our own to surprise a few people. On John Chapman's MV500 we managed 4 laps in practice, Arran, John, Carl and the guys had worked wonders on lots of aspects on the bike, so I felt really comfortable and confident on the bike going into the race and looking forward to a rostrum finish. But it wasn't to be as I think it dropped a valve as I approached Greeba on the first lap...so disappointing for everybody involved. I would have loved to have given John Chapman a really decent finish as he has put so much work and effort into this project, but we'll have to wait for another year at least now. From Asa and myself, I want to thank both the Laylaw Racing and John Chapman camps for all their hard work and enthusiasm, and look forward to working together again soon."



EHA Racing Aprilia mounted Luke Hedger took eleventh place from today’s National 1000cc Superstock race at Silverstone during round ten of the 2017 series. He currently holds eighth place in the championship standings with two rounds remaining.

Speaking afterwards Hedger said: “Overall the weekend has been very disappointing for me and my guys in the EHA Racing team. Lack of track time and inconsistent weather didn't help us out with bike set up – that’s the long and short of it. My qualifying let me down and it was a hard race. We had the pace at the end of the race, but I was too far back at that point to make it count We are looking towards Oulton this coming week now, where we know we have good pace.”

Gail Allingham – Team Manager:
“We were hoping to finish a bit higher than our eleventh place with Luke today. He was running the same pace as the leaders at the end of the race, so we know we are capable of running at the front on the EHA Racing Aprilia, it just didn't happen for us today. We have two races at Oulton so we will be pushing for our maiden podium. Thanks to all our sponsors for their continued support."