Solid Debut by Loughlin at Oulton Park

Joe Loughlin:

Team ILR brought the curtain down on a Covid 19 decimated race season with a return to the British Supersport Championship paddock after a year's absence. In the close season team owner-manager Ian Lougher and main sponsor Mark Coverdale had decided to take the team in a different direction in 2020 by cutting back on BSB participation and choosing instead to concentrate the team's efforts on the pure roads. However in keeping with the team's ethos of rider development, both were pleased to support exciting Irish rider Joe Loughlin in his BSB debut, his second appearance with the team having rode brilliantly in Team ILR colours at the 2019 Ulster Grand Prix. Loughlin's first appearance at BSB coincided with his first look at the Oulton Park circuit and as a result both he and the team viewed the meeting as an experience building exercise.

Joe Loughlin is already targeting a BSB and Oulton Park return after an encouraging debut there on the Team ILR - Mark Coverdale R6 Yamaha. Photo: Team ILR

With advice from team boss Lougher, Joe took things steady from the off and had a good solid run in Free Practice 1 finishing in 18th, in the second session he improved by almost 1.5 seconds and qualifying saw him go faster by another second so he was certainly moving in the right direction.

Loughlin then had a good Sprint race, and knocked yet another second off his best lap time as he came from the tenth row of the grid to finish just outside the points in 16th.

Unfortunately Joe's Oulton adventure came to an early end in Sunday's Feature race when he came to grief at the Turn One right hander at Old Hall, thankfully without injury.

Team ILR owner-manager Ian Lougher:

"We had planned with Joe to contest the Oulton BSB meeting in May in readiness for the forthcoming North West 200 and TT events, to help get him up to speed, but because of Covid the May meeting got cancelled and we decided to take in the September races instead. To be fair I probably pushed Joe into doing it a little as there’s a long time before next year’s North West, but it was a great opportunity to see how hard and fast the BSB pace is..there aren’t any slow riders there. So it was straight in at the deep end for Joe with learning a new track and all aspects of the BSB regime, but he took to it brilliantly, learning fast, going roughly a second a lap faster each time out on track. I was impressed with him and all the team really enjoyed working with him. Unfortunately he took a tumble in his last race but luckily was unhurt, but he bettered his times once again, so was pleased with his progress."

Joe Loughlin

"I had a great weekend at Oulton Park and enjoyed every bit of it. The track was great to ride especially with the good weather we got. We had a good result in the first race and was surprised with the times I got down to on my first time there. The team were faultless and it's a pity that I had a crash in the last race, but we will be back next year all going well. Thanks to Mark Coverdale, Ian, Asa, Jacko, Willy, Danny and all my loyal sponsors for giving me the opportunity to race in a BSB event which I thought I'd never be able to do."


BSB Round 4 Win For Scotsman And INCompetition/Aprilia Team

It was a weekend to remember for Lewis Rollo and the IN Competition/Aprilia team as they have completed their most successful outing yet aboard the Aprilia RSV4. Rollo is no stranger to the top spot, having collected his first win at Donington Park with the team last year (2019).

The team were well prepared for Oulton Park, Cheshire as it is by far the toughest and most technical circuit to ride on the Bennetts British Superbike calendar, it is very much survival of the fittest.

Rollo started off his Oulton Park campaign just outside the top 5 with P6 in Free Practice one, improving to P3 in Free Practice 2, rounding off day one with a combined practice position P3 with a time of 1:39.336, only 0.9 off the top spot. With a fire in his belly Rollo went on to the Pirelli Superstock 1000 qualifying session where he managed 14 laps aboard the Aprilia RSV4, only to move up again. This time to P2 where he would remain as Chrissy Rouse took pole for the first race by 0.485.

Rollo slotted in comfortably to P2 and the front row of the grid where he had a clear view down toward the first corner for race one. The lights went out and he catapulted off the line arriving to a good bike length in front of Rouse and Danny Kent either side, but Rouse came back at Rollo going into the first corner. Rollo bided his time, hot on the tail of Chrissy Rouse he saw the perfect opportunity and cut on the inside of him at Island Bend. There was no stopping Lewis Rollo, 21 from Gifford in Scotland now as he continued to lengthen the gap between him and second place. He crossed the line in P1 after a heroic ride and was greeted by an emotional team in Parc Ferme.

He also took away a fastest lap time of 1:37.047, quickest in sectors 1 and 4 meaning he would line up on the grid for the Sundays race in pole position.

Sunday, Lewis Rollo remained calm and collected, making his way to the grid with his own routine that he follows religiously before every race. Again he got off to another good start but Rouse just had the edge into the first corner and throughout the race but it was not without trying as the duo had some great battles using the entire track, which was incredible to watch for the team. It was a drag to the flag with Rollo taking a well deserved P2.


Rogers and Luxton complete the 2021 APRILIA IN Competition Line Up

The IN Competition racing team have doubled up for the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike season with 2 new signings competing in the National Superstock class. Fraser Rogers and Ben Luxton will both be looking to get some serious rubber down as they compete for those all important podium spots aboard the new Aprilia RSV4.

Rogers will remain in the Superstock series where he will look to improve on last year's top 10 finish in the championship whilst Luxton who completes the line up, progresses up after being crowned the National Superstock 600 Champion last year.

Both riders know IN Competition owner Ian Newton well, taking Rogers under his wing when he entered and won the Aprilia Superteens in his debut season. Luxton also competed in the Superteens championship, before moving up to the Aprilia RRV450 series which he won back in 2014.

The family run team are the only team on the UK circuits to have full factory Aprilia support and both Ian & Myra Newton are confident that they have a strong and winning combination in these two riders.

Fraser Rogers -

“Honestly i’m so happy to be joining the IN Competition Aprilia team it almost feels like going home, Ian has looked after me previously in Superteens, Redbull Rookies and throughout the years of UK racing, so I believe this is the right move for me at this point in my career to try and get back to winning ways. For the first time in a number of years I feel like I have the right team and a very competitive package around and underneath me. With this in mind I have one goal for 2021 and that is to fight for the championship so myself and the team will be giving 110% to try and achieve this goal.

Complete new mindset and I'm very grateful for this opportunity so I’d like to thank Aprilia, Ian & Myra for this chance and everyone working and helping behind the scenes for me.”

Ben Luxton -

“Super excited to be joining the IN Competition Aprilia Racing Team for the 2021 season. Couldn’t be in a better place with a proven team. I’d like to thank Ian & Myra, and all my sponsors for this great opportunity.”

Team Manager - Ian Newton -

“It is great to see both Ben and Fraser back with Aprilia as a manufacturer, they both have proved that they have the grit and determination to win and are both hard working so won’t be afraid to get stuck in from the word go. Last year was great for us, coming third in the championship and we will greatly miss Lewis Rollo in the team, but that being said it was his time to progress, myself and all the team wished him well.

This year I'm sure will have its challenges, with Covid 19 continuing to rear its ugly head but that being said I think as soon as the BSB test tour kicks off and we have had a chance to put rubber down we can see what a weapon the new Aprilia RSV4 really is.

A big thank you for all the continued support from the long standing sponsors and we welcome some new sponsors who we hope will enjoy being part of the team as much as we enjoy running it.”


Bad weather doesn't dampen team spirits at second BSB test

IN Competition made the long journey across the country for the second official Bennetts British Superbike test which was to be held over 3 days. The bad weather that had been predicted came in force, hindering vital track time at the Norfolk circuit.

Fraser Rogers and Ben Luxton, both competent riders in the wet, tested the track out on day one, Tuesday but soon withdrew due to icy conditions parking up in the garages for the remainder of the day.

Day two, Wednesday saw conditions improve and the duo headed out for the second session of the day with Fraser Rogers progressing to 5th place from Rouse, Day, McConnell and Truelove. Ben Luxton had a very positive first session, he is adjusting well from the 600cc bike to the Aprilia RSV4 and spending time with manager Ian Newton is giving him confidence and preparing him well for the long season that lies ahead.

The second and final session that Rogers and Luxton would take, both pushed harder, testing out various electronic settings whereby Rogers put in a quickest time of 1:52.612 on lap 7 of 8, only 0.130 of Matt Truelove. Neither riders went out on day 3, Thursday due to the adverse weather conditions.

The team managed the time wisely, working with Richard at Maxton Suspension who was on hand for the duration of day two as well as the team ‘data guru’, Derek Huxley who worked tirelessly with the two riders to get the bikes technically sound for the start of the season.

Here's what the team had to say:
Ian Newton - Team Manager:

"Not a bad test gathering more knowledge on the new RSV4, we didn't get as much track time as we would have liked but unfortunately we can't do anything about the weather. We now have to look forward to the next test at Oulton Park."

Ben Luxton:

“Snetterton BSB second test was gearing up to be a great test with lots of track time but unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side.

Happy with the progress we are making and looking forward to getting back out at Oulton Park in just over a week's time for the next official test. Great job by IN Competition once again.”

Fraser Rogers:

“That is the Snetterton test done, we managed to get 2 dry runs with which we got 16 dry laps. We got to try out some things with the electronics where we found some small teething issues which we were then able to fix and even with these issues we still remained competitive and came in second overall. I am extremely happy with the bike but it would have been good to have some more laps, however I spent the time bonding with the team and I am really enjoying being in and around this group of people. This year it is clear that the bike and I have very good potential and together I am feeling very confident for this season. Thanks to the team for their hard work, it was a shame about the weather but we worked through a couple of things and are slowly dialling it in and figuring out what the bike likes and doesn't like with the aid of the ‘Data Derek’.

I also want to say a massive thank you to Rich from Maxton Suspension, I am really liking the new suspension. It is another new component for me and we have been working really well together, he understands my feedback and can change things immediately for me which is something I have not had before. We have a good base set up and am really looking forward to continuing on the journey up to the next official test at Oulton Park.”



After testing the ZX10-R at Brands Hatch, it was time for Ritchie Thornton to go racing again. His first round of Bemsee’s MRO Powerbikes meeting was scheduled for Oulton Park on May 9th and 10th. But Ritchie decided to take the opportunity to race with the Wirral 100 club two weeks before to test his ZX10-R out in a proper race.

“Oulton is a great track and so fast everywhere! It’s an aggressive track too and hard work if you don’t have your bike set up right’, said Ritchie. “Anyway, it took me some time to settle down and get used to this fast circuit. Now, with a lot more power after rebuilding the engine, the bike wanted to wheelie all the time, so I had to concentrate on trying to tame the thing and experimented quite a lot with suspension; the bike was airborne at times going over Clay Hill!

By pure coincidence we met Richard Adams from Maxton Suspension who was in the garage right next door. Although I’ve never met him in person, he helped me set the bike up before Cartagena a couple of years ago and has been a big help since then. He came over later and had a good chat with me, listening to what I was experiencing on the bike – like it running wide and wanting to wheelie. He was great, and made some good suggestions explaining clearly what he thought might help. What he was saying made sense and just before I went out in the last session, he altered all my settings on the rear and talked me through what it should feel like ¬¬– now that he had changed it – at certain corners. Well, it worked a treat and the bike felt so much better and more settled. I wasn’t running so wide coming out of Lodge where one of my mates thought I was going to run into the pit wall! Thanks to Richard, making a few more tweaks of my own, I was eventually able to go much faster on the bike, taking another second and-a-half off my earlier lap times.

It was a good weekend for me to learn the circuit again and I qualified 5th and finished well in 5th place in both races against some strong competition. It was just what I needed to get a race meeting under my belt, and I felt much more confident about the MRO Powerbikes Championship round that was soon to follow”

When Ritchie returned home, he noticed that a fork oil seaI had popped in the last race. As they due for a service anyway his Dad contacted Richard who said the guys in the Maxton shop would do them ready for the week after; when Ritchie and his small team would on their way back up to Oulton Park again.

“Maxton did a fine job and super-quick. They replaced the seals and found that one of the damper rods was bent! They even polished up the stanchions that had a few marks – we think from the previous owner’s crashes.” Ritchie is running a Maxton GP30 cartridge kit in the front and a Maxton GP 10 Monoshock at the rear of his 2014 Kawasaki ZX10-R.

Happy with the handling, Ritchie was all set for his race in the Powerbikes…


Ritchie qualified well on the ZX10-R putting it on P2 for the first race on Friday. The conditions were perfect, but unfortunately after a great start – which saw him leading the race by the end of the first lap – it was red-flagged and postponed due to a helicopter being called to the circuit.

Saturday’s races were going to be very different with the weather changing to heavy rain. Ritchie has experienced problems in the wet previously with this bike, particularly at Brands Hatch last year when the bike just wouldn’t grip when he accelerated out of a corner.

Once again, he consulted with Richard about the problems he was having, and he gave him some good advice and a few ideas of how to set his ZX10-R up for the wet. So, he made some big changes to the bike in the evening.

Saturday morning the rain came down as forecast; it was heavy, and Ritchie admitted that he was a bit nervous trying out the completely new suspension settings in a race. After the 2-lap warm-up session the bike felt a bit unstable. So, he made a few further changes, altering the geometry – lowering the rear and extending the front. With the bike ready to go he was just keen to get the first race out of the way.

“I just didn’t know what to expect at all.” said Ritchie, who made a great start to lead the pack into turn 1. “There was a lot of pushing and shoving on the first lap and I was stuck in 4th for a while, but then I started to get good feel from the bike, and I started to push harder. The bike was responding very well in the wet and I managed to pass Aiden Patmore and then chase down Peter Baker, eventually passing him to take the second spot across the line.”

Ritchie also achieved a strong second spot in Race 2 and a good haul of points, especially in the very wet conditions. “Thanks to the guys at Maxton I was able to change my bike’s setting to make it perform well in the wet, whereas previously it was just awful to ride. It was a good result as I’ve never ridden this bike in the wet at Oulton before”.


Strong showing at Scarborough for Hodson and Dafabet Racing

Rob Hodson and the Dafabet Racing team were in road race action at the weekend with the Bob Smith Spring Cup taking place at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough and it proved to be a good meeting for the Wigan rider with several strong results, including fourth in the feature event.

After a number of heats on Saturday around the 2.43-mile woodland circuit, the main races all took place on Sunday with the Yorkshire venue blessed with dry conditions for most of the day. Indeed, Rob was able to open his account with a solid eighth place in the morning’s Supersport 600cc race.

That was followed shortly afterwards by the feature 8-lap Bob Smith Spring Cup race but just before it was due to get underway, a short rain shower hit the circuit. However, by the time the riders arrived on the grid, the sun was shining once more, and a good start saw Rob complete the opening lap in fourth place.

It would prove to be quite a lonely race for Hodson but, lapping almost half a second quicker on the R6 Yamaha than what he had done in the earlier 600cc race, some good, consistent lap times enabled him to take a comfortable fourth place.

A number of delays then affected the race programme and the second Supersport 600cc race was cut to five laps with Rob taking seventh on this occasion. Meanwhile, he was also in action on the Z650 Kawasaki Supertwin but, after qualifying in a fine fourth position, an electrical problem surfaced on race day and kept him out of the results.

Hodson was also in action on the Greenall Racing Kawasaki machine in the three Classic Superbike events and after taking second and fourth in the first two encounters, he won the final race to round off his weekend in fine style.

Rob Hodson: “Overall, I’m pretty happy with how the weekend went and I feel that I made a big step forward at Oliver’s Mount over the course of the two days. I’m still quite inexperienced around the place compared to a lot of the other riders but I’m feeling a lot more confident with the circuit now and moved my performances up to the next level at the weekend. The Spring Cup result was obviously the highlight, but it was the strongest entry I’ve known in my time at the Mount, so all the results were good. It was obviously a shame we had the problem with the Twin as I felt a podium could have been achieved in both races, but these things happen, and the good thing is that our pace was strong. My lap times are continually improving, in all classes, so let’s keep the momentum going.”

Ben Constable, Team Co-Owner: “I think Rob’s really upped his game at Scarborough this weekend and there was a noticeable difference from where he was at the Gold Cup meeting last year to where he was on Saturday and Sunday. His confidence was high, and he’s really clicked with the circuit now – and that could be seen in both his results and lap times. He’s running with the quick lads now and by following them, he’s learnt so much more about the circuit in terms of where to overtake and where to be aggressive. The work we’ve been doing elsewhere is really paying dividends and it was really good to be at the sharp end, in what was a really competitive field.”


Hind and Lougher in the mix at Spring Cup

Jim Hind further enhanced his growing reputation as a future star with superb performances at the Spring Cup, particularly on the Team ILR - Mark Coverdale ZX-6 Kawasaki.

It was a successful Spring Cup for Team ILR as the team made the familiar trip to Oliver's Mount for the return of the popular race meeting, with the team's talented Jim Hind again among the winners as he put in performances that belied his young age. On only his third appearance at the circuit Hind won the overall award for the Supersport class and picked up two Supertwins race wins over the weekend.

This along with typically solid performances by renowned Oliver's Mount expert Ian Lougher provided the basis for a great weekend for Team ILR.

It was very slippery during practice on Saturday morning, but the early morning rain had thankfully stopped as the action proper began with Hind in action in the opening Supersport Heat over 5 laps, the race was won by Lee Johnston by 2.34 seconds from Mike Norbury with Jim in a very secure third a further 2.7s back on the Team ILR - Mark Coverdale ZX-6.

The first day also saw two heats for the Supertwins with Jim joined by his mentor Ian Lougher on Team ILR - Mark Coverdale S1-R Patons. Jamie Coward took the first race by 8.1 seconds, Lougher meanwhile was riding a great race and he determinedly defended second place for four laps from Adam McLean before just losing out on the last lap. Hind was in action in the second heat and after a great race he took the win from Rob Hodson by the narrowest of margins with just 0.439s between the two at the flag.

Ian Lougher put in some great performances on the Team ILR - Mark Coverdale S1-R Paton and was one of the busiest men in the paddock at the Spring Cup at Oliver's Mount.

Sunday's opening Supersport race saw Hind once again ride strongly on the 600. With Lee Johnston clear at the front Jim slotted himself into 4th behind Dean Harrison and Dominic Herbertson. Harrison crashed out on the third lap as Hind set about closing the gap to second placed Hertbertson and within a lap he was right on his rear wheel as the battle for second began in earnest. Johnston took the win and the end of a frantic battle saw Herbertson just edge second from Hind by 0.06 seconds.

There was disappointment for Hind in the Feature Spring Cup race as rain before the start gave way to sunshine making tyre choice a lottery, and with Jim out on the warm-up lap on the wrong tyres the team took the sensible and safe decision to withdraw the ZX6 from the race. The first of two Supertwins Group A races also ended in disappointment before it began as Hind and Lougher were both retirements after the warm-up lap, but they repaid the team's hard work in an exciting second encounter.

From pole Adam McLean grabbed the lead with Mike Norbury, Hind and Lougher pressing hard.

On the second lap Jim grabbed second from Norbury with Ian close behind and the Welshman soon took third and move clear of Norbury as Hind began his challenge for the race win. On the last lap Jim brilliantly made his move at Drury's Hairpin and went on to hold off Ulsterman McLean by 0.447 seconds for another Oliver's Mount win to add to his tally, with Ian bringing the second Paton home in a secure third.

Hind had another superb ride in the second Supersport Group A race. With Dean Harrison dominating at the front, attention turned to the race for second with Jim involved in a great tussle with Herbertson, Norbury and Joey Thompson. It was a terrific race before Hind put time into them all to take second 3.4 seconds behind Harrison and 2.35s clear of third placed Norbury.

Jim's 20 points was enough to give him the Road Racing News Supersport A title and further cement his fast growing reputation as one of the Oliver's Mount star riders.

Hard work combined with great teamwork and great performances on the track had paid dividends for Team ILR at the Spring Cup, and the focus for the team now turns to short circuit action with a return to the BSB paddock at Oulton Park at the end of June where Joe Loughlin will ride the Team ILR - Mark Coverdale R6 Yamaha, with team boss Ian Lougher also mentoring James Alderson in the Junior Superstock on his 675 Triumph.

Team ILR owner - manager Ian Lougher:

"Oliver’s Mount is always very challenging and this time was no different. It was soooo nice just to be going racing again, even catching up with everybody from the various teams was a pleasure after such a long time. The weather was fairly kind to us, only giving us a hard time just before the feature race where we chose wets instead of dry tyres for Jim’s ZX6 Kawasaki. The sun came out so Jim had no choice but to retire to the paddock after the warm up lap.

Jim is a star in the making and we all at Team ILR/Mark Coverdale thoroughly enjoy working with him. His results get better and better and on only his third visit to the track he claimed the 600 class win overall. His win in the second twins race was just a measure of his versatility too...mega. For myself I felt I rode well considering not sitting on a bike for 8 months and was pleased with my results, but it was a shame we both suffered a small mechanical issue in the first twins race which lead to our retirement. A big thank you to Mark and all our team for working so hard over the weekend, and a massive thanks to the organisers and marshals for putting on a great meeting. "

Jim Hind:

"Another fantastic weekend working with Team ILR once again, it is a faultless operation that they run and I really can't thank Ian and the team enough.

It was just good, a chilled out time, with lots learned and plenty of quick racing done in the process. "