Team ILR – Solid Debut by Loughlin at Oulton Park
Joe Loughlin on the grid at Oulton Park with Team ILR owner-manager Ian Lougher.
Photo: Team ILR
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.
Joe Loughlin, Team ILR boss Ian Lougher and team mechanics Jacko and Willy with the Team ILR – Mark Coverdale R6 Yamaha.
Photo: Team ILR
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.”
“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.”