Welsh motorbike racer Ian Lougher is drawing positives despite a frustrating practice week at the 2016 Isle of Man TT. Lougher, who retired from racing in 2013, is back at the TT on a two stroke 576cc Suter.
After an inconsistent week of qualifying where Lougher was forced to retire twice, the Welshman remained in a buoyant mood with the RST Superbike coming up on Saturday morning.
“I’m drawing positives from the week. I didn’t really know where to aim”, said Lougher. “It’s been frustrating but I’m taking the positives out of it really”.
Ten time TT winner Lougher added: “We haven’t had a good night yet really. We’re just under 120 mph which is really poor but it was cutting out a lot over the Mountain”.
The Welshman stayed positive ahead of Saturday’s opening race. “It was going better last night (Thursday), handling better, it’s getting there now but we just need another step”, he added: “I never made the full lap, I got to Sulby Bridge and they black flagged me because there was oil being drawn from the gearbox into the engine which was burning it and it was coming out of the exhaust.”
The 52 year old is likely to use tomorrow’s race as a practice session after a hit and miss week. “I’m going to use tomorrow’s race as practice I think and just see where we go from there. Hopefully by next Friday we’ll have a better result. The bike is definitely capable of doing 126 mph maybe even 128 mph”.
Suter owner, Eskil Suter has jetted in to help the team out and Lougher applauded his work ethic. “Eskil is here, he’s never been here before, the weather’s great, he’s come in straight away on the spanners working away, he’s a hands on guy.”
Lougher believes that by next year, at least, the bike will be more competitive. “Once you get the right mapping it’ll be a brilliant motorcycle. This is an on-going project, no two-stroke has been made with fuel injection before really, it just shows how big the project is, not even Honda have done one, so that says it all really.”
Lougher also explained a near miss with a pheasant during practice week, “I almost hit a pheasant one night, that was interesting. Luckily it didn’t fly up or anything. I missed it by about two feet, other than that it’s all been hunky-dory”.
Ahead of tomorrow’s race, Lougher enjoyed a solid Friday night practice session, completing three laps all above 120 mph, his best being his last at 121.1096 mph.