Isle of Man
500cc Classic TT
Photos: Simon Charity   
Ian Lougher's first ever race on a Royal Enfield and his last appearance on the Mountain course saw him come to within 16 seconds of a place on the podium as he rode to a fine 4th place in the Isle of Man 500cc Classic TT.

On the Steve Linsdell prepared machine, Ian was the third quickest rider in the race with a fastest lap of 107.55mph fittingly on his last lap, and he also posted the fastest lap on a single cylinder bike and one of the quickest ever single cylinder laps around the TT course.

Despite limited practice time due to the weather and a decision to save the bike for race day, Lougher nevertheless soon settled into the race and by Ramsey on the first of four laps he was in 9th place, just under seven seconds behind Roy Richardson with whom he would do battle for most of the race, whilst in turn over five seconds ahead of Michael Dunlop.

At the end of the first lap Ian had moved into 8th, four seconds down on Alan Oversby with Richardson just over a second back, John McGuinness was a first lap retirement.

At Glen Helen on lap two Richardson had again moved ahead of Lougher and at the Bungalow Ian was in 7th, just under 10 seconds down on Richardson and four seconds behind William Dunlop who had pitted at the end of the opening lap and was now making his way back up the leaderboard, as Bruce Anstey and Cameron Donald became the latest retirements.

At the end of the lap, Paton mounted Olie Linsdell was dominating proceedings and soon a great battle developed between Dunlop on a Honda 4, Chris Palmer riding a Seeley Matchless and Norton mounted Jamie Coward.
It looked set to go right down to the wire as only four seconds separated the trio at the Bungalow on lap three but then came news that Palmer had retired at Governor's Bridge.

Lougher meanwhile was riding a steady race whilst conserving the bike to make sure of a race finish, the TT legend was now a secure fifth but was still some 8 seconds down on Richardson as they went on to their last lap.

There were now two main battles taking place, Dunlop and Coward for second and third and Richardson and Lougher for fourth. 

At Glen Helen, Dunlop had slipped into second as he and Coward consolidated their positions, Lougher meanwhile had got there almost a second quicker to narrow the gap slightly and by Ramsey Hairpin he had taken almost another three and a half seconds out of Richardson's advantage to close to within two seconds of the Blackpool man, and with his favourite and traditionally strong section of the course to come over the Mountain, Ian was looking good for fourth. 

This proved to be the case as Lougher had gone ahead by over two seconds at the Bungalow and at Cronk-ny-Mona the gap was over four seconds. 

With his quickest lap of the week, Ian brought the Royal Enfield safely home to take a great fourth, just over 15 seconds down on Coward with Richardson fifth.

So the end of an era as Ian Lougher completed his last competitive race around the Isle of Man TT circuit to bring the curtain down on a memorable and distinguished career over the famous course. 

Massive thanks to Steve and Carole Linsdell and everyone at Team Flitwick Motorcycles, and congratulations to Olie Linsdell on his race win.
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Ian Lougher on the Steve Linsdell prepared Royal Enfield during the Isle of Man Classic TT.
Photo:  Simon Charity www.simonsracepics.co.uk