Ian Lougher dominated the 2005 Southern 100 road race event taking five wins and two second place finishes, in the 50th anniversary year of racing at the famous Billown Circuit in the Isle of Man. Lougher also set two new lap records and one outright race record in both Superbike and Supersport 600cc classes during the four day Isle of Man road race spectacular.
The Welshman took pole position in the opening qualifying sessions for the Senior races, riding, for the first time, the Slingshot Racing Honda Fireblade Superbike. It was another pole position again for seven times Isle of Man TT winner, Lougher, in the 600cc Supersport race onboard his more familiar Team DMRR Honda Racing CBR600RR.
In this, the inaugural meeting for the new TSR Honda 250 owned by sponsor Stuart Smith, Ian again claimed pole position for the Junior races. And riding the Lloyds TSB Offshore Bank backed Mannin Collections Honda RS125, Lougher, was narrowly beaten to pole position by team mate Chris Palmer, in 125cc qualifying.
The Southern 100 races, traditionally, run over three evenings and one full day, and the entire event ran in superb weather conditions, the strong setting sun being the main problem riders experienced during the packed race schedule around the 4.25 mile road circuit.
In the first of three 10 lap Superbike races, Lougher got the holeshot however Guy Martin was hot in his wheel tracks and with both riders in ever determined form, it wasn't long before the pair had pulled away from the rest of the field. Ian maintained the narrowiest advantage over Guy for the next seven laps, during which both riders continually broke the existing lap record. However it was Lap 8, before lan really put the hammer down and put some distance between the Honda Fireblade and the GSXR Suzuki, taking a further two seconds off the lap record. At the chequered flag it was a convincing win for Lougher, with some 9 seconds advantage over Martin with Farquhar in third.
In what turned out to be an almost carbon copy of the first race, it was again Lougher who lead for the majority of the 10 laps of the second superbike race. However, Guy Martin hit the front at mid race distance and maintained his lead for two laps, but Ian soon retaliated snatching back the lead and having got his head down pulled away from hard charging Guy Martin. At the flag it was another superb Honda Fireblade superbike victory for Lougher and a further reduction of the lap record, Guy Martin in Second and Jason Griffiths in third.
In the Superbike grand showdown; the Solo Championship race, Lougher, got an uncharacteristic poor start and found himself back in fourth slot. However by the end of Lap 1, Ian had moved the Slingshot Racing Honda Fireblade through into second place, hot on the heels of regular sparring partner Guy Martin. Guy held his lead for the next five laps until Lougher pushed the Pirelli shod Honda through to the front on lap 6. Instantly a gap appeared and Lougher's margin continued to increase over the remaining four laps. Lougher, proved he was in a class of his own and took another well deserved Honda Fireblade victory in the feature race.
Lougher:- I am delighted with the way the Slingshot Racing Honda Fireblade has performed. The bike was only built a week prior to the Southern 100 event, and we only had time for one test at Oulton Park before coming to the Isle of Man, and given the limited testing and set-up time we have had, the machine has certainly exceeded all my expectations.
In the Junior races, Stewart Smiths TSR250 Honda, proved to bring more mixed fortunes. Having qualified fastest, and after a good start in the first Junior race, Lougher was soon embroiled in a three way battle at the front with Chris Palmer and Darren Lindsay. As the race progressed and the pace increased, it became apparent that carburation of the TSR250 wasn't quite right and the bike was struggling on acceleration. However, on Lap2 Lindsay high-sided, unhurt, while being chased hard by Palmer and Lougher, these two continued the scrap, but Palmer began to slowly edge away and there was nothing Lougher could do but ride a safe race to the flag and take second position on the rostrum.
In the final Junior 250cc race and having carried out some carburation and suspension changes, the Stuart Smith Racing Honda was certainly on song after the previous days race. Lougher ran a text book race leading from start to finish and setting the fastest lap of the race on Lap 4, eventually taking the win with some 6 seconds over Palmer.
Lougher: "I enjoyed that race, the bike was running spot on today and it was nice to give Stuart and Elsie a win on their new machine in my debut meeting onboard it. I got a good start and pulled a safe gap on Chris by half race distance and then just rode consistently and kept an eye on my signal board."
In the Supersport 600cc race, Lougher was eager to follow on from his Supersport TT win on the same machine. However, a titanic battle ensued between, Lougher, Martin and Farquhar, with Lougher and Farquhar both taking turns at the front. By Lap 6, the leading pair had pulled a four second lead on Guy Martin and it was a battle that went down to the wire for the race win. As Ian and Ryan began the final lap they were side by side and it was clear neither were prepared to give up the race easily. It was only two corners from the flag where Lougher finally got the better of Farquhar, on the run down to the fourth gear Stadium Corner and the race was decided. Lougher taking the win, Farquhar in second with Guy Martin in third place.
Lougher: "That was a really hard race. The Honda CBR600RR was a little bit quicker on top end speed, and the Kawasaki slightly better on acceleration. I thought I had blown my chance as I was going to try and pass Ryan on the brakes at one of the hairpins, but I left it too late. However, I got really good drive out of Church Bends and managed to slip stream him before Stadium Corner, this then gave me the edge and I was able to get past and hold a defensive line into the last corner. I am obviously very pleased with the outcome as the 600 race, it's always such a tight race to win."
In the 125cc race, Lougher needed a minor miracle to keep up with his Mannin Collections team mate and main rival, Chris Palmer. Palmer took the holeshot, and despite riding the wheels off the Lloyds TSB Offshore backed Honda RS125, Lougher was unable to make any significant in roads into Palmers lead. Constantly finding himself caught up amongst the front running 400cc machines, which were on track at the same time, Ian was unable to get free of the pack and this gave Palmer the opportunity to significantly increase his lead. At the flag it was a Mannin Collections Lloyds TSB Offshore 1 - 2, with Palmer taking the win and Lougher in second with Darren Lindsay taking third.
Lougher: " The Southern 100 50th Anniversary meeting has obviously been an tremendous meeting me and for the team - Five wins, two seconds and two new lap records is a great testament to the effort everyone in the team has put in this week. To have come here at the beginning of the week with two out of the four machines never raced before, and to get the results we have achieved this week speaks volumes about my mechanics and the people I have around me."