Following their successful performances at the Junction One International North West 200 in Northern Ireland, Ian Lougher and Richard Britton are heading to the picturesque Isle of Man in preparation for the infamous TT races. The Team DMRR Honda Racing riders are no strangers to the event and have a wealth of road racing experience between them.
The 37.75-mile public roads circuit follows the perimeter of the island and passes through the small villages of Crosby and Kirk Michael and the coastal town of Ramsey. The physically demanding course presents a tricky mix of slow corners and fast straights, and even requires the scaling of a mountain. The two-week long event annually attracts thousands of spectators from all over the world.
Honda Racing has a strong pedigree on the island. In more than 40 years of compeition at the event, the Japanese manufacturer has claimed a total of 122 victories. Road racing legend Joey Dunlop scored 24 of his 26 TT victories over two decades with the factory-backed team. This year, Honda Racing is backing its riders with top machinery in a bid to increase its impressive tally of wins.
Thirty-eight-year-old Lougher has contested the Isle of Man TT for more than 20 years. Since 1984, the experienced campaigner has enjoyed six wins and 21 other podium places - one of which he claimed on his TT debut at just 18 years old.
His team-mate Britton also knows the Isle of Man TT mountain circuit well. The 34-year-old Enniskillen rider has been a regular competitor since 1998 and has achieved a number of podium places and top ten finishes throughout his career.
The Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade dominated at the highly competitive North West 200 road races two weeks ago, which is traditionally seen as an important warm-up event for the TT. The machine achieved two victories, two seconds, one third and six top ten finishes, including Lougher's impressive win aboard the Blackhorse Finance-supported CBR1000RR Fireblade in the Superstock race. It was the production-based machine's first international road racing victory.
Lougher and Britton are looking to continue Honda Racing's success aboard the race-winning Pirelli-shod Team DMRR Honda Racing Superbike and Superstock CBR1000RRs and Supersport CBR600RRs at the Isle of Man TT.
Ian Lougher: "There's nothing to match the thrill of the Isle of Man TT. When everything is going well, there's no better feeling.There's something about the event that once you have raced here, you have to keep coming back. It is so different to racing anywhere else - it is just a case of you out on your own against the circuit and the elements. I'm not forced to ride here - I do it because I want to and because I enjoy it.
"I'm aiming to be up on the rostrum in all the classes for Team DMRR Honda Racing but I know the competition is going to be tough this year. I want to win at least two of the big bike races, though the Senior class would be fantastic too! The victory in the Superstock race at the North West 200 proves how capable the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is at winning races - I can't wait to take it around the TT circuit!"
Richard Britton: "I've always been a big fan of the Isle of Man TT. The North West 200 was a great warm-up to the event, and after such great results on home soil, I'm hopeful of continuing this kind of form on the island.
"I think there are about six or seven riders that are capable of winning this year - the competition is fierce! But, I have high hopes for my Team DMRR Honda Racing CBR600RR and CBR1000RR Fireblades on the island."