Lougher is the most successful rider ever at the North Yorkshire venue with 114 wins to his credit before the meeting and it wasn't long before he made it 115 when he took the honours in the second of the four-lap heats for the Ian Watson Spring Cup. Michael Pearson got the holeshot and at the end of the opening lap it was Pearson who led from Kiaran Hankin, Ian, Steve Mercer and Mick Goodings. At the end of the third lap it was still Pearson with Ian now looking threatening in second and Hankin in third, all covered by a second or so. As they crossed the finsh line a lap later it was Lougher by 0.311 of a second from Hankin with Pearson third.
Ian had no time for a rest as he was out again in race five in the programme, the first eight lap leg for 125cc and 400cc machines. This time he got the holeshot with his friend and rival Chris Palmer tucked in behind. At the end of the first lap Ian led by just under half a second from Palmer with Peter Wakefield in third and William Dunlop fourth. By lap five Lougher and Palmer were still contesting the lead with Palmer taking over at the front on the sixth lap and he still led as they entered the final lap, but at the flag it was Ian by 8/10ths of a second from Palmer with William Dunlop taking the final podium place.
Ian's busy afternoon continued as he was straight out again on the Team Blackhorse Yamaha R6 Supersport machine for the first 600cc race, again over eight laps. Michael Pearson was first away, followed by Lougher with Daniel Frear in third. Pearson was still in front at the end of the opening lap, but the race was red flagged on the second lap. At the re-start, over six laps, Daniel Frear was first into Mere Hairpin and still led by 0.137 of a second at the end of the first circuit with Pearson second and Farquhar third. Lougher, Hankin and Palmer were next up. A lap later it was Farquhar, Pearson, Lougher, Frear, Hankin and Mulleady. However, on lap four as Ian was challenging for second place, he was hit from behind at Mountside Hairpin and knocked from his bike with Farquhar also going down, both without serious injury. The race was once again red flagged with a result declared at lap 2.
Undaunted, but nevertheless fairly well battered, Lougher came to the line on the Barnes 250 for the eight lap 250cc race. He took his place on the front row with William Dunlop, Chris Palmer and Lee Vernon. Ian got off to a flyer from Palmer and Dunlop and at the end of the opening lap had opened up a gap of over 3.5 seconds on Vernon with Palmer third. Palmer moved into second place on Lap 2, however Ian had extended his lead to 4.1 seconds, Vernon remained third with Phil Harvey fourth, Derek Clark fifth and Olie Linsdell sixth. By half distance Lougher had added another half second to his advantage and by the end of the fifth lap the gap was up to 6.3 seconds, and a lap later it was extended by another two seconds. Despite being in a lot of discomfort, Ian was nevertheless riding superbly and on the penultimate lap the lead was now over 9 seconds and at the flag it was Lougher by eight seconds from Palmer, Vernon, Harvey, Dunlop and Linsdell.
Race 9 was the eight lap first leg of the Ian Watson Spring Cup. Lougher was again on the front row with Ryan Farquhar, Kiaran Hankin and Michael Pearson but on the opening lap it had become obvious that the injuries from his 'off' in the earlier 600cc Supersport event and his brave efforts in the 250cc race had combined to take their toll and Ian wisely came into the paddock to retire from the race and subsequently, from the rest of the meeting.
So a disappointing end to what was shaping up to be another highly successful day for Ian and the team on the 2.43-mile public road course. However, despite the physical pain, he can take comfort from another three race wins which brings his tally to an incredible 117. The meeting also saw his first competitive outing on the AIM Racing Superbike which he is extremely impressed with, and having won his superbike heat it's certainly looking good for the rest of the season.
Next stop for Team Blackhorse Yamaha is Oulton Park, Cheshire on the May Day Bank Holiday weekend (2-4 May) where Conor Cummins will be in action in the second round of the BSB 1000cc Superstock Championship.