Ryan Farquhar took a fairytale win at the International North West 200 road races on Thursday when the SGS International/KMR Kawasaki rider stormed to his fifth victory around the 8.9-mile circuit in superb style. And to cap a brilliant day, Jeremy McWilliams crossed the line just behind in second to give the team a dream 1-2 result.
With Tuesday’s qualifying session seeing wet weather and Thursday’s run in dry, sunny conditions an alternative grid saw Ryan line up in pole position and Jeremy in fifth for the four lap race. The evening saw perfect conditions all around the course and although one of the expected challengers, James Hillier, was a non starter, it was expected to be a tight race – and so proved.
Ryan grabbed the lead from the outset and led former Grand Prix winner McWilliams by almost two seconds at the completion of the first lap with Martin Jessopp in third and Jamie Hamilton in fourth although Jessopp was hit with a 60 second penalty for jumping the start. At the head of the field, Ryan still led but at half race distance the gap was down to 1.5s and, going into the final lap, Jeremy was only a second adrift.
It would be a grandstand finish between the team-mates and bit by by Jeremy closed in on the final circuit, particularly on the brakes. He hit the front for the first time going into Metropole but Ryan retaliated immediately and, using his road racing prowess along the coast road, along with posting the fastest lap of the race at 107.938mph, he took the win by 1.2s.
There was further joy for the team when Canadian newcomer Darren James took an excellent ninth place.
Ryan Farquhar: “Where do I start? It really has been a fairytale for me to win today and it makes all the hours of work and effort over the winter months worthwhile. I was caught off guard when I made my comeback last year so I’ve been working really hard to develop the bike and it’s certainly paid off today. I got a good start but made a bit of a gamble with the gearing and although I was struggling to pull the gearing I needed, everything went well in the race.”
“I knew Jeremy wouldn’t be far away and also knew at what sections of the course he’d be strong. The top end of his bike was slightly better than mine but the difference in the gearing we were running made a massive difference. As soon as he came by me on the brakes, I got back up the inside and knew that I was stronger from there on in on what I’d call the road racer’s section of the course. I’m more at home between the kerbs and walls and gave it my all along the coast road to come home for the win.”
“To take a 1-2 is brilliant for the team and for Darren to take a top ten finish on his debut too caps things off. It’s been good to have him involved with the team and having an International rider come here, ride well and enjoy himself sends a good message to the other side of the world.”
Ryan has a busy day in store on Saturday with outings in the Superbike, Superstock and Supertwins races.
Picture by Stephen Davison – Pacemaker International