Ryan Farquhar marked his return to the Irish Road Racing Championship, and in particular the Superbike class, in superb style at the weekend as the SGS International/KMR Kawasaki rider took a superb hat-trick at the Tandragee 100 road races .
Back on a 1000cc machine for the first time since 2012, Ryan qualified fourth for the Superbike class and with bad weather forecast for Saturday, the 5-lap Open race was brought forward to Friday evening. With changes to the set-up of the machine on the warm-up lap, Ryan was feeling a lot more happier with his ZX-10R Kawasaki Superstock machine and a good start saw him locked in battle with Jamie Hamilton and William Dunlop.
When Dunlop hit the front, Ryan slotted into his slipstream and the two continued to exchange the lead as they circulated close together. Going into the final lap though, Ryan was in front and he held on for a superb win, 0.4s clear of Dunlop with his best lap being just over 107mph.
As expected, Saturday dawned wet and cold and Ryan opted out of the Superbike and Supertwin – where he’d qualified on pole – races due to the forthcoming North West 200 and Isle of Man TT Races. However, he did contest the Moto 3/450/400 and Classic races, taking a hard fought win over Ian Morrell in the former and a comfortable win on Roger Winfield’s 500cc Paton in the latter.
Fellow team-member Connor Behan also had a good meeting finishing fourth on his 600cc machine in Saturday’s Superbike race and qualifying fourth in the Supertwin race. Team-mate Jeremy McWilliams, making his debut at the 5.3-mile circuit, qualified eighth and went on to take a good third in the Classic race.
Ryan Farquhar: “Everything’s gone really well this weekend and I was over the moon with the Superbike result on Friday evening. Having been away from the class for so long, it was great to mark my comeback with a win and although I was having a few set-up issues in practice, the two warm-up laps before the race allowed me to make further changes and when we came under starters orders I was really up for it. I knew on the first lap William was up for it too and we had a great battle so I was chuffed to bits to get the better of him in what was a great race.”
“I had no problems with riding in the conditions on Saturday but with the North West and TT coming up, going out on the big bike and Supertwin would simply have given me too much work to do in terms of getting the bikes ready. As it was I took out the Paton and the little 450 and whilst the former was a relatively straightforward win, the latter was anything but as Ian pushed me really hard. His 400 had more top end than my 450 and I’d say it was the hardest I’ve ever had to ride in the wet to win a race!”
“I’ve made a lot of changes to the Supertwin, going down a completely different route, and it was flying in practice so I can’t wait to ride it at the North West and TT. I’ve learnt a lot with the Stocker both here and at Scarborough too so, hopefully, I can transfer what I now know to the Superbike and we’ll be on the pace at the North West and TT right from the word go.”
Practice for the International North West 200 road races gets underway on Tuesday May 12th with the opening races taking place during the evening two days later. The feature race day takes place on Saturday 16th May.