Ryan Farquhar opened his Irish National road race season on Saturday with a double victory at the Mid Antrim 150 road races. The Dungannon rider took the wins in the Lightweight 450 and Supertwin races to extend his record total of Irish road racing victories to 208.
Ryan arrived at the Mid Antrim battered and bruised after a spill at the infamous Craner Curves at DoningtonPark on Easter Sunday and with Friday evening’s practice session hit by bad weather, it looked at one stage as if the races weren’t going to take place. However, the organisers did a fantastic job in getting the 3.53-mile Clough circuit prepared and the racing went ahead on Saturday as planned.
First up for Ryan was the Lightweight race where he was out on his 450cc Kawasaki with the 400s and 450s mixed in with the 250cc machines. It proved to be a comfortable race for Ryan and with the race ending early after just three laps, he got the verdict in the 400/450 section by over nine seconds from Michael Sweeney. He was also fourth overall.
Next up was the 5-lap Superbike race where Ryan was in action on the IEG BMW and a good start saw him lead the race in the early stages. However, having had very little track time on the all-new BMW and Metzeler tyres, Ryan found that the set-up and handling weren’t quite where they needed to be and he eased the pace slightly, eventually crossing the line in fourth place.
His third race was the Supertwin encounter and with the SGS International/KMR Kawasaki machine having been rebuilt after the Donington crash he found himself in a battle royale with last year’s Senior Manx Grand Prix winner Malachi Mitchell-Thomas. There was little between the two 650cc Kawasaki riders but Ryan utilised all of his experience and knowledge to edge out the youngster for his 208th Irish road race win although it was one of his closest with just 0.078s between them at the end of the six laps.
With the set up on the BMW not quite where it needed to be and with rain beginning to fall, Ryan looked at the bigger picture for the season and with some big meetings in the not too distant future, most notably the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT, he opted out of the Grand Final.
Ryan Farquhar: “The crash at Donington left me feeling very second hand and it was probably the fastest crash I’ve ever had so I was definitely on the back foot when I arrived at the Mid Antrim and the wet weather on Friday didn’t help matters. The bad weather turned the paddock into a quagmire and a lot of mud got dragged onto the road but the organisers did a fantastic job under the circumstances and it was good to be back racing at the Mid Antrim as it’s a really enjoyable course and event.”
“The Lightweight 450 race was enjoyable and finishing fourth overall was pleasing whilst I had a great battle with Malachi Mitchell-Thomas in the Supertwin race. It was close all the way but I managed to get the better of him for another win. With the crash at Donington, I’d had very little time on the IEG BMW and although I led for a lap the set-up wasn’t quite right so I played with the traction control a bit to try and help the bike over the bumps and jumps. The bike’s very powerful, it turns well and stops well so once we get some good track time and get the stability sorted, I’m confident we’ll be able to make a great fist of things.”
Ryan’s next outing is the Tandragee 100 road races on Saturday April 23rd.
Picture by Stephen Davison – Pacemaker Press International