Fantastic Farquhar dominates again at Cookstown 100
Ryan Farquhar opened his Irish road racing season in fantastic style on Saturday when he again dominated the Cookstown 100 road races. The KMR Kawasaki rider was in scintillating form around the 2.1-mile Orritor circuit and took 4 wins during the day including the feature Superbike event, extending his record number of wins at the event to 27. Indeed, it was a great day all round for the team with Jamie Hamilton finishing in 2nd place, behind Ryan, in the Supertwins race and also claiming two top ten results in the Superbike races.
The meeting didn't get off to the greatest of starts for Ryan though as an incident in Friday evening's practice session saw him catch his knee on a sandbag and be pulled off the side of the bike. As he fought to keep control, he also clipped a recticel barrier and not only did he hurt his knee he also bent the bottom yoke of the bike, his 2009 Superstock machine. Fortunately, it didn't stop him from racing on Saturday and, once the organisers had resolved a dispute with a local farmer, the day got off to a good start with a solid second place in the opening Superbike race behind Guy Martin.
It would prove to be his only defeat of the day and after taking a comfortable win, and new lap record, in the Moto 450 race, he led from start to finish in the Supersport 600cc race to win from William Dunlop by 4.1s. Next up was the main event of the day, the Cookstown 100 Superbike race, and the early stages saw Ryan go head to head with Martin once more although this time Ryan led the way. At half race distance his Suzuki-mounted rival outbraked himself and that allowed Ryan to complete his hat-trick and take another four second win, this time ahead of Michael Dunlop.
The day then ended for Ryan with another start to finish victory, and another lap record, this time in the Supertwins race where his winning margin over team-mate Hamilton was 7.5s, another 1-2 for the team after the same result at Scarborough the previous weekend. Hamilton also took two ninth place finishes in the two Superbike races thus meaning it was another excellent circuit debut for the 21-year old.
Speaking afterwards a delighted Ryan said: "What can I say, it's been another great day and everything's gone to plan so it's a fantastic start to the Irish road racing season. I could have done without Friday's wee mishap but it didn't create any issue for race day and we started the day with a good second. I was slightly disappointed though as there were yellow flags being shown where the farmer had the dispute with the organisers about his land and it was here where Guy overtook me so that was a shame as the rest of us were all obeying the flags. I then got stuck for a bit behind William and by the time I'd got by him, Guy was too far ahead for me to be able to do anything about him. The 450cc race was faultless and then with a great start in the 600cc race I was never headed. William came by off the line but he overshot the first corner and after that I never saw anyone again."
"I got a really good start in the main event and had Guy right on my tail for a few laps. He tried to overtake on about lap 5 but I was braking as late as possible so when he came up the inside, I knew he was never going to make it. After that, I was able to bring the bike home and it's great to beat all the Superbikes once more. I decided to ride my '09 Superstock bike as I know it inside out and I feel so comfortable on it that I can put it where I want to out on track. I've won tons of races on it and it never lets me down so we'll get plenty more races out of it this season. Jamie had yet another great day too and he's impressing everyone with his results, not just on the Supertwin but also on the big bike. He's been a great addition to the team and it's been a great day all round for KMR Kawasaki. There's not much time now before Tandragee so there's a lot of work to be done on the bikes whilst I also hope to be out on my Superbike for the first time this year and get a good run on it before the North West 200."
Burrows takes positives from Cookstown races
THE 2012 Irish Road Racing Championships kicked off at Cookstown on Saturday (April 28) and despite not getting the results he wanted, Cookstown/BE Racing's John Burrows took the positives from four decent top ten finishes.
Burrows started the day with sixth in the Open race that was won by Tyco Suzuki's Guy Martin before taking seventh in the Supersport race which brought victory for Ryan Farquhar. Burrows took another sixth place in the Cookstown 100 feature event before ending the day with a fifth place in the Supertwins race. Kawasaki backed Farquhar also won the Cookstown 100 and Supertwins events.
Speaking afterwards Burrows said: "If I'm honest, I felt a little rusty and I wasn't at the top of my game. My only track time this year prior to the Cookstown meeting was a day of testing at Kirkistown and it obviously wasn't enough to get me fully up to speed. However, most of the cobwebs were well and truly blown out of my system on Saturday and I'm very confident that I'll be nearer the sharp end of things at Tandragee next weekend.
"My Cookstown/BE Racing GSXR 1000 Superbike, purchased from TAS Racing during the winter, was absolutely flying, I'm more than pleased with it. The two sixth placings I took on the GSXR 1000 (in the Open and feature races) might not seem great, but all the guys ahead of me were leading international road racers. In the Open race I was only eleven seconds down on the winner (Martin) after the six laps distance and I was pleased to lap in 1 min 25. Martin's fastest lap was 1 min 24 so I wasn't a million miles off the pace.
"I was happy enough to take seventh in the Supersport race as it was my first competitive outing on the Moira Motorcycle Racing Club's CBR600 RR Honda. The CBR was a little down on top speed but we feel we know a trick or two that will get us some extra miles per hour before Tandragee. I feel the Moira bike has a lot of untapped potential.
"Fifth in the Supertwins race was my highest finish of the day but I have to say it was my most disappointing result. If I'm to win the Irish Supertwins title for a third consecutive year top three finishes are a must so the rostrum is the definite aim for Tandragee and every race after that. I don't feel the KBM Kawasaki 650 was just at its best at Cookstown so we'll have a long hard look at it before Tandragee and then come out fighting hard."
Farquhar takes three wins at Tandragee
Ryan Farquhar enjoyed another superb day of racing on Saturday with the KMR Kawasaki rider taking a hat-trick of race wins and the Man of the Meeting award at the Tandragee 100 road races. The Dungannon ace took the Open, Supertwins and Moto 450 races and backed this up with two extremely hard fought runner-up spots behind Michael Dunlop in the Supersport and feature Superbike events.
The Open race was first up for Ryan and with a good start, he led Michael Dunlop by 0.6s at the end of the first lap. The duo soon began to pull away from the rest of the field and as the race entered it's second half, Ryan began to edge away from Dunlop too. Sure enough, he was able to open up a significant gap and he eventually took the chequered flag 3.25s clear of his younger rival for his first win of the day.
The same pairing then went head to head in the Supersport 600cc race but this time it was even closer with the lead changing hands on a number of occasions. This time though it was Dunlop who prevailed and he just held off Ryan, the gap between the duo at the end of the 5 laps just 0.096 seconds! However, Ryan didn't have to wait long for his second win of the day with a start to finish victory coming in the Moto 450 race.
It was a similar story in the Supertwins race where he ran out a convincing winner by a whopping 15.4s to complete his hat-trick and that just left the main event of the day, the Tandragee 100 Superbike race. In what was without doubt the race of the day, Ryan and Michael gave the fans a race to remember as they embarked on a furious battle that went the entire race distance. There was nothing to choose between them with both taking turns in the lead but, on the final lap, Michael grabbed the lead and he held on in the run in to the flag to edge Ryan out by just 0.9s.
Team-mate Jamie Hamilton had a bit of a mixed day around the 5.5-mile venue, retiring from the first Superbike race with a broken radiator as he fell victim to all the stones that were being kicked up from the recently resurfaced circuit. However, despite the distinct lack of track time, he did take an excellent third place in the Supertwins race for another podium finish.
Speaking later, a happy Ryan commented; "It's been another great day albeit a tough one both with the hard, competitive races and with the circuit not being in the best of shape. The recent resurfacing meant there were still a lot of stones lying around and unless you were out front, you were going to receive the worst of them. Fortunately, I managed to make good starts in all the races and in the first Superbike race I was able to keep Michael at bay and edge away in the closing stages for a good win. Jamie's radiator got punctured though and that meant his day on the big bike was sadly over."
"The Moto 450 and Supertwins races gave me two comfortable wins but the other two races were anything but and it was really close between Michael and myself. He was riding really well and it was good, clean racing so I thoroughly enjoyed myself out there and can't be unhappy with two close seconds. There was nothing between us in either race but he just managed to edge by along the final straight on the last lap but I'm happy enough especially with the performance of the Superstock bike. I'm really looking forward to the NW200 and TT races on it as it's handling really, really well so we're looking in good shape."
"Jamie was a bit disappointed having to retire from the big bike races but 3rd in the Supertwins race was a great effort given his lack of track time and Tandragee's not the easiest place to learn so to finish on the podium again was superb. I'm really looking forward to the North West now and although I've a bit of work to do with the Superbike and a couple of Supertwin engines, we're looking good. That's 14 wins now for myself this season and 17 in total for the team so let's hope this good run continues!"
Triple podium tonic for Burrows
AFTER being somewhat disappointed by his results at the Cookstown 100 road races, Cookstown/BE Racing's John Burrows had promised his supporters that he would "come out fighting hard" at Tandragee and the Dungannon rider was true to his word as he got his 2012 campaign well and truly up and running with three fine podium performances at the Tandragee 100 road races in County Armagh.
Burrows was second in the Supertwins race to Ryan Farquhar and was third in both the Open and Tandragee 100 races in which he was only bettered by TT winners Farquhar and Michael Dunlop. Indeed, Burrows would have had four podium finishes had Dublin ace Derek Sheils not pushed him back to fourth in the Supersport race with a last corner pass. Overall, Burrows was more than pleased with his day's work.
He commented: "The Cookstown/BE team and I knew our performance level at Cookstown was not good enough and we realised we had been given a wake-up call. We worked hard during the run-up to Tandragee, arrived there with a positive attitude and I think our hard work and determination was well rewarded.
"In the Supertwins race, Farquhar got away at the start and I was never going to catch him. Jamie Hamilton held second for the first part of the race but once I got past him I was able to pull away and take a comfortable second position. We fitted a new engine into the KBM Kawasaki 650 after Cookstown and it made us much more competitive without doubt.
"In the Open race, Farquhar and Michael Dunlop went off into the distance and left Adrian Archibald and I to fight for third. In the closing stages Adrian dropped back, I think he'd had enough of being pelted with stones, the surface was definitely not what it should have been.
"In the feature Tandragee 100 race Adrian didn't go out. I got a good start and hung out with Farquhar and Dunlop for the first third of the race. I couldn't stay with that pair after that but they had towed me away from Michael Pearson and Derek Sheils so I was able to cruise to another third position. My Cookstown/BE Racing GSXR 1000 was absolutely flying.
"Dunlop won the Supersport race from Farquhar while I fought for third with Pearson and Sheils. I thought I had third place in the bag but Sheils found a way past me and my Moira MCRC Honda at the very last corner and I had to settle for fourth.
"Overall, it was a really good day and it was good to put a smile on the faces of my team and supporters and give Cookstown and the rest of my great sponsors some decent exposure. All the bikes were going a lot better than they were a week earlier and we're now looking forward to the following events, especially the Isle of Man TT, with renewed confidence. The Tandragee circuit is similar in many ways to the TT circuit so I know the set-up of my machinery is basically right for the 37.73 miles Mountain Circuit."
Spirited ride from Cox at Oulton
A red flag race stoppage ended Victor Cox's chances of a possible top six finish in the third round of the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 Championship at Oulton Park.
It was an eventful and spirited ride by Cox who at one point was third in the race and in the hunt for a second successive podium finish at the Cheshire circuit following his second place there last July.
It had all looked a bit different at the conclusion of qualifying though as Victor found himself in unfamiliar territory on the third row of the grid. His hopes of improving on his Qualifying One time were frustrated by a flat battery in Qualifying Two as he finished the session in 12th, 1.70s off the pace.
Thankfully the rain which had made for tricky conditions in some of the earlier races had cleared up as the field lined up for the race itself and Cox got a great start, completing the first lap in fourth position, 0.80s off the leading trio of O'Halloran, Storrar and Buchan whilst in turn leading fifth place man Gary Johnson by a similar margin. On the second lap, race leader O'Halloran came to grief at Britten's which meant Victor was now third and closing the gap slightly on the leaders. On the next lap he was demoted to fourth by Johnson and at this point he was doing his utmost to dip under the 1m:40s mark and maintain contact with the leaders. Things began to go astray on the fourth lap however as Victor ran on through at Hizzy's Chicane and lost valuable time as he completed the lap in ninth at the tail end of a four man group led by Steve Brogan in sixth. On the next circuit he began to lose the tow of the group slightly but on the seventh lap he posted his fastest lap of the weekend at 1:39.93s and caught and overhauled Lee Costello for eighth.
The two then switched positions for the next couple of laps with John McGuinness the only real threat from behind. Adam Jenkinson then crashed heavily at Island on the 10th lap, thankfully without injury, as Victor again moved into eighth, however the red flags soon came out to bring his battling performance to a premature conclusion. He was quickest through the finish line speed trap at 141.60mph.
Victor's team-mate Ash Beech had another encouraging weekend and improved his lap times with almost every outing on the circuit. Ash finished qualifying in 20th place and lined up on the fifth row of the grid alongside Conor Cummins. He spent the earlier laps alternating between 18th and 19th place and by the eighth lap he found himself in the thick of a six man battle for 16th place with the possibility of a points finish dented by the red flags on the eleventh lap.
So something of a challenging weekend for the team. Cox drops two places to eighth in the championship, however this paints a slightly false picture. Victor's accrued tally of 28 points is only three less than a trio of riders in front of him, the Wiltshire rider is also only nine points off second place in what is a highly competitive championship.
Ash Beech meanwhile continues to make great progress. The young newcomer to the class was only 0.63s behind his team mate Cox in qualifying and 0.15s behind Conor Cummins. Ash's best lap of 1:40.74s on the fifth lap of the race was a fine effort and his first points finish is surely just around the corner.
It's a busy time for the team next weekend as they head to Donington Park for the next round of the championship. Two races will act as support for the European Round of the FIM World Superbike Championship and will provide the team's sponsors with some excellent media coverage and publicity.
Whittaker wins for Maxton at BSB
Congratulations to Grant Whittaker on winning the Superstock 600 race at Oulton Park weekend.
Using a Yamaha R6 equipped with a Maxton GP10 rear shock absorber and the Maxton GP30 fork internals Grant continued his excellent form in the Metzeler National Superstock 600 Championship with a narrow victory.
Grant had a consistant qualifying session ending up in 11th place on the grid, but got a brilliant start in the race and battled at the front eventually winning after the race was stopped due to an incident on lap 10 involving two riders at Druids.
Grant now moves up to 2nd in the championship only 9 points behind leader Jake Dixon. Grant is now hoping to continue his excellent form at the next round at Donnington Park.