Ryan Farquhar battled his way through the difficult weather conditions at the Armoy 'Race of Legends' Road Races on Saturday to add two more wins to his haul for the season. The KMR Kawasaki rider took victory in the Supertwins and 450cc races whilst also claiming three more podiums thus ensuring another successful day's racing.
Conditions changed throughout the day as the rain came and went but Ryan opened his account with a comfortable victory in the Moto 450cc race, which was held in wet weather. The rain worsened for the Supersport 600cc race and after two warm up laps, the riders spoke to the officials and, with lots of standing water, the race was delayed. When it resumed, Ryan grabbed the holeshot and led for the opening three laps before the rain returned and so signalled to the officials, who had agreed to stop the race if conditions became unrideable. Michael Dunlop passed Ryan just before the line and, with another lap being completed, it was he was awarded the victory when the race was eventually stopped.
Next up for Ryan was the first Superbike race and, with conditions still wet, he opted to take out his 600cc machine once more. Despite being at a major disadvantage against the 1000cc machines, he led for the first two laps before being overhauled by Dunlop and Guy Martin but third was an excellent result given the horsepower deficit. Meanwhile, team-mate Jamie Hamilton took a solid eighth and the duo then went head to head in the Supertwins race. There was little between the two but it all went wrong when Hamilton tried to out-brake his team leader and he crashed out. That enabled Ryan to take the win from Adrian Archibald and Michael Sweeney.
The Grand Final was Ryan's last race of the day and he again went head to head with Dunlop, leading in the early stages before his younger rival found a way through. There was nothing separating the two until the closing few laps when backmarkers came into play and it was enough to allow Michael to edge out a gap and so Ryan had to settle for second at the chequered flag.
Speaking later, a pleased Ryan said; "It's been a challenging day with the ever-changing weather conditions but they improved as the day wore on and we all got some good races in. It was really wet at the beginning of the day, especially in the 600cc race where there was that much surface water, it simply wasn't safe to continue. The officials gave it some time to dry up and said if it started raining again, raise our hands. I did that and although the race win eventually went to Michael, I had no qualms finishing second on a race decided on safety grounds. With conditions still being far from ideal, I decided to take the 600 out for the Superbike race and I was pleased with third given the fact I was up against 1000cc bikes."
"The Supertwins race was going well for the team until Jamie crashed and I was lucky not to get caught up with him. Luckily he was ok but it's a real shame as the bike is pretty badly bent and there might not be enough time to get it repaired for the Ulster. I managed to hold on to the win and that just left the Grand Final where I had a great battle with Michael. The Superbike's about 95% there now and I'm just struggling to get the engine braking sorted but it was a real good race. It was a just a pity backmarkers came into play at the end as it would have been nice to have gone into the final lap with it all still to play for but I'm happy enough. I'm happy with the bike and I'm definitely going in the right direction so, overall, it's been a solid day."
COOKSTOWN/BE Racing's John Burrows had a tough time at the Armoy road races but he emerged from the popular meeting with his head held high after a more than decent top six performance in the Supersport race.
Burrows and his Cookstown/BE Suzuki GSXR 1000 Superbike didn't get a finish from two attempts which was disappointing after a more than promising qualifying session.
John said: "I qualified sixth for the two Superbike events, splitting the two Tyco Suzuki men Guy Martin and Conor Cummins. I was quite comfortable following Martin in qualifying and was just 0.39 of a second slower than him. I was full of confidence for the two big bike races after qualifying ahead of Cummins, Derek Sheils, Jamie Hamilton, Davy Morgan and some other notables.
"When the Superbike Championship race started I tucked in behind Cummins on the first lap and was just settling down when my race came to a sudden end. Hamilton tried to pass me on the outside at Church Bends, we tangled, I had to run wide, clipped the kerb and ended up in the air bales. Race over for me!
"The bike was not too badly damaged and we got it ready for the Grand Final. I was sure I could get a top six finish but an electrical problem soon surfaced, which was the result of the earlier crash, and I was forced to retire."
Burrows qualified tenth for the Supersport 600 race on the Moira Club supported Cookstown/BE Yamaha R6 but was a man on a mission come the rain-swept race.
He commented: "Qualifying tenth meant I had to start the 600 race from the second group. I got a good start and after I got the scent of a few group A guys ahead of me I really went for it and actually caught and passed Adrian Archibald and Brian McCormack.
"In the end I ended up sixth, just four hundredths of a second behind factory Suzuki man Guy Martin."
Burrows' hopes of a top three finish at Armoy were dashed by an engine failure in the Supertwins qualifying session.
A frustrated Burrows said: "I qualified fourth for the Supertwins race and had genuine prospects of a top three finish as the KBM Kawasaki 650 was really flying. However, after the qualifying session was over the team discovered a major engine problem and the only option I had was to regretfully withdraw from the race.
"Overall, it's disappointing to come away from the meeting with only one finish to show for all out efforts but we showed we had top six pace in every class and when you look at the international quality entry there was here then there's plenty of reasons to be positive as we head for the Ulster Grand Prix."
Ryan Farquhar ensured his International road race season ended on a high note when he claimed victory in the Supertwins race at the Ulster Grand Prix on Saturday. The win meant that the KMR Kawasaki rider completed the set after already having taken victory in the corresponding races at the Isle of Man TT and North West 200.
Tim Reeves and Ashley Hawes retained the top spot in the 2012 World Sidecar Championship at the weekend when they took two hard fought podium positions at Oschersleben, Germany. The duo took second and third in the two races to open up a one-point advantage over new second placed team Jorg Steinhausen/Gregory Cluze.
With perfect weather conditions at the German venue over the three days of action, Tim and Ashley put in a steady performance during qualifying and lined up in fifth on the grid. With just half a second covering the top five crews, two more close races were in store. A great start to Saturday’s 15-lap race saw Tim and Ashley lead in the early stages of the race only to be overhauled by polesetters Steinhausen/Cluze. Tim then came under pressure from Pekka Paivarinta/Adolf Hanni and with just a handful of laps to go, he ran wide at the chicane, handing the place to the Finnish driver. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to regain the runner-up spot and so had to settle for third. The result meant that reigning World Champion Paivarinta went to the top of the Championship table, with Steinhausen in second and Tim and Ashley dropping back to third.
Sunday’s longer 22-lap race saw Tim make a steadier start to the race and he lay in fourth place in the early stages. Paivarinta was penalised for overtaking under a yellow flag and so dropped back to sixth after serving a drive-through penalty whilst Tim’s tactic of saving his tyres came into play in the second half of the race. Slowly but surely he began to reel in race leaders Ben and Tom Birchall and Steinhausen/Cluze only to run into backmarkers and start the process all over again. He managed to get the German driver but ran out of time to catch the Birchalls and so took second place at the chequered flag, four seconds adrift of his fellow countrymen. However, the result meant that Tim and Ashley went back into the lead of the Championship with 156 points and with just one race now remaining, they have a slender one point lead over Steinhausen/Cluze. The Birchalls are just three points further back in third whilst Paivarinta is in fourth on 151 points so with just 5 points separating the leading quartet it promises to be a frantic final round!
Speaking later, a pleased Tim said; “Oschersleben’s never been one of my happiest hunting grounds so to come away with two podiums and the Championship lead is brilliant. I was happy enough with my grid position as I didn’t want to keep wasting money on tyres and with a flyer of a start, the first race was going really well. I got passed fair and square by Jorg and I didn’t have an answer to him as he was driving really well so it was all about trying to hold Pekka off. I made a small mistake at the chicane though and it was enough to let him through but I was happy enough with third.”
“I knew I’d have to pull my finger out though for the main race and I concentrated on maintaining the gap to the leaders whilst conserving the tyres. In the second half of the race, I had a bit more grip than the others and was able to start moving forward although all the work was undone when I got a bad run through the backmarkers. I got back up to second and although it was too late to catch Ben and Tom, I was pleased with the result and to be back on top of the title table is just what I wanted. The bike was stripped at the end of the race and the scrutineers confirmed it was all 100% legal so it was nice to silence a few of the doubters too.”
“I’ve got my worst circuit out of the way and it’s all very much to play for now. I enjoy Le Mans and although there are a few permutations about who can finish where, it’s basically a case of winners takes all! I’m feeling confident and am firmly aiming at reclaiming the number one plate so a big thanks to all the team especially Dave Hudspeth Carpets, Gunter Reuschling, the Haith family, H&S Contractors and Q8 oils.”
Tim will now focus on having his engines refreshed before undertaking some testing in preparation for the final round which takes place at Le Mans, France on September 8th.
There was disappointment for ILR Kawasaki's Victor Cox as he finished 11th in the latest round of the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 Championship at a weather hit Cadwell Park on August Bank Holiday Monday, his team-mate Ash Beech rode strongly to bring the second Ninja ZX-10R home in 21st place.
Free practice saw Cox again on the pace from the start as he finished 4th just over half a second off the pace and fourth quickest through the second and third sectors. Beech was down in 35th, a placing that didn't however paint a true picture as the young Moorside rider had little, if any, experience round Cadwell Park on a four stroke before the weekend so he had lots to learn round the narrow, twisty and undulating 2.25 miles Lincolnshire circuit.
Wet conditions greeted the riders for the start of First Qualifying, but as conditions improved mid-session Cox began to push for provisional pole. Sixth and third quickest through the first two sectors, he would eventually finish in the hunt in 5th place. Beech meanwhile was going about things in a calm and measured way, joint fourth through the finish line speed trap, Ash completed the session in 17th place.
The second session the following day began in dry conditions but there was drama to come, with the riders on their fourth lap the rain again made its presence felt forcing a premature end to the session. Victor had been down in 40th position in the early stages but his fourth lap was good enough to qualify him in 8th position. Ash meanwhile was nearly caught out in the worsening conditions as he almost came to grief, thankfully he didn't and he qualified in 30th and facing the prospect of a lot of traffic to contend with in the race itself.
So as both riders looked forward to a strong race the weather again prepared to play a part in proceedings. As the teams arrived on the grid the rain which had plaqued the meeting all weekend returned, forcing the organisers to delay the start and enable the teams to make any necessary tyre changes. When the race got underway Cox got a good start and was up to 6th at the end of the opening lap but his good work was undone on the next lap. In extremely tricky conditions, and struggling for grip in places, Victor attempted to pass Jonathan Howarth at Park Corner and ran on to the grass. He re-joined the race in 12th and, lapping strongly he soon fought his way back into the top 10 before eventually finishing in 11th just 0.38s away from a top ten finish. Further back Beech was riding steadily, down in 28th place for the opening few laps he then gained a place to 27th but at half race distance he began to find his rhythm and lapping close to the times of his team-mate, he began a charge which would take him to 21st position.
So Victor's hopes of closing the gap to the championship leaders were dashed by his second lap excursion off the track, but his spirited ride to 11th earned him 5 valuable points and he still retains his third place in the championship, level on points with Jimmy Storrar whilst Ash Beech again impressed on what was effectively his four stroke debut on one of the more physically demanding circuits on the BSB calendar.
Victor Cox: 'The weather has been a real pain at Cadwell. I thought we could have had a good result here but unfortunately it just didn't work out. Again massive thanks to the team for all their hard work and I can't wait for Donington Park now.'
Ash Beech: 'I always knew I would struggle round Cadwell due to never having been round there on a big bike before. In practice I struggled to get to grips with the bike but I stuck at it and got more and more confident with every lap. I qualified 30th which wasn't ideal due to being caught out with the rain in second qualifying. In the race the conditions were tricky but I was getting faster with every lap, however it's a difficult circuit to pass on. Now this race is out of the way, I'm looking forward to getting back to the fast flowing tracks. A big thanks to Nigel and the team as they never stopped working.'Back
The Killyman rider had earlier in the day won the 500cc Classic Manx Grand Prix, his 10th win at the event and what will go down as his last ever road race win, whilst Nigel Moore went on to win the Supertwin race on another of Ryan’s KMR machines. With Ferguson lying in second place at the time of the accident, what looked like being a huge day of celebration for Ryan and his team instead ended in heartbreak.
Trevor was a racer of vast experience, having competed for over 30 years, and he was a regular at the Manx GP, recording a best finish of 6th in the 2008 Junior race and posting a best lap of almost 115mph. He had finished 11th in last Monday’s Junior race and was on course for a dream debut podium finish in the Supertwins race until the incident occurred. Having spoken previously about scaling down his road racing activities in 2013, the loss of such a close family member has sadly meant Ryan’s decision has been made under the saddest of circumstances.
Speaking on Monday, a devastated Ryan said; “For me, racing will never be the same again and I’m absolutely gutted by the tragic events of last week so I’ve decided to stop racing with immediate effect. Trevor played a huge part in my career and I made my debut on his bike back in 1995 – I was 6 years old when I first saw him race and he was with me from the very first day of my own racing career right up until the very last. He was always 100% behind me and whilst we didn’t always agree on everything, he was my biggest supporter and there was always plenty of banter. His whole year revolved around the Manx and he wanted to ride my Supertwin whilst it was also his idea for Nigel to ride the other one.”
“My Supertwin means more to me than any other bike and Trevor was the only person I’d ever let ride it. He was the safest rider out there and I never in a million years thought something like this would have happened. I know he died doing what he loved and he was getting boards to say ‘P2’ so I know he would have had a big smile on his face and enjoying himself to the full. After winning the morning’s Classic race and with Nigel and Trevor running 1-2 in the Supertwins race, everything was going perfectly and it was shaping up to be one of the finest days of my career. Sadly, Trevor didn’t make it to the pit stop at the end of the second lap and the celebrations never came. With Nigel winning the race though, I know he'll be looking down a very proud man as he was very fond of Nigel and it would have meant to a lot to him that he won."
"Our whole world’s been turned upside down and I don’t ever want Karen and my two girls to go through something like this. I would have loved to have equalled Bob Heath’s record of 11 wins at the Manx, made it 200 National road race wins in Ireland and 100 at Scarborough later this month but it’s not meant to be. It’s too early to say what the future holds for KMR Kawasaki but, if I can, I’d like to continue running the team. I love the sport dearly so I’d like to pass on my experience to a good, young rider in 2013, hopefully Jamie, but it will all depend on what sponsorship we can pull together. Like I say though, it’s too early to say and there are more important things on my mind at present.”
“I wish I wasn’t retiring under such terribly sad circumstances but it’s happened and we’re all trying to get through the day as best we can. I'm hoping Jamie will race at both Killalane and the Scarborough Gold Cup as I know Trevor wouldn't want him not to whilst I’m also hopefully going to make it to the Gold Cup to take the bikes out for a couple of parade laps as I’d like to say thank you to all my sponsors and fans as the support I’ve received from people during my career has been tremendous. I’d like to bring Karen and the girls and Trevor’s family with me too so we can all say a big thank you to everyone.”
Ryan retires as the most successful rider ever in the history of Irish National road racing with a staggering 199 wins to his name. A multiple winner at the Isle of Man TT, North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix, the 36-year old also won the inaugural Supertwin races at all three of the International road races in 2012 and will go in the record books as one of the greatest road racers the sport has ever seen.Back