Farquhar dominates at CookstownThe Ryan Farquhar steam roller showed no signs of slowing down at the weekend when the KMR Kawasaki rider dominated the racing at Saturday's Cookstown 100 road races taking no less than 5 race wins. Hot on the heels of his eight wins at Oliver's Mount, Farquhar won all five of the races he started around the 2.1-mile Orritor circuit, the first time anyone has won 5 Irish National road races in one day, including the feature Superbike race.
Ryan opened his account with a hard fought win in the 125cc race where, riding his KX450F, he managed to get the better of William Dunlop on the final lap for his first win of the day. Next up was the Open race where, with a brilliant start, Ryan was never headed and with a lead of 8 seconds at half race distance, he was able to ease off in the closing stages for a comfortbale victory. The Supersport 600cc race was another close encounter with Ryan and Michael Dunlop never more than half a second apart during the entire race but, when it mattered most, Ryan was in front and he duly completed his hat trick with another fine win.
The 10-lap feature Cookstown 100 race was Ryan's fourth race of the day and he led the field round at the end of the first lap although he was being pushed hard by Cameron Donald. The dicing duo left the field behind and with a new lap record Donald closed right on to the back wheel of Ryan but he wasn't to be bettered and set an absolute lap record on lap 8 to edge away. With two perfect last laps, Ryan was able to control the race and he took a superb win from Donald by 1.1 seconds, creating some more history later when he won the Super Twins race for his fifth win of the day.
To make it a perfect day for KMR Kawasaki, fellow team member Darren Hughes also won his two races to make it seven from seven for the team.
Talking afterwards, a delighted Ryan said: "It's been a fantatsic day and a really good weekend for the whole team. In the 125cc race I was down on speed to William, as I knew I would be, but I rode the wheels off the bike and when he hesitated going by a backmarker I saw an opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. The wee bike is awesome and we're already proving people wrong with what we can do - to get a road race win on what is essentially a motocross bike is awesome and these bikes could well be the future so I'd expect to see more and more of them on the grid in the years to come."
"In the first Superbike race I got a great start and couldn't quite believe the gap I pulled out - I thought they'd all pulled in or something - so just rode to my pit board but the feature race was a lot harder. Cameron was out on his Superbike and I could hear him behind me all the time but I just concentrated on being on the right line all the time and with the bike working superbly, I was able to set the absolute lap record and pull away from him. It's a real testament to the Dunlop tyres too as I've used just one set for the practice and racing at both Scarborough and Cookstown - and there's still some life in them!"
"Finally, there was the Super Twins race and I began by putting on a bit of a show for the crowd but I thought that might have ended in disaster so I got my head down again and rode hard until the end. With Darren winning also, we've taken 7 wins between us, which must be some kind of record too so with the success at Scarborough as well, I couldn't have asked for a better start to the season. It would be nice to sweep the board at the North West and TT but that's probably a bitt too much to ask! We'll continue to work hard though and see what happens, you never know...!"
Ryan now has a three-week break before the International North West 200, the meeting taking place from May 11-15.
Picture by Stephen Davison - Pacemaker Press International
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Dan Kneen reports on the 2nd round of the British Supersport championship at ThruxtonHi everyone, Using Maxton's GP30 fork cartridges and GP10 rear shock, I've just got back from round 2 of the British Supersport championship at Thruxton.
Thruxton has never been my favourite track but by the time I'd got up to speed i was enjoying it. Its one of those circuits where you're bike has to be set up different to other tracks because it is very fast and bumpy but with some help from Richard at Maxton we got things sorted a lot better by the race.
We made a few more tweaks to the bike for the morning warm up and it was feeling good and I ended up 14th.
Our race wasn't till later in the day so by the time it came around I couldn't wait to get it out of the way. On the start I was starting next to Guy Martin which I thought was quite funny, but I was just concentrating on getting a jump of the start and looking to pass the row in front by the first corner as the leading cup rider was starting there. As it happens I did get the start I needed and on the run up to the first chicane ran round the outside of a few more and just dived for the inside in front of another bunch its always worth making up places at the start as some are usually a bit more careful than others, so on the first lap I was following the front ten with Hutchy just in front I couldn't believe it I never expected to be that far up so I just tagged on to them. I don't know why but my race pace is always faster than my qualifying which is when it counts I suppose so I hung on to them as long as i could and Jason O'Halloran and Lee Johnston came past I passed them a few times but in the end decided to knock it off and just stay in front of the cup riders.
Slick had made some big improvements to the engine for the Thruxton meeting and it was flying but against the big teams with all the fancy electronics you are always on the back foot but hopefully we can get a bit more power out of it later in the season and stick with them.
I'd just like to say a big thanks to everyone who helped me get over for that meeting as I couldn't even afford to go the week before. Thank you
Superb Start to the Season for CumminsUsing Maxton's GP30 fork cartridges and GP10 rear shock Manxman Conor Cummins got his 2010 season off to a flying start on Easter Monday when he took fourth place in the opening round of the Metzeler National 1000cc Superstock Championship at Brands Hatch. The Team Blackhorse Kawasaki rider was in fine form throughout the weekend, never out of the top 5 in the practice and qualifying sessions, and a brilliant ride in the 24-lap race, that saw him running in 2nd at one stage, was just reward for his stirling efforts.
With both wet and dry weather during free practice and qualifying, the Ramsey man proved to be more than adept in either and after placing 5th in the first (damp) qualifying session hopes were high for improving on that in Sunday's second and final 25-minute session. Sure enough, a time of 50.378s in the dry conditions saw Conor move up to 3rd in his group and this meant that when the positions were combined for the two groups of qualifying, Conor was handily placed in 6th and on the second row of the grid.
Always a strong starter, Conor served up his usual flying getaway when the lights turned green for Monday's race and he completed the first lap of the Indy circuit in fifth place. Briefly relegated to sixth on lap 4, Conor was back up to fifth two laps later and part of a terrific 5-rider battle for second. When Sam Warren crashed out on lap 15, there was enough confusion in the pack for Conor to move up to 3rd and a lap later he was up to 2nd and looking very good for a rostrum position. However, the cool temperatures were causing a few anxious moments for all the riders and when the rear tyre let go exiting Graham Hill Bend on lap 19, it was enough for both Jon Kirkham and Howie Mainwaring to move past and push Conor back to 4th. Despite his best efforts, he couldn't find a way past around the tight, twisty 1.198-mile circuit in the final few laps and he crossed the line in 4th, albeit just two tenths of a second off second, for 13 extremely valuable and hard earned points.
Speaking afterwards, a highly satisfied Conor said: "I always enjoy my racing but I definitely enjoyed that race today and it's so nice to get my season underway with a strong result and with some decent points on the board. I had a few skippy moments out there when the rear let go due to the colder temperatures but the bike was flying and the team have done a terrific job in preparing it for me. I thought 2nd could have been mine today but it was one of those races where the result could have gone either way and when I had a bit of a slide at one corner it was enough to let two of the boys through. I was a bit tentative for the next couple of laps after that as I was worried about the rear grip but 4th is a great result for all of us. We haven't been out of the top 5 all weekend, whether wet or dry, and it's great for my confidence to be so competitive so soon. The Championship is harder than it's ever been with ex-British Superbike riders, the reigning British Supersport Champion etc but I'm not in awe of anyone and I think we're going to have a great year. I'm really, really chuffed with 4th place so a big thanks to all the team and sponsors as they've put together a great package that has allowed me to show what I can really do - roll on round 2"
Meanwhile, it was a weekend of mixed fortunes for the team's new recruit David Pearce but an encouraging one nevertheless. The 16 year old is making the transition this season from 125cc racing to that of competing in the highly competitive Metzeler National 600cc Superstock Championship. With 67 riders trying to claim 38 places in the race, practice and qualifying was split into two groups. David was in Group B and posted a very respectable time of 50.487 secs during Free Practice on Friday. Progress in the first official qualifying session on Saturday was curtailed by an oil leak which meant he only got four laps in the session. In the second qualifying session on Sunday David, still learning the grip characteristics of his rear Metzeler, suffered a massive highside exiting the fast Clearways section whilst lying in 10th position. David's bike escaped relatively unscathed with the young rider sustaining severe bruising to his back. Undaunted, David went out in the shoot-out race to determine final grid places and battled his way to 21st, once again posting very good lap times. David Pearce: "I've got a lot to learn but Ian and the team have given me a great, well set-up, ZX-6 and I can't wait for Thruxton now. I'm just sorry I made such a silly mistake and crashed out, but these things will happen until I get more miles under my belt I guess."
Thruxton in Hampshire hosts the next round of both Championships on April 16/17/18.
Another Superb Performance From CumminsUsing Maxton's GP30 fork cartridges and GP10 rear shock Ramsey's Conor Cummins put in another superb ride in Sunday's Metzeler National 1000cc Superstock Championship at Thruxton when he took his Team Blackhorse Kawasaki to a hard fought fourth place. The 23-year old was in contention for the win throughout the 15-lap race and he crossed the line just 0.977s adrift of race winner Steve Plater for his second successive fourth place finish. The 13 points have also moved him up to a fighting third place overall in the Championship after the first two rounds.
Keen to carry on his Brands Hatch form, Conor was on the pace immediately and, after placing eighth in free practice, a lap of 1m18.045s in first qualifying saw him occupy a provisional fourth place on the grid. In the second and final 30-minute session he knocked a further 0.2s off his lap time and it was enough to see him move up to 3rd place overall for his first front row start of the year.
With the Hampshire circuit bathed in glorious sunshine, a great start by the Manxman saw him slot in to second place at the end of the first 2.35-miles and here he remained for the next four laps as he closely shadowed the race leader and fellow Kawasaki rider Howie Mainwaring. There were no less than eight riders fighting it out for the lead and on the seventh lap, Conor got shuffled back to third place by Championship leader Steve Plater and third became fourth a lap later when Ian Hutchinson relegated him back another spot to fourth. However, the race was wide open as Mainwaring, Plater, Hutchinson and Conor broke away and decided the race amongst themselves. With little to choose between any of the four riders, and with riders defending their lines on the run in to the final chicane, overtaking chances were few and far between. Any chance of getting on to the podium disappeared on the final lap when yellow flags were being displayed and Conor had to settle for fourth once more but the results have already earmarked him down as a Championship contender and he heads in to the next round in confident mood.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted Conor commented; "It's been a solid opening two rounds for me and it was great to be fighting it out at the sharp end of the field once more. I got a great start and hung in there throughout but Ian (Hutchinson) kept defending his line on the way in to the final chicance in the last few laps and with the yellow flag being out on the last lap, I couldn't attempt to overtake. The bike was flying and everything was working well - we had the right gearing and the suspension was awesome so it was a strong race all round for us and the final result could have gone either way. There wasn't a lot of grip out on the circuit due to the heat but we brought it home and, overall, it's been a great weekend. Oulton Park is one of my strongest circuits so I can't wait to get there and challenge again for the race wins. The overall package we have is as good as anything out there so a big thanks to all the team and sponsors for making it happen and they've given me the platform to show what I can really do."
Meanwhile David Pearce continued his encouraging start to his Metzeler National Superstock 600 campaign. The 16 year old just missed out on qualifying for the feature race when he finished twelfth in the 'shoot-out' race on Saturday.
David was pushing for the all-important top ten placing when the race was stopped after five laps.
Starting from the fourth row of the grid, David moved up to ninth on the second lap and slipped one place to tenth for the next two laps. Going into the fifth lap he was still involved in a real scrap with fellow Kawasaki mounted Tom Fisher and Anthony Haywood and as they crossed the line at the end of the lap David was twelfth with only 0.413 secs separating the three, they in turn were less than half a second behind another three man battle in front.
However when Terry Cope unfortunately crashed, the race was red flagged and results were taken from the end of the previous lap, meaning that David unfortunately just failed to qualify for the main race.
Nevertheless a positive race meeting for the young rider who consistently put in respectable lap times throughout the weekend.
The third round of the Metzeler National 1000cc and 600cc Superstock Championships take place at Oulton Park, May 1-3.
Reeves opens season with brilliant hat-trickUsing Maxton's GP10 rear shock Tim Reeves and new passenger Gregory Cluze got their 2010 season underway in perfect fashion at the weekend when they won all three races at the opening round of the 'Battle of Britain' F1 Sidecar Championship at Pembrey. The Welsh venue saw the former World Champion in imperious form and together with Cluze and his new LCR Honda outfit, the Kent driver swept to victory in each of Saturday and Sunday's races.
Despite missing the first free practice session, Tim and Gregory were immediately on the pace in qualifying and were rewarded with pole position which set them up nicely for Saturday's opening race. A slightly sluggish start saw the pairing in third behind Ben Birchall and Allan Schofield and once past the latter it took Tim 10 laps to latch on to the rear wheels of Birchall. However, he found a way through with two laps to go and he held on for his first win of the weekend, his task made easier when Birchall spun out as he tried to claw back the gap.
Sunday's first race saw Schofield grab the early initiative but once Tim overtook him, he slowly edged away for his second comfortable win of the weekend and he took the chequered flag by over four seconds. Later in the day, it was a similar pattern although this time Tim got by Schofield on the opening lap and controlled the race from the front easing off in the latter stages as he completed his 100% winning record.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted Tim said: "I couldn't have asked for a better weekend, it's been perfect. It didn't get off to a great start though when the van broke down on the way to the circuit and we missed free practice but we were soon in our stride and after taking pole position, I felt very confident going in to the races. We played around a bit with the engine, trying out different specifications but it was flying all weekend and the handling is absolutely mega so I was able to drive just how I wanted and the three races all went to plan. Gregory was brilliant and the whole combination this season is already looking fantastic so I'm really excited about the rest of the F1 season. It's been the perfect start and I can head to the opening round of the World Championship in a great frame of mind."
Tim's next outing comes at the opening round of the World F1 Sidecar Championship at Le Mans, France next weekend with the race taking place on Saturday 17th April.
Pictures by Mark 'Wally' Walters
Farquhar dominates season opener at Scarborough with 8 wins from 8 starts!Using Maxton's GP30 fork cartridges and GP10 rear shock Ryan Farquhar got his 2010 road racing season underway in scintillating fashion at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough on Sunday when he won all 8 of the races he started! The KMR Kawasaki rider dominated proceedings winning both legs of the Ian Watson Trophy (retaining the trophy he won in 2009), both legs of the Supersport 600cc, both legs of the Mini Twins and both legs of the the Singles. The victories also saw him move on to 52 race wins around the 2.43-mile woodland circuit, making him the third most successful rider ever.
After taking victory in his Superbike heat, Ryan opened his race win account with a 4.5sec win on his KXF450 Kawasaki in the Singles race, getting the better of all the 125cc machines, and he followed this up with a harder fought win in the first 600cc leg, fellow Irishman Michael Pearson pushing him hard. Another comfortable win came in the first Mini Twins race and it was then on to his Superstock bike for the first leg of the Ian Watson Trophy, which he duly won from Pearson by over 4 seconds.
The little KXF450 took him to his fifth win of the day and the sixth soon followed in the second 600cc race although this was the toughest race of the day as he only got the better of Pearson by 0.287s. The second Mini Twins race saw Ryan take the chequered flag by over ten seconds and he ensured it would be a 100% success story in his final race of the day, the second leg of the Ian Watson Trophy, as he took the victory by over four seconds once more.
Speaking afterwards a delighted Ryan said: "8 wins from 8 starts - it doesn't get much better than that! It's been the perfect start to my road racing season and I couldn't have asked for any more, the day went exactly to plan. I had a slight problem with the 600 as I'd fitted a new seat cover and the foam padding was really slippy so I kept sliding forwards when I was on the brakes, but apart from that everything was really good. I knew at the beginning of the year that the little 450 would work best at Scarborough as the 125s don't get the opportunity to use their top speed advantage and I'm already loving riding it. I'm a little bit race rusty and got a wee bit tired towards the end of the day so I'll be training hard again this week in readiness for the Cookstown 100. I'm just looking for a safe, steady day there and then look to get a couple of outings on the Superbike in preparation for the North West 200."
Ryan's next meeting is the first road race in the Irish Road Racing Championship season, the Cookstown 100, with the races taking place on Saturday April 24th.
Picture by Stephen Davison - Pacemaker Press International
Farquhar joins forces with MSS Colchester Kawasaki for 2010Using Maxton's GP30 fork cartridges and GP10 rear shock Dungannon's Ryan Farquhar will again spearhead Kawasaki's assault on the International and National road races in 2010, with the 33-year old joining forces with MSS Colchester Kawasaki for his Superbike campaign. Ryan will use a specially prepared Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Superbike to race in the Isle of Man TT, North West 200 and Ulster GP road races whilst he will also continue with his own KMR Kawasaki's in the Supersport and Superstock divisions. The Superbike will run in identical colours to the MSS Colchester Kawasaki British Superbike team whilst the 600cc and Superstock machines will again be in Ryan's familiar black and orange livery.
Double TT winner Farquhar has recently been voted Irish Motorcyclist of the Year after a season that has seen him top the prestigious Duke Road Race rankings and surpass Joey Dunlop’s amazing total of 119 Irish national race wins. Ryan took 61 race wins and seven road race championships during a busy 2009 race season. MSS Colchester Kawasaki will create a dedicated Superbike, similar in specification to their British Superbike machines but set-up to cope for with the unique demands of the long distance road circuits.
The new partnership was announced at this week’s International Motorcycle and Scooter Show at the NEC on the Kawasaki stand, alongside new signings for the World Superbike squad.
Ryan Farquhar commented, “I’m really excited about this opportunity, I’ve seen the speed of the MSS bikes during British Superbike this year and the team have been doing really well. Nick Morgan has been doing my engines for many years and it’s great to be supported by the team and Kawasaki UK, I can’t wait. With the MSS Colchester Kawasaki Superbike and my own KMR team, it promises to be another great season.”
MSS Colchester Kawasaki Team Owner, Nick Morgan said : ‘We’re very pleased to be able to announce a full road racing programme with Ryan at the forefront. Ryan had a very strong year on the roads and we had a great leap forward in BSB, so it could all come together for a great season.”
Michael Johnstone, Kawasaki Motor UK Sales and Marketing Manager added, “This is an impressive partnership, our official Kawasaki Motors UK Superbike team and one of the most successful road racers of all time. We look forward to seeing how Ryan performs using the very latest Ninja machinery."
Farquhar creates history at KillalaneUsing Maxton's GP30 fork cartridges and GP10 rear shock Ryan Farquhar created history at Killalane on Sunday when he took three more road race wins to break the all-time Irish record, previously held by the legendary Joey Dunlop. Farquhar's hat-trick saw him move on to 121 Irish National road race wins, three more than the total set by Dunlop whilst it also moved him on to a staggering 60 for the season. It's been a truly remarkable year for the KMR Kawasaki rider and one that will go down in the record books as one of the best ever years, in any discipline, by a rider.
The KMR Kawasaki rider had to settle for second in his first race of the weekend, when Michael Dunlop got the better of him by 0.1s in Saturday afternoon's Non-Championship 600cc race but he was immediately back to winning ways on Sunday. A 20-second victory in the Supertwins race ensured he maintained his 100% Championship record in that particular class but he had to work a lot harder in the Open race as Dunlop again fought with him throughout. On this occasion, Ryan came out on top, his margin of victory after 5 laps just over 3 seconds as he also set the fastest lap of the race at 111.770mph.
The 600cc Championship race was even tighter and was a terrific advert for road racing with Ryan again going head-to-head with Dunlop. Using all his experience and skill, Ryan defeated his younger adversary by half a second and but any hopes of a fourth win in the Grand Final disappeared on the fourth lap when he ran wide at one of the corners. Dunlop was unable to avoid him and ran in to the back of him and whilst Ryan was able to get going again, the rear hugger jammed into the rear wheel causing him to have an extremely anxious moment. A quick stop to remove it solved the problem and he was able to take tenth at the chequered flag. Nevertheless, the hat-trick saw him break a record that many believed would never be broken and his tally of 121 Irish Road Race wins is one of the finest accomplishments ever recorded.
Speaking later, a delighted, and emotional, Ryan said: "It's been a really good weekend and to be standing here now with the all-time record of 121 wins is something special - if anyone had told me that when I started racing I would have laughed at them! My hand injuries were still causing me a few problems and I had to have an injection each day but once the adrenalin kicked in, the pain eased a bit and I was able to get my head down and to claim another hat-trick is simply superb - it really has been a brilliant year. I did have a reminder today though how fine a line it is when the rear hugger jammed into the rear wheel and locked it up, snapping it sideways, when in fourth gear. It would have been a major incident but fortunately I managed to bring the bike under control and thanks to the help of a couple of marshals, I was able to get going again."
"The BBC had a camera crew with me all weekend and the Killalane club presented me with a really nice piece of crystal when I broke the record whilst the number of well wishers dropping by to wish me good luck was pretty overwhelming. I haven't reached 121 wins on my own though and I've got to give special mention to my Grandad, who bought me first ever bike, Ernie Kee and Stephen Ewing. Winston McAdoo gave me my first opportunity on four-stroke machinery and then Kenny Harker and Nick Morgan came on board whilst Kawasaki UK, Shark Helmets, Beta Tools and the '77 Supporters Club' have been a huge help also. Everyone who has helped me in my career, whether personally, financially or professionally, all deserve credit as without them none of it would have happened and I'm extremely grateful for everyone who's been with me along the way."
Ryan has one more chance to add to his tally of wins in 2009 as he will be competing at the International Gold Cup races at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough next weekend, the races taking place at the North Yorkshire coastal circuit on September 19-20.
Conor Cummins and Ian Lougher to use Maxton Suspension
Conor Cummins will be again using Maxton Suspension this year in the British Superstock Championship. Ian Lougher will be using the suspension at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix. Both riders will be aboard Kawasaki machinary and using Maxton's new GP30 and Big Piston fork internals and the new GP10 rear shock absorbers. Testing is due to start in Spain at the beginning of March.
Maxton go testing In Spain