Road Racers

Season Ticket Full Throttle BBC NI Written by Administrator Wednesday, March 17 on BBC One NI, 10.45pm
Season Ticket: Full Throttle gives an insight into the hi-octane world of the motorcycle road racer. The first programme in a new three part series starting on Wednesday, March 17 on BBC One NI looks at this exhilarating sport through the eyes of three riders, 33-year-old Ryan Farquhar, 45-year-old Sean Leonard and 22-year-old Michael Dunlop.

The documentary, filmed at Killalane, north of Dublin, which was the venue for the last National road race meeting of the 2009 season, includes footage of the three men on and off the circuit and looks into how they do it, why they do it, and if they will ever stop.

With his uncle Joey considered a motor cycling legend and father Robert holding the record for wins at the NW200, Michael Dunlop is considered road racing royalty. Within the programme he explains why he cannot give up the sport even though his uncle and father both lost their lives racing motorcycles: “You get scared, many a time I’ve got a fright but I’ve never been too afraid to get back on again. Them wee scares is the enjoyment. Me going out and winning a race is like me winning the lottery.

“People get their buzz out of golf, snooker whatever, I get mine out of racing between hedges. That’s the way I was brought into life and that’s the way I’ll go out of it.”

Ryan Farquhar runs his own team, KMR, as a married man with two young children he has a lot to lose. He explains how he can keep going out race after race: “It’s a great sport when it’s going well but when it goes bad it can go really bad, that’s the downside of it. Everybody who goes out racing, they know the dangers. I suppose everybody thinks it’ll never happen to them. I love it, it’s in my blood and I can’t get away from it.”

The programme also speaks to Ryan’s wife, Karen who brings the children along to the race meetings, she explains her fears for her husband: “For me he’s [Ryan] one of the safest riders there is, but that doesn’t matter in road racing. There’s been a lot of safe riders that have been killed. I’m always hoping and praying that it’ll never be coming to my door.” However she still understands how much the sport means to her husband and says: “There’s no way I’d want Ryan to give up road racing for me.”

Sean Leonard has been racing at the Killalane road races for the past 25 years. To him it’s not so much about the race win but getting enough money together to race at all, but even though it is a struggle he would never give it up: “I’m that long doing it, that’s all I know now. It is a drug you know. That’s what I always say, if you’re an alcoholic or something else, but there’s no rehab for motorcycle racers
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