Farquhar does the double at Manx GP
Ryan Farquhar overcame a nasty practice spill to take a double victory at this week’s Manx GP and continue his amazing run of success in 2009. The Dungannon rider slipped off his 350cc Honda at Guthrie’s Memorial in the final practice session, sustaining a broken bone in his hand, but he re-grouped to take both the Post Classic and 500cc Classic victories, smashing the lap record in the latter to become the first man to lap at over 110mph on a Classic machine.
Held on the famous Mountain Course that hosts the Isle of Man TT Races, Ryan’s first race was Monday’s Post Classic race but with conditions treacherous, it was cut from four laps to three. Riding Roger Winfield’s 997cc Suzuki, an opening lap of 108.045mph saw Ryan lead the similarly-mounted Guy Martin by 46 seconds and it would prove to the quickest of the race as conditions rapidly deteriorated. With all riders slowing considerably, Ryan’s speed dropped to just over 100mph on the final lap and he was relieved to see the chequered flag, becoming the inaugural winner of the 4-stroke Post Classic race in the process.
With the considerable delays, the 350cc Classic race was then moved to Wednesday, being held in conjunction with the 500cc class and Ryan opted to contest the latter on the 500cc Paton. The first part of the race saw Ryan’s team-mate Oliver Linsdell set the pace and it was he who led at half race distance as Ryan struggled with his hand, finding himself almost 20 seconds behind his younger rival at half race distance. However, on lap 3, a sensational lap of 110.984mph saw Ryan turn that deficit into a 25-second lead and from there he was never headed, eventually taking the win by over 5 minutes after Linsdell went out on the final lap.
Speaking later, Ryan commented; “I’m really pleased to have taken two wins from two starts this week and after the practice crash it’s been quite a struggle with my hand. The final practice session was damp so I wasn’t pushing too hard, I just wanted to get a lap in, and I was nowhere near the white lines when the bike just went away from me. My hand smacked the ground quite hard and got trapped under the handlebar whilst my leg took a bit of a bashing when I slid into the bank. I was quite sore but managed to pass my medical and just dug deep for the two races.”
“In Monday’s race I knew Guy would be my main rival and with the weather being pretty dodgy I just rode as fast and as safe as I could in the first couple of laps to try and open a lead and it went perfectly. To be honest, I thought the race would be stopped after two laps as it was really bad out there. By Wednesday, my hand was really beginning to affect me but I tried to play it down as I was determined to win the 500cc Classic race again. Olie caught me early on, pulling back the 20 seconds starting difference, and that was the wake up call I needed. I pulled my finger out and lapped at close to 111mph but I couldn’t have ridden any harder as my hand was really hurting.”
“Apart from that though, it all went well and I just want to say a big thank you to Roger Winfield and all the team for their hard work in preparing the bikes both before and during the event.”
Ryan now has the luxury of a weekend off (his first since April!) before concluding his Irish Road Race Championship season at Killalane on Sunday 13th September.