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Karen Farquhar fears racer Ryan's luck may run out after his return to sport

By Claire McNeilly

Published 18/01/2016

Ryan Farquhar with Karen on their wedding day
Ryan Farquhar with Karen on their wedding day
Ryan in action at the Tandragee100 last year
Ryan Farquhar and Karen sharing a kiss

The wife of one of Northern Ireland's most popular road racers has told of her fears that his luck may run out.

Karen Farquhar breathed a sigh of relief when her husband Ryan - who racked up over 200 victories during a successful career that spanned two decades - hung up his leathers after the death of his uncle Trevor Ferguson on the Isle of Man in 2012.

That harrowing ordeal saw him move into full-time management with his hugely successful KMR Kawasaki team, but the father-of-two from Dungannon surprised fans by announcing he was coming out of retirement 18 months later.

In a new documentary about his return to road racing, Karen spoke candidly of her worries about Ryan's involvement in the sport.

"I just can't wait until the race is over and he comes back in," she said.

"It has always been the same and it's never going to be any different.

"He's been so successful, he's not a rider that crashes, sometimes I just fear, will our luck run out?"

Devastated Ryan retired from racing just one day after his uncle and fellow racer crashed in the Supertwins race at the Manx Grand Prix.

He spent that time focusing on the couple's daughters Mya and Keeley, and on preparing machinery for other riders, before making a comeback in 2014.

'Back on the Road' follows him and his KMR Kawasaki team-mate Jeremy McWilliams throughout the 2015 race season, including Ryan's win in the Supertwins at the North West 200 last May.

During the BBC programme, Karen shrugged off negative comments about her husband's decision to race again.

"So many times you could go out and meet people and they'd say 'Will you get that man of yours off them bikes - he's going to get himself killed', she said.

"People don't think about what they're actually saying to you.

"If I was speaking to someone and their son was in the Army or their husband was a policeman I would never say anything like that to them.

"As for saying that the riders are selfish...at the end of the day Ryan is providing for me, the girls and himself.

"It's a dangerous sport that he does but there are so many worse things.

"There are men out there who don't attempt to provide for their family at all."

Karen did, however, admit that she was relieved when he initially told her he was retiring.

"It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders," she revealed.

Although her husband is the most decorated rider in the history of Irish road racing, Karen's definition of success has nothing to do with wins.

"For me, if you get to the end of the year and Ryan's got all the racing over him and he's well, that's a successful year in my eyes," she said.

Back On The Road is on BBC One on Tuesday, 10.45pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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