Race ace Farquhar helps raise cash for lifesaving air ambulance as he sets sights on fresh sporting challenge
Northern Ireland motorcycle ace Ryan Farquhar, whose life was saved at last year's North West 200 when he was airlifted by helicopter to hospital, has shown his gratitude by raising almost £5,000.
The record-breaking road racer, along with Rathfriland Clay Pigeon Club, raised the funds over the festive period for the new Northern Ireland Air Ambulance Service, which will provide a rapid emergency response within 25 minutes from its base in Belfast.
Farquhar said he would not be alive today without the treatment he received from the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland medical team after his horrific crash on the Black Hill section of the NW 200 circuit in May.
"I've said it before, if it wasn't for Doctor MacSorely and the rest of the medical team, and the police helicopter taking me to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, I wouldn't be here now," he said.
"The job they did to prepare me for the trip to hospital saved my life. From I left the coast road in Portrush until I reached the Royal Victoria Hospital took just nine minutes. If I'd gone by road in an ambulance, the way the internal bleeding had started, the chances of me surviving would have been very slim."
The Dungannon father-of-two suffered serious liver damage in the crash, as well as a punctured lung, six broken ribs and damage to his feet and ankle ligaments.
He now has a new goal for 2017 - to represent Northern Ireland in clay pigeon shooting at the home internationals in Scotland in July.
It's a sport that has given him something to focus on while recovering from the injuries which have almost certainly put his racing career on hold.
"I've been doing a bit of shooting again since I got out of hospital. Thankfully it doesn't require the sort of fitness required to race a motorcycle," said Farquhar. "I really enjoy it, and a box I'd now like to tick is to represent Northern Ireland at the home internationals in July."
Farquhar hopes that his new-found expertise behind his weapon of choice, a German Blaser, will get him into the 20-strong NI squad for the summer tournament.