No Swift return for Dungannon's Ryan Farquhar
Dungannon's Ryan Farquhar is currently putting together the blueprint for his KMR Racing Team for 2014, but insists that he will not be looking to add to his own tally of 337 career wins between the hedges, when the season gets underway next April.
"The main reason I decided to stop racing was to spend more time with my youngsters. But in 2013 I never spent as little time with them because the whole team thing took over my life," he said candidly, giving us an insight to his busy lifestyle as a new team owner.
With the Manx Grand Prix currently being marketed on similar level to the Isle of Man TT, with all the leading contenders now on the starting grid for the re-branded Classic TT – I was curious to see if the 10-time MGP winner was tempted to return?
His reply was, as expected, unambiguous.
"I really do miss riding the Paton, but for me personally, when I was riding the Manx, I was doing it for the right reasons. There was no financial gain for me then. I was taking time off to go to the Manx and it cost me money, but I really enjoyed it."
Looking at the new modern Classic TT format, he added: "The majority of riders going to do it now; it's all about one thing – and that's money. For me personally, it's not the right reason to be doing it. I'm not sure if it's getting full TT status or not, but I've won three Classic races in a week, whereas I don't believe the current TT riders will do that."
The 37-year-old was honoured recently for his phenomenal racing achievements by an unusual medium, in the form local football team Dungannon Swifts. Two hundred of his closest friends and sponsors were in attendance to celebrate a career that has spanned some 20 years.
The 90-minute slideshow by local photographer and publisher Stephen Davison, presented in a 'This is Your Life' format with Farquhar ad-libbing in his usual no-nonsense quirky manner – was a way for the father of two to finally say, 'over and out'.
Humbly delighted by the response, Ryan said: "A lot of people felt it was strange that a football club honoured my achievements. When I beat Joey Dunlop's national road racing record I had a letter from Tom Elliott MLA, a letter from Nelson McCausland, and Lisburn Borough Council gave me an award, but my own council did nothing for me whatsoever.
"Dungannon Swifts, they saw I was being overlooked and that's why they said they wanted to honour me. I can't thank them enough for the gesture and everyone who attended, but special thanks must go to Roy Stretton and Joe McAree of the club."
One unsung hero on the night was Farquhar's Press Officer Phil Wain, who spent many late nights compiling a dossier of the Dungannon rider's 337 race wins – that were then added to an exquisite hand-made beech plaque, carved in the shape of the Isle of Man – where Farquhar enjoyed three wins during his career.
Looking ahead to 2014, the Dungannon man said: "The perfect scenario would be to have competitive Supersport, Superstock and Superbike machines for Jamie Hamilton; with Jeremy McWilliams for the North West and maybe Conor Cummins at the TT on Supertwin machinery."
In concluding, his thoughts turned back to his family, and he added: "But for now I need to concentrate on looking for a title sponsor, or if I'm honest, two or three smaller ones that are easier to manage. It doesn't matter how much budget you bring in, if you are under pressure and stressed, you just don't enjoy it. I want to spend more time with my family next year, so I'd be happier to do with far less."