Ryan Farquhar may well be Ireland’s most successful national road racer, but despite a recent ‘purple patch’ collecting ten wins without reply at Mid Antrim and Bush Road Races, the 36-year-old fears for the future of our sport locally, unless some form of revolutionary class change is implemented.
The KMR Kawasaki team owner was the pioneer of the Supertwins class, which has now been accepted universally within the national and international road racing paddocks — most notably the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT — and his latest venture, albeit in its infancy, is just the shot in the arm local racing in Ireland is crying out for.
Supertwins are here, and they’re here to stay, and by that I mean at national and international level,” explained Farquhar (pictured), who believes the class is now strong enough to justify two races per meeting.
“It’s the biggest field now and it also happens to be the cheapest to run. A lot of guys that specialise in 600 and 1000cc racing are not supporting the national races, so I think the time has come where we need two Supertwin races per meeting and a new cheaper class.”
Farquhar’s latest venture is yet to be set in front of the local governing body for approval, but its foundations are currently being ‘cemented’ in place and he’s certainly determined to succeed — for the good of the sport, overall.
“This new proposal will offer a cheap form of racing, on both the circuits and the roads,” said Farquhar, referring to the one make Minitwins type series, using standard ER6 Kawasakis: the original donor bike for his Supertwins venture.
He also believes this new class will offer a cheaper alternative for the journeymen racer, than the bottomless pit they currently endure with 600 and 1000cc machines.
“A lot of riders aren’t supporting the national scene at the minute as it’s too expensive, and for the guys who struggle to be competitive on 600s and 1000s— well this also offers them a cheap way to be on the grid with a competitive bike.”
Drawing him on the cost of the package per rider, he was confident enough to put his head on the block: “The deal will be around £7,000.
“For that a rider will get a complete ER6 Kawasaki in race-trim, although I haven’t decided on the tyre package as yet as I am talking to a number of manufacturers.”
Obviously trying his best to keep the cost down, whilst introducing quality products, he added: “There’s a bike currently on its way to me. I’m going to prepare it to racing specification and then test tyres with the help of Jeremy McWilliams and a couple of other experienced riders. I want a tyre that will suit both wet and dry conditions; that will save the use of spare wheels, but no matter who it is, I will be negotiating a competitive price.”
The Dungannon man has received a positive response from the small, but hugely experienced, band of people he has confided in to date, including some potential sponsors, and if he can, as he expects, form a cross-over of championships taking in both circuits and road racing we could be on the road to filling the void left by the tobacco sponsorship that had helped to fill grids in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.