Farquhar manages to make it snappy
Ryan Farquhar currently stands head and shoulders above his Irish road race rivals following a record-breaking 2009.
Altogether he won 61 races and the Duke Road Race Rankings title for the fourth time, and he also was a six-time Ulster and Irish road race champion.
And then throw into the mix the fact that he became the most successful Irish national road racer ever, having won 121 times to beat the record 119 of the late great Joey Dunlop, and it was a campaign to remember.
This year has seen no let-up in Farquhar’s determination to win though, recording eight victories at Scarborough during the Ian Watson Spring Cup meeting.
Then at the Cookstown 100 he became the first man to win five Irish national road races in a single day while he has also recorded half a dozen short circuit victories at Bishopscourt and Kirkistown.
On that form alone you would think he deserves a win at this Saturday's Relentless North West 200.
The 34-year-old from Dungannon, who made his debut at the North West in 1996, has 11 podium finishes to his name, taking three wins over the coastal circuit.
But can he match the pace of the top British Superbike runners he will face at Portrush and just where does Ryan think his best opportunities lie?
Looking ahead to the challenges he faces, Farquhar, who took time out with has family in the build-up to pose for a portrait shoot, is waiting to see what develops on the track.
“This looks to be the most competitive North West ever with 10 or 12 riders in with a realistic chance of taking race wins, so I’m under no illusions or taking anything for granted,” he said.
“I will have to be at the top of my game if I am to score a victory, or even a podium.”
Farquhar will be aiming to become the first Irish rider to win a prestige Superbike race at the event since Philip McCallen in 1997.
He has snapped up a full British Superbike spec MSS Colchester Kawasaki and it should put him well in the hunt.
“On paper this machine gives me my best shout at a Superbike win, but I have yet to ride the bike,” he admitted.
“The Dunlop tyres I need for it are somewhere between here and Birmingham. My usual machines run 17-inch wheels, but this machine runs 16-inch wheels and I have no tyres for it.
“I may have an opportunity to get out on the bike, but I’ll be really disappointed if I’m not able to get an outing on it before the first practice session this evening.
“We’ll just take it as it comes and see where it takes us. The bike should be capable of giving me a podium if everything goes to plan.”
Farquhar also goes in the Superstock and two Supersport races.
“I would dearly love a Superstock race win to make up for a couple of disappointments in this particular class, like last year when I felt I had done enough to win the race, but ended up second,” he added.
“I had retaken the lead from Alastair Seeley when the rain came on and the race was stopped, but he was declared the winner as
he had led the race briefly at the important point when he crossed the start/finish line.
“Back in 2003 I also led what was the Production race then on the last lap only to run low on fuel, allowing Adrian Archibald to grab the win.
“So I feel I have unfinished business in this class.
“My three wins here have all been in the Supersport class and I feel my KMR Kawasaki is up to the task here in what is a really competitive field.
“I had put an entry in for the 125cc race to ride my new 450cc Kawasaki and had got the technical OK, but my entry wasn’t accepted and I’m disappointed.”
So just what would represent a good North West 200 for Ryan?
“To come home in one piece and not hurt,” he said, adding, “a few times on the podium would be good and if I could manage a win, it would be a really good day.”