Keith Farmer wins on day of tragedy at British Superbike's Thruxton round
The two sides of motorcycle sport were seen in sharp focus at yesterday's British Superbikes meeting at Thruxton where an English rider was killed in most tragic circumstances.
King's Lynn rider Mark Fincham (31) died following a crash in the Superstock 1000cc race in which he was run over by a True Heroes team-mate.
An ex-Royal Marine, Fincham had a leg amputated following a road traffic accident in 2007, but refused to allow the injury to change his life. True Heroes is a team of ex-servicemen who have all been severely injured, but still wish to race.
The accident overshadowed an astonishing Supersport race saw Clogher's Keith Farmer and Jack Kennedy take a win and a second position each, leaving Farmer 35 points clear of the Dubliner in the championship.
Having won Saturday's race by the slimmest of margins, yesterday's race was a thriller coming down to a last lap sort out at the chicane after 12 blistering laps.
Alastair Seeley was way out in front, but scores no championship points as his machine does not conform to Supersport rules. Behind him, three riders went into the chicane side by side with Kennedy on the outside, Andrew Irwin in the middle and Farmer on the inside. Irwin and Farmer touched with the Carrickfergus rider, running wide over the kerb and grass before coming back on track, but Farmer lost slight momentum and Kennedy came through to get past both of them and power across the finish line to win by 10th of a second from Farmer with Eemeil Lahti just pipping Irwin for third.
Kennedy said: "That was a really great race. I knew I was leading on the last lap and they were in my slipstream. Andrew and Keith braked later, but I had the better line when they touched and just out-dragged them to the line."
Farmer commented: "It was getting a bit wild out there at times. In the end I wasn't going to give my place away and Andy ran wide. I'm over the moon with first and second after problems in qualifying."
In Superbikes, Josh Brookes bided his time in race one before taking the lead from Peter Hickman and go on to take his first win of the season and the first ever BSB win for the Anvil Hire Tag Yamaha team.
He said afterwards: "It was a bit of a chess game holding back trying to save the rear tyre before making a move and I think we timed it well."
In race two, he again held back before passing Hickman, but on the penultimate lap he slid off uninjured handing victory to Hickman, taking a first Superbike victory for the Smiths BMW Team.
It wasn't a great day for the locals in BSB. Tyco BMW saw Christian Iddon finish fourth and fifth, but lose ground in the battle to finish inside the top six prior to the showdown, Andy Reid was 16th and 17th, Glenn Irwin was ninth in race two, 11 places better than race one while Michael Laverty finished 21st and 13th, struggling with front end chatter.
Eugene McManus took the chequered flag first in the opening Motostar race, but was docked a position for a yellow flag infringement and then when running third yesterday he slid off uninjured.
Ian Hutchinson, badly injured in a crash during the Senior TT, was back at a race meeting for the first time saying: "It's two months since the accident and I looked forward to getting here. I thought I had seen the last of a leg frame after my last accident, but here we are again. I still have to stretch my leg every six hours with it being a bit shorter.
"I don't dwell on what happened. I've had two big accidents neither of which were my fault so I just get on with it and will come back again.
"I enjoy racing on the Isle of Man and definitely will not be giving up racing. I came back the last time and won eight TT's - I aim to do it again. It has helped me having been through it before and we all know it is a tough sport."