Injured North West 200 road racer Ryan Farquhar back in intensive care after suffering relapse
A top road racer injured in a high-speed horror crash at the North West 200 is back in intensive care.
Ryan Farquhar, who suffered chest and pelvic injuries on May 12, was last night "seriously ill" in hospital, according to a Belfast Trust spokesman.
It is understood that the Dungannon motorcycle star returned to the intensive care unit (ICU) at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital on Friday.
It shocked the motorcycling community, as Farquhar had appeared to be recovering well last week.
A close friend of the rider said the news of his deterioration came "out of the blue" after he appeared to be "bright" and in "good form" in hospital just a few days ago.
He was released to a general ward last Wednesday.
However, a spokesman for Belfast Trust last night confirmed: "He has returned to ICU and he is seriously ill."
Forty-year-old Farquhar and Dan Cooper came off their bikes during the Supertwins race on the Black Hill section of the course.
It happened close to the spot on the Portrush coast road where 20-year-old rising star Malachi Mitchell-Thomas lost his life in an accident just two days later.
Cooper was taken to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine with shoulder injuries but was later discharged.
Farquhar, who has won five races at the North West 200, retired from the sport in 2012 following the death of his uncle Trevor Ferguson at that year's Manx Grand Prix in the Isle of Man.
However, he resumed his road racing career in 2014, saying that his family backed his decision to return.
Following the terrifying 100mph smash 11 days ago, his relieved wife Karen told of the moment she knew Ryan had survived his terrible injuries and also posed for pictures alongside her husband just 24 hours after he had been moved from intensive care to a general ward.
Karen and her two children, Mya and Keeley, had witnessed the accident on the race big screens, which showed him crashing out and then being run over by fellow competitor Cooper.
As he was being flown to hospital by PSNI helicopter, anxious Karen was driven to Belfast, fearing the worst, despite Ryan's efforts to reassure her in a message relayed through his wife's cousin, who happened to be at the scene of the crash.
Through tears, Karen said: "I walked into intensive care and Ryan was lying in the bed not really able to speak or communicate with us.
"He looked up at me and winked and then he squeezed my hand as tight as anything.
"It was such an incredibly special moment because I knew then that he was going to be still with us."
Farquhar was taken straight into surgery when he arrived at the Royal, and said he "was lucky that the top liver surgeon in the country was available to operate" on him.
He spent several days in the Royal's intensive care unit before he was able to join fellow racer Paul Gartland, who also suffered a lacerated liver in an earlier North West 200 crash, on a general ward, where he was initially expected to stay for at least another week.