NW 200: Legend Joey can inspire Farquhar
Ryan "The Rocket" Farquhar is hoping to be inspired by the legendary Joey Dunlop tonight at the opening practice for Saturday's North West 200.
Farquhar will have the number three, made famous by the late, great Dunlop, on his bike in what promises to be a compelling session this evening.
"I was delighted to receive the news that I'd be riding under Number Three which is the figure that was made famous by Joey Dunlop," said Farquhar, who will be one of the favourites for Saturday's race having made an electric start to this season.
"I hope I have as much success as Joey had and I'm sure it will provide me with extra inspiration.
"Everything has gone well with myself and the machinery and now I'm looking forward to doing well at the North West."
Since the season started Farquhar has scored a high speed double at Cookstown and was only beaten by seven thousandths of a second by the ill-fated Martin Finnigan who was killed at Tandragree.
Farquhar already has three North West wins but none in the Superbike and he feels that it is time this omission was corrected.
"I always enjoy the place", said Ryan.
"It brings out the best in me but what it amounts to is the fact that I'm a lone-runner against factory teams.
"As far as tonight's first practice is concerned I'll be looking at riders like Michael Rutter, Bruce Anstey, John McGuinness and Cameron Donald all of whom are capable of putting in the fastest laps of the night.
"Something you have to bear in mind at the North West practice is that you haven't much chance to get things right if they go wrong at the start. You have to be in the groove early on and make your mark. Hopefully I can do so tonight on the Kawasaki. The fact that I appear to be in form has given me a tremendous flow of confidence."
Philip Neill manager of the TAS Suzuki team said:"We think the man to watch is Rutter. He has made a magnificent start to the British Superbike Championship on the Ducati and as you know he has a tremendous record round the North West 200. Personally speaking I think he will be the practice leader at the end of tonight but you never can tell.
"McGuinness is another rider with loads of experience and he shouldn't be too far away.
"As for Bruce Anstey and Cameron Donald they are two top-rate riders and don't forget that Anstey has won nine times at the North West which is only two behind Rutter."
As always it will be worth watching Robert Dunlop in the 125cc and 250cc classes and it is worth noting that if the hot weather holds there should be high speed.
That being the case there's no better place to be than at the Portstewart Triangle. Roads close at 5pm.