Farmer is on the hunt for a British Championship ride
Clogher racer Keith Farmer, a British Championship winner in 2011 and 2012 who finished third in last season's National 1000cc Superstock class, is currently on the lookout for a new ride after being left on the sidelines with just three weeks until the opening round of the 2017 season at Donington Park.
The softly spoken County Tyrone man, who works full-time as a digger driver in the construction industry, has been kept busy of late with his new 12-week-old daughter Chloe, but is champing at the bit to get back in the saddle with aspirations of a third career British title.
The 29-year-old, who last season rode Honda machinery for the Quay Garage team, explained his current frustration with British Championship racing, lamenting both his own tribulations and those of his local peers.
"I can't believe the depth of talent we have in this country currently without rides in the British Championship," said Farmer.
"Alastair Seeley has a development ride but deserved a top class ride, as do Josh Elliott and Andy Reid (Farmer and his fellow countrymen have accumulated five British Championship titles between them and an impressive tally of UK-based victories in various classes since 2009)."
Farmer, who along with his Quay Garage team was expecting the UK branch of Japanese manufacturer Honda to continue their support into 2017, added: "Basically, I'm in the same boat as those guys as Honda UK has now dropped everything on us."
Quay Garage were hopeful of further support, especially after Farmer did such a sterling job last season aboard the ageing and under-powered Fireblade, taking it to third in the series behind Taylor Mackenzie and Ian Hutchinson, both BMW mounted.
"We had a meeting with Honda and they wanted Ian (Woollacott, Quay Garage team owner) to run another young rider alongside me at his own expense," explained Farmer.
"For me that's just crazy after what we achieved last year on the old Honda.
"I've won Championships before, but for me last year was the best of them all. I had a mega team; Ian is a great team boss and we enjoyed our season and were looking forward to riding the new Honda Fireblade and now that's not happening. It's disappointing."
With so many seats already filled in the new-look National 1000cc Superstock class for this season, and many others being acquired by newcomers to the class who have paid handsomely for the opportunity, Farmer is not convinced he will be in racing leathers at the opening round on April 2.
"My two loyal sponsors at Waitings Drainage and Rapid International have talked about getting together and potentially buying me a bike and running it ourselves, but that's not an easy task in the British Championship, which really is top level racing," he said.
His preference would be to remain with Quay Garage, with the support of his sponsors, in the hope they can agree a deal with a leading manufacturer, but the clock is ticking.
"At the minute, I don't expect to be on the grid for the first round, which is disappointing," added Farmer, who is glad to currently have his little bundle of joy distraction.
"It's great when you have a bad day at work, she helps me switch off. It takes my mind off the current problems with trying to go racing."