Belfast Telegraph

Farmer ready to reap rewards after stunning campaign

 

By Roy Harris

Keith Farmer has a second opportunity to clinch the British Supersport Championship in this afternoon's opening race at Assen.

The 30-year-old Appleyard McAdam Yamaha rider holds an 86 point lead over fellow Ulster rider Andrew Irwin (Gearlink Kawasaki) with just four races remaining and a maximum 100 points on offer.

The Clogher ace had a chance to clinch the title at Oulton Park during the last round, but high sided out of first position exiting Hizzy's Chicane.

"It's been a long time since I've had a high side like that and I suddenly remembered that they are just as sore as they used to be," he said.

"It just wasn't our day and I'm looking forward to the races at Assen to gather up the 17 points required."

Farmer got his weekend off to the best possible start yesterday by finishing top of the timing sheets after the first two practice sessions, three-10ths of a second faster than Eemeli Lahti (Suzuki) and Dubliner Jack Kennedy.

Irwin, the only rider who can mathematically thwart Farmer's championship success, ended fifth fastest, just behind his team-mate Ben Currie, who was a double winner at the Oulton meeting and is only 19 points behind Irwin in the championship.

It is a tight battle behind Farmer with just 23 points separating second to fifth with Kennedy just a point behind Currie and David Allingham a further three behind Kennedy.

For Farmer this has been a surreal season. The 2011 British Superstock 600cc champion and 2012 British Superstock 1000cc champion had a superlative 2016, finishing third in the Superstock 1000cc series on an under-powered Honda, but found himself out in the cold with no ride this season, simply because he could not raise the budget for a competitive ride.

Resigned to sitting on the side-lines Farmer got an unexpected call from Robin Appleyard to take the injured Luke Jones' place in his team and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.

Meanwhile Jones makes a welcome return to the series following his nasty hand injury suffered in a pre-season test at Cartagena.

•The motorcycling fraternity is mourning the death of Eric Lyons, the driving force behind the Hillsborough Club and their Sunflower Trophy meeting.

Eric had been a keen competitor, but suffered an accident during the Killinchy 150 in the Seventies that left him wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. However this did not diminish his love for the sport and he took a keen involvement in sidecar racing as a sponsor under the Ironside Trophies banner, the business he set up at Harmony Hill in Lisburn.

He also managed to encourage World, British and European sidecar champions to compete at the Sunflower meetings.

Eric was also heavily involved in charity work and completed a parachute jump a few years back.

Deepest sympathies to all his family and friends at this sad time.

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