Farquhar boost as he bids for team success at the North West and TT
Ryan Farquhar's KMR Kawasaki Supertwin broadside on the roads for 2019 got off to a winning start at Cookstown on Saturday when, in far from ideal conditions, reigning roads champion Derek McGee got the better of Adam McLean after a race long battle, half a second separating them in the end after seven tough laps.
After the winning start, Farquhar said: "Derek put in a strong ride to claim the top honours today.
"We have got some big meetings coming up with the North West and the Isle of Man TT on the horizon, but everything is falling into place nicely.
"Jeremy McWilliams joins the team for the North West and after his two wins and new Supertwin lap record during the King of Kirkistown meeting on Easter Monday, he and Derek will be a formidable team on the North Coast."
The Classic races, an integral part of the national road race scene, saw Cullybackey rider Barry Davidson race to a Junior/Senior double on his 350cc Dempster Honda and the Team Gimbert 500cc Honda with Davidson then making it a treble on the day by winning the first ever Supersport 300cc race on the roads, riding a Jackal Racing 390cc KTM.
Brian Mateer won the 250cc class on his Suzuki and Richard Ford the 1000cc race on the Bob Jackson 920cc Norton.
Welshman Paul Williams just got his PK 400cc Yamaha past the chequered flag 0.418sec ahead of Stephen McKeown's McKillop Motorcycles 400cc Kawasaki after seven laps.
There were wins for Ben Plant in the Senior Support 'B' race, Ben Rea in the Cookstown 100 'B,' Tommy Henry in Supertwin 'B' and Scottish visitor Gillian McGaw in Junior Support'B.'
Jonathan Rea's Kawasaki Racing Team will contest the Suzuka 8-Hour race in Japan with Leon Haslam and Turkish rider Toprak Razgatlioglu as his team mates.
Run by Kawasaki Motors Japan, Kawasaki finished in second place in 2016 and 2017, then third last year before handing the reins to its factory World Superbike team for 2019 in arguably the world's most prestigious race.
Templepatrick-based reigning WSB chamption Rea, the first British winner of this endurance race in 2012 when he rode for TSR Honda, commented: "This race has a huge place in my heart and I'm excited to be returning with Kawasaki.
"Last year we had great speed, but made some mistakes, so we will learn from those and be more prepared than ever. It's one of the toughest, most exciting races in the world and a true test of man and machine. I love the challenge."
KDM Cookstown 100: 1st D. McGee, 2nd D. Sheils, 3rd A. McLean, 4th M. Sweeney, 5th P. Jordan, 6th N. Kernohan
Royal Hotel Open: 1st D. Sheils, 2nd A. McLean, 3rd D. McGee, 4th T. Maxwell, 5th P. Williams, 6th N. Kernohan
Supersport: 1st A. McLean, 2nd D. McGee, 3rd P. Jordan, 4th D. Sheils, 5th M. Sweeney, 6th N. Kernohan
Supertwins: 1st D. McGee, 2nd A. McLean, 3rd M. Sweeney, 4th S. McKnight, 5th P. Williams, 6th N. Kernohan
Moto3: 1st D. McGee, 2nd N. Moore, 3rd K. Fitzpatrick, 4th P. Gartland, 5th S. Grief, 6th A. Jackson
Senior Support: 1st T. Henry, 2nd D. Keys, 3rd D. Cleary, 4th D. Anderson, 5th A. McAllister, 6th C. Stuart
Junior Support: 1st E. O'Siochru, 2nd V. Brennan, 3rd D. Cottrell, 4th A. Haworth, 5th J. Cassells, 6th N. Colgan
250cc: 1st B. Mateer, 2nd P. Shaw, 3rd G. Hutton
350cc: 1st B. Davidson, 2nd Ed Manly, 3rd N. Moore
500cc: 1st B. Davidson, 2nd Ed Manly, 3rd J. Pemberton
1000cc: 1st R. Ford, 2nd I. Thompson, 3rd P. Shaw