A deflated Ryan Farquhar has vowed to ‘fight my corner until the end’ after double Supertwin race winner Richard Cooper was dramatically disqualified from Saturday’s results at the North West 200.
Dungannon man Farquhar, a two-time Supertwin winner at the event, built the bike raced by Cooper for Northern Ireland’s J McC Roofing team.
The Nottingham rider claimed pole position in the class and dominated both races, taking victory in the first by 8.4 seconds from Frenchman Pierre Yves Bian (VAS Engine Paton) and completing his brace with an increased margin of 11 seconds in race two over Joe Loughlin from Castleblayney, who was riding a Paton for Ian Lougher’s team.
Cooper also set a new lap record at 112.490mph, but the 39-year-old’s celebrations were overshadowed by the controversy on Saturday after a protest was lodged, and Cooper was later stripped of his maiden wins at the north coast meeting.
The Kawasaki ER7 machine was deemed to have been in breach of the regulations due to a ‘modification to the machine’s frame’.
A statement on Saturday from the organisers said: “The results of both races have been amended following the exclusion of Richard Cooper’s J McC Roofing Kawasaki because of a modification to the machine’s frame, which is deemed to be against the rules by the stewards of the meeting.
“They have excluded the machine from the results which means Richard Cooper is now disqualified as the winner of both races.”
The decision gave Yves Bian and Loughlin their maiden wins at the North West respectively, although not under the circumstances either would have wished.
Farquhar has been an ambassador for Supertwin racing in Northern Ireland and has been credited with the success of the class, which has replaced the 125cc and 250cc two-stroke races at the North West and Isle of Man TT.
The ruling by the stewards left him fuming on Saturday, and Farquhar says he has lodged an appeal and is attempting to meet with officials to discuss the matter further.
“I’ve put an appeal in against the decision, although I’m not even sure if I am actually able to launch an appeal,” he said.
“But Richard [Cooper] is able to appeal against the decision and has seven days to do so, and he absolutely intends to do that. I’m going to pursue this all the way.
“If there was a performance gain, then you could absolutely understand a protest, but what I have done (in relation to the fairing bracket) is within the rules – there is no performance gain whatsoever.
“On Saturday, there was so much going on and I didn’t have any rules in front of me. I just wanted to get the second race out of the way and then strip the engine, and then appeal and fight our corner,” he added.
“That’s where I am at right at this minute. I’ve written an appeal against Richard’s disqualification and I want to be able to go to a stewards meeting or whatever the case may be, and fight our corner. I haven’t officially heard from anyone about my appeal yet as it stands at the moment.”
Farquhar said the developments on Saturday ruined what should have been a memorable day for Cooper and Jason McGaw’s team.
“It’s my sponsors and Richard that I feel sorry for. I can take it on the chin, but I’m gutted for the sponsors who have put their money and products into this to help us achieve our goals,” he said.
“Richard rode his heart out and ended up getting a kick in the face for it. For me personally I’m not really surprised because this has been happening to me for years.”
Cooper was one of the standout riders at this year’s North West, earning three podiums in the Superstock and Superbike classes in addition to his now defunct Supertwin victories.
“It’s been pretty emotional, I’m not going to lie,” he said.
“What I’ve been through since 2020 I can’t even describe, and never did I think I would be standing on the podium again, never mind five times in one week. But my Supertwin pole position, lap record and two wins has been taken away from me.
“Congratulations to the team and rider who felt they needed to do this.”
Farquhar has no plans to run his machines at the upcoming TT races due to rule changes which limit the Kawasaki models to a capacity of 650cc.
The regulations differ from those used at the North West and Irish national road races, where the limit is 700cc.
But there was some joy for another local rider amongst the gloom as Lee Johnston edged out Todd in another epic battle to take the Supersport spoils on his Ashcourt Racing Yamaha.
Johnston has been in outstanding form in the British Supersport Championship and he carried that over to the North West, passing Davey Todd on the last lap at Juniper chicane for his fifth win overall.
“We were both passing each other and not slowing each other up, and it was good, clean fun,” said the Fermanagh man.
“He made a mistake at Black Hill and I was able to get a run on him. It’s amazing to see so many people out there today and it’s great to put on a show. Hopefully this makes up for Thursday when I was a bit of a chicken and didn’t race in the rain.”
Michael Dunlop finished on the rostrum in third on his MD Racing Yamaha.