Ryan Farquhar out to scale old heights at Island Classic
Dungannon's Ryan Farquhar and former Grand Prix ace Jeremy McWilliams set sail for Australia this coming Sunday to compete in the International Island Classic on January 23-25.
The Ulstermen will be an integral part of a strong British team that includes John McGuinness, Conor Cummins, Mike Edwards and Glen Richards. But even bigger news for Farquhar fans is that the record breaking national road racer will be back on a Superbike this season at the Isle of Man TT in June.
As a matter of fact, Farquhar will turn out on Supertwin, Superstock and Superbike machinery this season, starting on May 1-2 at the Tandragee 100, as he explained from his County Tyrone workshop.
"The plan is to start the season at Tandragee, then go on to the North West, TT, possibly Armoy and I'm aiming to take in the Southern 100 this year as well," said Farquhar.
Farquhar has fully rebuilt the ZX-10R Kawasaki that former employee Jamie Hamilton crashed at Killalane back in 2013, and with a super-strong MSS Kawasaki-prepared ZX-10R motor currently being installed, the 38-year-old is confident he will not just be making up the numbers.
"Last year it was a struggle riding just one bike against top riders who were out in every session and it makes it nearly impossible to compete with the likes of that," he explained of his season riding a solitary machine in the Supertwin class.
"You can train all you want," he enthused. "But there's only one way to get dialled into riding a bike and that's on the bike.
"It also gives my sponsors more value for money," said the Dungannon racer, who has retained the support of SGS International with Manx Gas also offering an improved deal for 2015.
But who will his extended team consist of, and what are the aspirations of the SGS International/Manx Gas/KMR Kawasaki squad this term?
"First of all I want to enjoy it and it's not as if I'm over the hill," he smiled.
"When I did decide to stop racing and the circumstances surrounding it, I felt that I had a few years left in me. That was in 2012 and I was fit to go out on a Superstock bike and beat Michael Dunlop and set a new lap record at Skerries."
Looking ahead, he added: "I do feel I can get myself back to that position. I'm not saying I'm going to the TT to win a Superbike race, but I've every confidence I can be competitive.
"And in terms of other riders I will have Jeremy McWilliams in the team for the North West 200 and Conor (Behan) has the option to ride a Twin wherever he wants in 2015."