Fresh from his race-winning exploits at the Isle of Man TT Races, Ryan Farquhar’s highly successful season continued on Saturday when he dominated the Mid Antrim 150 road races. Despite the tricky, damp conditions around the 3.54-mile Clough circuit, the KMR Kawasaki rider won all five of his races, including the Grand Final, by comfortable margins to make it 21 wins already for the season.
Having been hit by bad weather in the last three years, the organising Mid Antrim club brought the meeting forward from their traditional August date to June but, sadly, they were still hit by wind and rain and so only 5 controlled laps of practice could take place, Ryan completing his on the 450cc Kawasaki. Saturday was still damp although a dry line appeared as the day wore on and first up for Ryan was the Superbike race. Despite having made a few changes to the big since the TT, the bike was still handling poorly but, after taking it steady in the first few laps, Ryan moved up from third and took his first win of the day by 10.44 seconds.
Next up was the Supertwins race and Ryan, quite literally, dominated the race with a start to finish victory, which saw him take the chequered flag some 45 seconds clear of second placed John Burrows. He also set a new lap record of 98.735mph. Riding a borrowed 600cc ZX-6R Kawasaki, he then completed his hat-trick with a 9.6s victory in the Supersport race and win number 4 soon followed with another dominant performance in the 125cc/450cc race and another new lap record. That just left the Grand Final and, aided by the fastest lap of the day at 106.501mph, it was another start to finish victory for Ryan as he beat Derek Shiels by 10.3s.
Team-mate Jamie Hamilton took strong 5th and 6th place finishes in the two Superbike races but was denied 2nd place and a podium in the Supertwins race when he slid off at the Clough hairpin, fortunately without injury.
"After having a few hectic weeks at the NW200 and TT, I wasn’t sure if I was going to race this weekend but I took the bull by the horns, got the bikes sorted and came along and I’m glad I did now! It’s tough at the moment for everyone and with a number of meetings being cancelled later in the year, I think it’s important I do what I can to support the clubs as best I can as I’d hate any of them to disappear," said Farquhar.
"I think it was appreciated and it’s just such a shame for the Mid Antrim club that the meeting was affected by the weather again. We got a full day’s racing in though and although it was still quite damp and greasy off the racing line and out the back of the circuit, a dry line was there and I was able to complete most of the day with an intermediate front tyre and slick rear.
"The Superbike was still giving me problems and having taken the big fuel tank fitted for the TT off, it changed the characteristics of the bike again. It was a long way off in the first Superbike race so I just took it steady to begin with and managed to take the win but if it had been dry, I wouldn’t have been so fortunate. I made some changes for the Grand Final though and it was a lot better so I could push on a bit more.
"My 600cc bike is still in bits after having it stripped after the Supersport TT race so a big thanks to John Duggan (again!) for loaning me the use of my old 600 and it was another good race for me. In fact, the whole day went really well and I couldn’t have asked for any more - five wins and two lap records was pretty good going and I really enjoyed myself out there.
"I was planning on cutting down my racing a bit this year but, like I say, I think it’s important to support all the clubs as much as possible to keep the meetings going so I’ve got a busy few weeks ahead at the likes of the Bush, Skerries, Walderstown, the Southern 100 and Scarborough so I’ll be hoping to rack up a few more wins there!"