Farquahar signs Johnston, Kennaugh for 2017 roads programme

Farquhar and the dread Pirate Johnston at Wednesday's NW200 launch
Farquhar and the dread Pirate Johnston at Wednesday's NW200 launch Picture: KMR Kawasaki

KMR Kawasaki will again have a strong presence at the International road races in 2017 with Ryan Farquhar’s team running Lee Johnston and Hudson Kennaugh at both the International North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.

The duo will campaign a pair of ER6 650cc Kawasaki’s in the Lightweight races at both events, which take place in May and June respectively, with Johnston expected to be challenging for the race wins. The Northern Irishman’s machine will run in the vivid red colours of the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance with Kennaugh’s carrying the branding and colours of the International Energy Group (IEG).

Johnston is a three-time winner at the North West 200, including a brace of Lightweight victories in 2014, whilst he has previous experience of teaming up with Farquhar having previously ridden for him in the 2015 Lightweight TT race. Having lapped at close to 119mph, he was holding onto a podium position before being forced to retire on the final lap.

With Farquhar recovering from his injuries sustained at last year’s North West 200, 27-year old Johnston will spearhead the team’s assault at the TT as he seeks his first win around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course.

Kennaugh, meanwhile, will make his debut for the team at May’s North West 200, which will also be the South African’s first appearance at the 8.9-mile Triangle circuit. As well as competing in both Lightweight races there, he’ll also contest the same race at the TT where he should be firmly pushing for a top ten finish.

Now based at Ashby de la Zouch in the Midlands, 2017 will be the 36-year olds fifth time on the island with his best finish, 24th, coming in last year’s Superstock race when he also set a new personal best lap in excess of 123mph. A former race winner in the British Supersport and Superstock Championships, Kennaugh lapped at close to 114mph and was running on the edge of the top ten in the 2015 Lightweight race before going out on the final lap.

Team boss Farquhar is also hoping to run Kennaugh on a Superstock BMW at the North West 200 and although no longer racing himself, he’s excited about his team’s chances for success in 2017 and is eagerly looking forward to the season getting underway.

“It’s great to be back in a position running a team once more and from where I was at the North West 200 last year to where I am now is a big bonus. Lee’s perfectly suited to the bike and has done a good job for me in the past while Hudson is a fantastic short circuit rider and more than capable of getting some good results on the roads,” he said.

“The majority of my trade sponsors have stayed with me, which is terrific news, and whilst it will be different for me this year with not riding, I’m really pleased to have two great riders on board. I’m looking forward to seeing the boys out on track and with a competitive package, I’m confident we’ll be there or thereabouts come race day.”

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