Farquhar dominates Cookstown
The Ryan Farquhar steam-roller showed no signs of slowing down at the weekend when the KMR Kawasaki rider dominated the racing at Saturday's Cookstown 100 road races taking no less than five race wins.
Hot on the heels of his eight wins at Oliver's Mount, Scraborough two weeks ago, Farquhar won all five of the races he started around the 2.1-mile Orritor circuit, the first time anyone has won five Irish National road races in one day, including the feature Superbike race.
Farquhar opened his account with a hard fought win in the 125cc race where, riding his KX450F, he managed to get the better of William Dunlop on the final lap for his first win of the day.
Next up was the Open race. With a brilliant start, Ryan was never headed and with a lead of eight seconds at half race distance, he was able to ease off in the closing stages for a comfortable victory.
The Supersport 600cc race was another close encounter with Ryan and Michael Dunlop never more than half a second apart during the entire race but, when it mattered most, Ryan was in front and he duly completed his hat trick with another fine win.
The 10-lap feature Cookstown 100 race was Ryan's fourth race of the day and he led the field round at the end of the first lap although he was being pushed hard by Cameron Donald.
The dicing duo left the field behind and with a new lap record Donald closed right on to the back wheel of Ryan but he wasn't to be bettered and set an absolute lap record on lap eight to edge away.
With two perfect last laps, Ryan was able to control the race and he took a superb win from Donald by 1.1 seconds, creating some more history later when he won the Super Twins race for his fifth win of the day.
To make it a perfect day for KMR Kawasaki, fellow team member Darren Hughes also won his two races to make it seven from seven for the team.
Farquhar said: "It's been a fantastic day and a really good weekend for the whole team. In the 125cc race I was down on speed to William, as I knew I would be, but I rode the wheels off the bike and when he hesitated going by a backmarker I saw an opportunity and grabbed it with both hands.
“The wee bike is awesome and we're already proving people wrong with what we can do - to get a road race win on what is essentially a motocross bike is awesome and these bikes could well be the future so I'd expect to see more and more of them on the grid in the years to come."
"In the first Superbike race I got a great start and couldn't quite believe the gap I pulled out - I thought they'd all pulled in or something - so just rode to my pit board but the feature race was a lot harder.
"Cameron was out on his Superbike and I could hear him behind me all the time but I just concentrated on being on the right line all the time and with the bike working superbly, I was able to set the absolute lap record and pull away from him.
"It's a real testament to the Dunlop tyres too as I've used just one set for the practice and racing at both Scarborough and Cookstown - and there's still some life in them!"
"Finally, there was the Super Twins race and I began by putting on a bit of a show for the crowd but I thought that might have ended in disaster so I got my head down again and rode hard until the end.
"With Darren winning also, we've taken 7 wins between us, which must be some kind of record too so with the success at Scarborough as well, I couldn't have asked for a better start to the season.
"It would be nice to sweep the board at the North West and TT but that's probably a bit too much to ask! We'll continue to work hard though and see what happens, you never know!"
Farquhar now has a three-week break before the International North West 200 on May 11-15.
Picture by Stephen Davison, Pacemaker Press International