Ryan Farquhar has spoken about his decision to boycott the Bush Road Races in protest about the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland's (Ulster Centre) decision to stop the 450cc machines from competing directly alongside the 125cc bikes at Irish National Road Races.
Over the winter, Farquhar was informed that the 450s would be allowed to compete in direct competition to the 125s and subsequently built his own bike using a KX450F Kawasaki engine. Using the bike successfully over the Easter weekend at Bishopscourt and Kirkistown, Farquhar then rode the bike at the first road race of the season, the Cookstown 100, and promptly defeated William Dunlop on his 125cc Honda by 1.179s after a thrilling race.
However, Dunlop protested that the 450s shouldn't have been allowed to race alongside the 125s and, just before he left for the Isle of Man TT races, Farquhar was told he had been removed from the results, much to his obvious annoyance.
An appeal was subsequently logged and, although this has yet to be heard, Farquhar wasn't allowed to compete against the 125s at the Bush. There was still a race for the 450s but they had to start separately from the 125s and not together as what the MCUI (UC) had initially stated at the beginning of the year.
The reason Farquhar had decided to build a 450cc machine was to prove that they could be competitive against 125s and also that the class had a strong future with two-strokes machines gradually disappearing and being phased out from the racing world.
This could only be done by the two different bikes competing directly against each other in a straight race and Farquhar took the decision to withdraw from the Bush races, not an easy decision given that it's his local circuit, and make a stand against the decisions and mistakes being made by the MCUI (UC).
A bitterly disappointed Farquhar said: "Over the winter I was informed by various parties at the MCUI (UC) that 450s were going to be introduced to run alongside the 125s at National road races. I was given a set of regulations, which I still have, and, having spoke to Kawasaki who fully supported me in the project, built a bike that was completely within the rules and guidelines that were laid down.
“Sadly, the two-strokes are dying out and so the 450 machines are the ideal replacement and perfect for getting youngsters in to the sport. I believed that I could build a bike that could be competitive and do a lot of good for the future of the sport thus proving a lot of the doubters wrong."
"The regulations came out for the Easter meetings and I had my entries accepted subsequently practicing and racing without any problem. The regulations for Cookstown came out in December before the MCUI (UC) had made their decision about the 450s but I again spoke to various parties of the MCUI (UC) who told me that I would be eligible to race the 450 against the 125s at the Cookstown 100. I entered the race, was listed in the programme, qualified second and then won the race. However, William Dunlop protested my inclusion, a decision that was upheld. I did everything by the book, have everything written down in black and white and so appealed the decision as I felt I had been treated unfairly."
"My appeal has yet to be heard yet I was told by the Dungannon and Motorcycle Club that I wouldn't be allowed to race against the 125s at the Bush - I could've raced the 450 as a separate class but the whole idea of the 450 concept was for them to compete in direct competition to the 125s. In my opinion, I should be allowed to race against the 125s until my appeal has been heard and I feel really disappointed that the Dungannon Club didn't back me 100% on this. The MCUI (UC) can't change the rules as and when it suits them yet they're bullying people around and, quite frankly, it's just not on.
"Everyone I've spoke to, whether it be sponsors or friends, is right behind me so I made the decision to withdraw from the Bush meeting. It's my home event so I was bitterly disappointed not to be there but I feel that I have to make a stand and stand up to the MCUI (UC). The 450s are a great bike that can entice young kids into the sport as they are relatively cheap to run and are a great bike for them to learn on.
“Every manufacturer builds a 450cc machine that can be converted into a race bike and, just like I helped do with the Super Twins class, I believed that I could successfully raise the profile of the class and help the future of the sport. But this can only be done if they are allowed to compete directly against the 125s and not be run as a separate race.
“I'm being penalised for the inadequacies of the MCUI (UC) who have failed to get their paperwork in order and have been telling people different things over the last few months over what is and what isn't allowed. It's simply not fair and I won't be pushed around by these bullies."
Kawasaki's Sales & Marketing Manager Michael Johnstone added; "Whilst disappointed, Kawasaki UK support Ryan's decision not to race this weekend. The decision by the organising body not to follow the agreed regulations on the inclusion on 450cc, single cylinder four strokes in the 125cc class at this meeting is very disappointing. We share Ryan's frustration knowing the amount of time, effort and money he has invested in to this project."
"We also share the disappointment of many race fans in Northern Ireland. After the close racing seen in this class at Cookstown, I am sure many were relishing the prospect of a season of competitive racing in this category. We hope that this issue can be resolved soon."
Farquhar’s next meeting will be the Skerries 100 on Saturday 3rd July. The MCUI (Southern Centre) have confirmed that they will be running races as per the initial regulations thus allowing the 450s to compete directly against the 125s.