BSB: Farmer chalks up maiden Supersport double at Knockhill

Keith Farmer squeezed past fellow Northern Ireland rider Andrew Irwin on a thrilling final lap of the Supersport Feature race at Knockhill.
Keith Farmer squeezed past fellow Northern Ireland rider Andrew Irwin on a thrilling final lap of the Supersport Feature race at Knockhill.
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Keith Farmer wrapped up his maiden double in the Dickies British Supersport Championship at Knockhill in Scotland.

The Clogher man, who now lives in Penrith, Cumbria, swooped late to deny fellow Ulsterman Andrew Irwin in a thrilling end to the Feature race yesterday after the pair also went head to head in Saturday’s Sprint race.

Team Appleyard Macadam Racing rider Farmer and Irwin (Gearlink Kawasaki) engaged in a game of cat and mouse throughout the race with nothing to separate them.

Carrick prospect Irwin led on the final lap but Farmer timed his move to perfection on the Yamaha R6, slipping through at the hairpin on the last lap to snatch the win and wrap up a stunning double.

Eglinton’s David Allingham also mounted a late charge to grab the final podium spot at the line on the EHA Racing Yamaha ahead of Dublin’s Jack Kennedy (GAC Logistics MV Agusta).

On Saturday, Farmer and Irwin slogged it out in the Sprint race, trading places to set up a grandstand showdown.

Irwin was proving strong on the brakes at the hairpin but Farmer found another way through at Clark’s on the penultimate lap.

The two-time British champion, who clinched the Superstock 600 and 1000 titles in successive seasons in 2011 and 2012, fired in the fastest lap of the race to earn his maiden Supersport win.

Irwin kept Kennedy at bay to secure the runner-up spot, with Ben Currie (Gearlink Kawasaki) in fourth followed by Allingham.

It was a dream weekend for Farmer, who will now have his sights set on becoming a British champion for a third time.

The Supersport Championship has been blown wide open after reigning champion Tarran Mackenzie left the McAMS Yamaha team to grasp an opportunity to compete in the Moto2 World Championship.

Mackenzie remains at the top of the standings on 150 points after winning all six races he competed in before making the switch to the Grand Prix scene.

Allingham is in second place, 27 points behind with Farmer now only three points further in arrears in third.

Irwin is also firmly in title contention, just five points behind Farmer, in what is shaping up to be a barnstorming title race.

Farmer is making the most of his chance with the Appleyard Macadam Racing team after initially being drafted in as a replacement for the injured Luke Jones for the opening rounds. However, he did enough to strike a deal for the rest of the season and is now among the favourites for championship glory.

The experienced Ulsterman rode for the Quay Garage Honda team last year in the Superstock 1000 Championship and finished third in the standings behind Tarran Mackenzie and Ian Hutchinson, taking race wins at Oulton Park and Knockhill on the ageing Fireblade.

A frustrating winter saw Farmer unable to secure a ride for 2017 as he joined fellow top Northern Ireland riders Andy Reid and Josh Elliott on the sidelines, with teams demanding budgets of up to £50,000 for the season.

Fortunately, the former Supermoto star has caught a break and Farmer is certainly making it count as he eyes up another British crown.