Irish road racing great Ryan Farquhar has given young protégé Jamie Hamilton a vote of confidence for 2014.
Former British Superstock 600 champion Hamilton came under fire following two major crashes in the second half of the season at the Mid-Antrim 150 and September’s final race at Killalane in Co Dublin, both involving CD Racing’s Derek Sheils.
In August the pair went down hard on the final lap of the Grand Final while battling for the lead at Clough.
A further incident occurred at Killalane, with Hamilton clipping the rear of Sheils’ machine at high speed in the Open race.
The Ballyclare man crashed on the section of the course that previously claimed the lives of Ulster road racers Darran Lindsay and Victor Gilmore, but incredibly walked away largely unscathed with Sheils managing to remain upright.
KMR Kawasaki team owner Farquhar admitted the incident at Killalane was ‘totally’ Hamilton’s fault, but despite the accusations from some quarters in the sport that the 22-year-old is riding on the ragged edge, Farquhar is keen to retain the former short circuit prospect next year.
“At Mid-Antrim I don’t care what anyone says but the crash wasn’t Jamie’s fault – he was hit from behind,” Farquhar said.
“But at Killalane it was totally Jamie’s fault and he was lucky that he got away with it. I hope he learns from that but a lot of people forget that Jamie has only two years’ road racing experience.
“I’ve been telling Jamie all year to settle his head and he has settled down a bit, but getting a win at Mid-Antrim was nearly the worst thing that could have happened him,” he added.
“I’ve said it for many years – once a rider gets a result like that they think they can do it week in, week out, but you have to know when it’s right and when it’s not.
“He got it wrong at Killalane and he was very lucky but I’d be more than happy to be helping Jamie again next year, although I’ve said before that if Jamie can get a better offer than I can give him I wouldn’t stand in his way.”
Hamilton won both the Irish Supertwin and Supersport crowns this year, ending the year unbeaten on the Kawasaki ER6. He also impressed in the Superbike class, finishing fifth in race two at the Ulster Grand Prix ahead of Cameron Donald.
Farquhar, meanwhile, could drastically tone down his involvement in road racing in 2014 if the Dungannon man can secure a deal to compete in the new British Supertwin series, which is set to be added to the British Superbike programme.
The 37-year-old will attend the final BSB round at Brands Hatch in October, when details of the championship are expected to be confirmed.
Farquhar says his top priority for 2014 is to put together a package to contest the inaugural British Supertwin class with a dream team of former Grand Prix star Jeremy McWilliams, Hamilton and possibly a third rider.
If a deal comes to fruition, Farquhar could limit his road race plans to the internationals road races.