NW200: McWilliams’ relief as Ryan Farquhar on mend

Jeremy McWilliams with MotoGP rider Eugene Laverty and Ryan Farquhar on Thursday at the North West 200.

Jeremy McWilliams with MotoGP rider Eugene Laverty and Ryan Farquhar on Thursday at the North West 200.

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Jeremy McWilliams has spoken of his relief as injured road racer Ryan Farquhar continues to make good progress in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Farquhar’s family and KMR Kawasaki team made a collective decision to race on at the North West 200 in the Supertwins race on Saturday, with McWilliams leading the charge in the famous orange and black livery along with newcomer Danny Webb and Canadian rider Darren James.

On Thursday, Farquhar crashed while leading the first Supertwins event on the run from Dhu Varren railway bridge towards Black Hill, sustaining chest and pelvic injuries.

His condition was later described as ‘seriously ill’ but there was positive news on Friday afternoon, with McWilliams revealing the 40-year-old Dungannon man was stable and making good progress.

The KMR statement conveyed that doctors treating Farquhar are ‘very optimistic’ that he will make a full recovery.

Gloucestershire’s Dan Cooper, who was also caught up in the crash, has been discharged from the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

McWilliams, who won the second Supertwin race last May after Farquhar clinched the honours in the opener, told the News Letter: “The statement was made on behalf of Karen [Ryan’s wife] and the family – we all took the decision together as a team. We’re all happy that the bikes will be on the grid and obviously that’s what Ryan wants as well.

“Ryan’s stable, everything’s good, everyone is happy and we’re all very pleased with his progress. He had a good night last night and we’re all delighted that he’s stable and that’s the main thing,” added the 52-year-old former Grand Prix star.

“There was a lot of scaremongering and rumours afterwards but we were in contact the whole time and it was just disappointing to hear all the rumours spreading through Portstewart about Ryan’s condition.

“It’s frustrating, so we put a statement together really to give people the true picture.”

McWilliams passed the scene of Farquhar’s crash on Thursday evening but says the incident hasn’t made him question his own participation in road racing.

“No, you’ve got to have total self-belief and be 100 per-cent confident that what you are doing is right at all times and what happened doesn’t make me feel any different,” said the Glengormley man, who made his roads bow at the North West in 2012 at the age of 48.

“To be honest, you’ve no idea who it is when you come on the scene because it all happens too fast. I’d no idea it was Ryan until I came back round and they stopped us.”

“It’s back to the grind again tomorrow and everybody wants to the see the bikes back on the grid, so that’s what we’re doing.”

McWilliams is bidding for a third win in the Supertwins class today and has his hands full as he fills in for injured Manx rider Dan Kneen on the Mar-Train Yamaha machines.

“It’s going to be a busy day and we’ve got a lot of races to be out in,” he said.

“I’m happy with how the bikes are working and we’d made a change to the R1 Superbike, but we missed the window on Thursday because the session was cut short because of an incident that happened in front of me at Millbank roundabout.

“If we can get some good clear track in the races and do some good sectors then we’ve some good times in us. I think we’ve made some good progress and I’m looking forward to the races,” he said.

“I was struggling a little bit for speed on the Twin to keep up with the four bikes in front of me on Thursday night, so it’s just one of those things.”