Irish road racing superpower Ryan Farquhar says a shock deal to ride the Tyco BMW Superbike at this year’s Isle of Man TT has taken his motivation for 2016 to an unprecedented level.
The three-time TT winner will join Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson on the S1000RR in the RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior races in June, taking over the ride from Guy Martin, who has opted to skip the Mountain Course festival to participate in a mountain bike challenge in North America.
I’ve never been as motivated all the years I’ve been racing. I feel good about everything and I’m very excited - Ryan Farquhar
Farquhar previously signed for Northern Ireland’s TAS Racing team in 2006, but a practice crash at the Cookstown 100 at the start of the season ruled him out of action for more than three months, effectively ruining the opportunity before a wheel was turned in anger.
Ten years on, the Dungannon star – who celebrated his 40th birthday last month – has again linked up with the Philip Neill-run outfit and Farquhar is determined to grasp the chance to ride one of the most sought after Superbikes in the paddock with both hands.
Ireland’s most successful ever National road racer will also ride a BMW Superstock machine this year, ending a long and fruitful association with Kawasaki’s ZX-10R.
With backing from new sponsor International Energy Group [IEG], Farquhar will make his debut on the bike at Donington Park in a Thundersport GB round over the Easter weekend before using the Mid Antrim 150 and Tandragee 100 meetings for additional set-up time.
He will continue to run his SGS International KMR Kawasaki team in the Supertwins class, fielding four riders at the North West 200 in May, including two-time winner Jeremy McWilliams, newcomer Danny Webb and Canadian rider Darren James.
Australia’s Cameron Donald – set for a sensational return to Wilson Craig Racing this year – will join the team at the TT, riding McWilliams’ Supertwin in the Lightweight race.
On Tuesday, an upbeat Farquhar – who will carry the number 16 plate on the Tyco BMW Superbike at the TT – told the News Letter: “I’ve never been as motivated all the years I’ve been racing. My whole approach is different, I’ve changed my diet, I’m doing training that I’ve never done before including boxing. I just feel really good about everything and I’m very excited.
“Things were finished before they had even started with TAS the last time back in 2006. It spoiled what could have been, but the way I look at things is that everything happens for a reason and there’s a reason why I ended up going the BMW route this year: because of that, I was put in line for the Superbike ride at the TT with Guy Martin pulling out,” added Farquhar, who stressed that his deal is centred only around the TT at present.
“It was meant to be and that’s how I look at these things. Here I am at 40 years old, getting an opportunity to ride a really competitive Superbike at the Isle of Man TT and that is what’s giving me the motivation.”
On his decision to switch to a BMW Superstock machine after years with Kawasaki – purchased through TAS Racing – Farquhar said it was a simple choice in the end.
“I needed a new Superstock bike for this year and the deal that they put on the table for me for the new ZX-10 was nowhere near as good as BMW had offered me,” he explained.
“It’s no secret that I didn’t get on with the newer model of the Kawasaki ZX-10 that came out in 2011 and actually a few people ditched it and went back to the older version on a few occasions, so that was part of the reason too. I can’t wait to get started.”
Farquhar was also in the frame to ride the Suter MMX 500 two-stroke machine at the TT this year, but was forced to turn down the opportunity with the Tyco BMW Superbike deal in the pipeline.
A two-man team was being considered by CEO Eskil Suter, but Welshman Ian Lougher will spearhead the Swiss manufacturer’s TT debut as the sole rider.