NW200: Karen Farquhar: When Ryan winked at me I knew he was OK

Ryan Farquhar with wife Karen in the Royal Victoria Hospital as he recovers from his crash injuries. Picture: Stephen Davison
Ryan Farquhar with wife Karen in the Royal Victoria Hospital as he recovers from his crash injuries. Picture: Stephen Davison

Injured road racing star Ryan Farquhar’s wife Karen has described the “incredibly special moment” she knew her husband was going to survive his horror crash at the North West 200.

Farquhar came off in last Thursday evening’s Supertwins race and was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast by a PSNI helicopter.

Thumbs up from Ryan Farquhar (left), Nico Mawhinney and Paul Gartland, as they recover in the RVH after their crashes at last weeks North West 200. 
Picture: Stephen Davison

Thumbs up from Ryan Farquhar (left), Nico Mawhinney and Paul Gartland, as they recover in the RVH after their crashes at last weeks North West 200. Picture: Stephen Davison

The 40-year-old Dungannon man was in a serious condition, with an injury to his liver and internal bleeding causing particular concern.

Farquhar, though, has now been moved out of intensive care and is in a stable condition.

Two days after his crash, young English rider Malachi Mitchell-Thomas was killed in an incident in the second Supertwins race at the same part of the course.

A tearful Karen recalled the moment she went to see Ryan in the intensive care unit at the RVH.

“I walked into intensive care and Ryan was lying in the bed not really able to speak or communicate with us,” she said.

“He looked up at me and winked and then he squeezed my hand as tight as anything.

“It was such an incredibly special moment because I knew then that he was going to be still with us.

“I was told that he had an injury to his liver and then they told me the operation he had was a success,” Karen added.

“But I didn’t really realise just how serious things had been until they explained that Ryan had internal bleeding and that he was lucky to have been in the right place at the right time to get the treatment that he needed.”

Farquhar had been leading the race when the accident occurred at the blind, right-hand bend on the uphill section of the course past the railway bridge at Dhu Varren in Portrush.

Another rider, Dan Cooper from Gloucester, was caught up in the incident, but escaped with minor injuries.

Karen was watching live footage of the race in the pit lane but happened to glance away seconds before the crash took place.

At first, she didn’t realise that Ryan had been involved.

“I was watching the big screen like everyone else and I glanced away for a second and when I looked back I realised that there had been an accident,” she said.

“I didn’t realise at first that it was Ryan and even when I was told that it was him I still expected him to come limping down through the paddock to me.

“I went from being content to being worried all night long as I was given information by the doctors.”

Thankfully, Ryan is now on the road to recovery and Karen has hailed his progress over the past week as a “miracle”.

“It has been a real rollercoaster and to see him getting better now after being in intensive care just a couple of days ago feels like a miracle,” she said.

“There are no words to describe my gratitude to the race medics and the doctors and nurses at the Royal for everything they have done for Ryan – they saved Ryan’s life.”

Despite his injuries, Karen revealed that her husband wanted to be kept up to date with the latest news from Saturday’s races.

“Even when Ryan was in intensive care he twisted his wrist in the same way you twist a throttle to let me know he wanted to know what was going on with the racing last Saturday,” she said.

Now, Karen is looking forward to returning to some form of normality and said the couple’s daughters, Keeley, 11, and seven-year-old Mya can’t wait to welcome their daddy home.

“We have had so much support from friends and family, from the team and from people that we didn’t even know,” Karen said.

“Keeley wants to take him to a nice restaurant for a big feed and Mya says she can’t wait to get her daddy home so he can take us to Tayto Park this summer!”