Keith Farmer opens up on his future after injury-hit British Superbike return

Northern Ireland's Keith Farmer.
Northern Ireland's Keith Farmer.
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Four-time British champion Keith Farmer believes he has reached a crossroads in his career as he ponders his future following a season-ending crash at Knockhill in Scotland.

The Clogher man, who won the British Superstock 1000 title for the Tyco BMW team in 2018, stepped up to the premier BSB class this year with the Northern Ireland outfit, joining England’s Christian Iddon.

Farmer was making steady progress with the brand-new S1000RR and clinched his best result of sixth at Brands Hatch, but his BSB return was cut short when he was caught out in the wet at Knockhill in June, fracturing both legs after he became entangled with his machine.

The 32-year-old is now back in training but Farmer, who won the Superstock 600 and 1000 titles in 2011 and 2012, a Supersport crown in 2017 and another Superstock 1000 championship last year, says he has reached a turning point.

“In hospital, I was operated on during the Sunday after my crash,” Farmer told the News Letter.

“I phoned Philip (Neill – Tyco BMW team principal) afterwards, and maybe I was still a little bit under the influence of the drugs they gave me – the anaesthetic or whatever – but I basically told him that I was finished.

“It’s not that I want to quit racing, but I’ve won four British titles and I’ve never earned a wage out of this.

“The way it is at the minute, if I don’t earn some money out of the job then I’m going to have to really look at things. The fact is that I can’t do my job right in racing because I’m still working a full-time job to pay my bills,” he added.

“It’s great to do this as a hobby and I love racing, but it’s got to the point now where I need a wage. I’m not asking for a million pounds but I just want a fair chance at doing the job right.

“If I could get a decent wage to cover my bills, then I could do my job better.”

Farmer revealed he was due to travel to the penultimate BSB round at Donington Park today, where he has a number of meetings lined up.

“I spoke with Philip at Oulton Park and it did seem like he was very interested in having me again, but maybe it won’t necessarily be only down to him any more, as BMW seem to be taking more involvement,” he said.

“I have spoken with several other teams and I’m going to Donington Park on Friday to have a few meetings.

“I’ve had some positive feedback and I just want to be in a position where I can get plenty of testing done over the winter and enjoy riding my bike again.

“I’ve been there and got the T-shirt in the other classes and really I want to focus on BSB now because I believe I can do a good job.”

Farmer’s hopes this season may have been curtailed following his crash, but the Ulster rider has adopted a positive outlook and concedes things could have been much worse.

“On the lap when I crashed, I just went an inch or two wide and hit the white line in the wet, and I ended up losing the rear,” he recalled.

“The bike collected me and we ended up with two badly broken legs. I try and look at things positively and I think I was very lucky in the circumstances because the bike could’ve landed on my upper body instead and I might not be here talking to you today.

“I’m here, I’ve still got my little family, I can walk and talk and I’m very grateful for that. I think about young Aaron Clifford, who was seriously in a crash a couple of weeks after me.

“When I heard about Aaron then it really brought it home to me how lucky I was.”