Keith Farmer has been granted another shot at the British Superbike Championship in 2020 after signing for the Buildbase Suzuki team.
The four-time British champion joined Ulster’s Tyco BMW outfit this year after winning the Superstock 1000 title for the Moneymore-based team in 2018, but Farmer’s season was curtailed after he broke both legs in a crash during qualifying at Knockhill in Scotland.
The 32-year-old from Co Tyrone did not have an option to continue with TAS Racing next season, but Farmer has secured a deal to ride a Suzuki GSX-R1000 for Stuart and Steve Hicken’s Buildbase team alongside young prospect Kyle Ryde from Mansfield.
Farmer, who has made excellent progress in his battle back to full fitness, said: “Last year started well but obviously I had the crash at Knockhill and the injury was pretty significant. Honestly, I didn’t expect to be in as good a shape as I am now, but since then I have done everything I can to keep fit and get back to full fitness as soon as possible.
“That’s been working in the gym, cycling, physio, and even changing my diet. I’ve been back on a Supermoto bike to try and keep bike fit and the movement I have in the legs and ankles is pretty good,” added Farmer, who has set himself a target of challenging for the Showdown in 2020.
“I’m excited for next season, it’s a winning bike and I think I’ll have a team around me that want to give me as much bike time as possible so we can have the best season we can.
“The goal is top-10s from the start, and push towards the top-six and hopefully mix it with the Showdown contenders.”
Farmer has a sparkling track record in the British championship having clinched back to back title in the Superstock 600 and 1000 classes in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
He won the Supersport title for the first time in 2017, underscoring his versatility, and added another Superstock 1000 crown last year to become a quadruple British champion.
Buildbase Suzuki team manager, Steve Hicken, said Farmer and Ryde would have the chance to test for the first time at Cartagena in Spain in early December.
“The goal is to get them as comfortable as possible, which will start with a three-day test in Spain at the start of December,” he said.
“We know Kyle will have a lot to learn but he’s shown he’s more than capable of adapting and we’re looking forward to helping him progress next season, while Keith has already shown he’s got what it takes to compete in BSB and we think we can battle for a Showdown position in 2020.”
The news was announced at Motorcycle Live at the NEC in Birmingham on Saturday.
Farmer joins fellow Ulsterman Glenn and Andrew Irwin in the British Superbike Championship next year, who will ride for Honda Racing on the all-new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
Andrew is entering his second season with the Louth-based team while Glenn is a high-profile new signing as he bids to put a disappointing 2019 behind him.
The Carrick man started the year as one of the title favourites after signing for the championship-winning Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki team.
However, he split from the outfit after a series of below-par results and briefly rode for Tyco BMW as a replacement for the injured Farmer, but left Philip Neill’s team after only four rounds.
Irwin will also make his Isle of Man TT debut next year as he joins Honda’s roads line-up with the highly-rated Davey Todd.