Ryan Farquhar is confident his KMR Kawasaki machines will be right at the forefront in the Supertwins class once again at the international road races in 2019.
The Dungannon man has confirmed that Mullingar’s Derek McGee will ride in his colours on the 650cc Kawasaki this season, while Jeremy McWilliams will compete at the fonaCAB North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils.
Former Grand Prix winner McWilliams twice finished on the rostrum in second place in the Supertwin races at the North West in 2018, although McGee – who had topped the times impressively in qualifying – was denied his chance due to a recurring component failure. He later made amends though with a superb runner-up finish at the Isle of Man TT in the Lightweight race.
Farquhar, who is set to announce his full 2019 rider line-up soon, said: “A lot of people forget that Derek McGee qualified over two seconds faster than everybody else at the North West, but we had a problem with the bike and that stopped him racing.
“Hopefully we’ll be in a better position this year because we just had a component that failed on us last year through no fault of our own. It was a manufacturing fault but hopefully that is all sorted now.
“You can never rule Jeremy out but he has actually said that he feels Derek will be the man to beat and I agree with him,” he added.
“We’ve the best possible package we’ve ever had but you still don’t know what everyone else is going to have.
“We filled the podium in 2012 and it could happen again, or else we could be on the back foot – you can only do your best.”
McWilliams last rode for Farquhar’s team at the Sunflower Trophy meeting in October, when he was involved in some terrific battles with double race winner Glenn Irwin on the Burrows Engineering Racing Kawasaki, Dan Cooper (KW Electrical Kawasaki) and young prospect Eunan McGlinchey, who set a new lap record on the McAdoo Kawasaki at Bishopscourt.
Farquhar felt the racing was some of the best he had seen at an Irish short circuit meeting and is hoping the Supertwin races at the North West will deliver more red-hot action.
“The Sunflower races last year when Jeremy and Glenn Irwin were racing were the best short circuit races that I’ve ever seen,” he said.
“The lap record was smashed and hopefully we will see more of the same when it comes to the North West 200 in a few months’ time.”
McWilliams made his return to the North West last year after sitting out the event in 2017.
A two-time winner in the Supertwin class around the 8.9-mile Triangle course, the Glengormley man says nothing compares to standing on the podium in Portrush.
“The North West is something very special and there is nothing that comes close to this,” he said.
“No matter how many BSB races you have won or competed in, or how many world championship races you have competed in; to stand on the podium at the North West is very special.
“I think that’s because of the number of people who visit the North West and the event is over a whole week.
“It’s a completely different environment and the event is not concentrated on one weekend – it’s spread over a week so you get to take part in a lot of different events and to meet a lot of people,” McWilliams added.
“It’s a lovely environment, there’s a great atmosphere and good people.
“I just enjoy it more as a social event and I am really looking forward to it again.”