Ryan Farquhar said he was ‘in shock’ after leading Team UK to victory at the international Island Classic meeting at Phillip Island on Sunday.
Farquhar also collected the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy as the top individual points scorer on Roger Winfield’s Harris Yamaha F1, notching 141 points in total as he finished eighth, fourth, sixth and fifth in the four six-lap races at the spectacular circuit, narrowly ahead of fellow team member Conor Cummins, who secured a total of 139 points.
Combined with Jeremy McWilliams’ haul of 138 points, who finished as the third highest individual points scorer, Team UK won the coveted Tahbilk International Challenge title, finally breaking host nation Australia’s stranglehold on the event.
Farquhar said: “This is all a bit of a shock really. Race four was really all about playing the team game, but in the latter stages I knew what the equation was and I just really put my head down.
“The victory hasn’t really sunk in yet, but if you ask me about midnight tonight I’m sure I will have come to grips with it all by then.”
The Australian team, including Cameron Donald, Steve Martin, Shawn Giles, Jed Metcher and Paul Young, won three of the four races but Farquhar’s consistent finishes along with the points gained by Manxman
Cummins and McWilliams won through in the end, giving Team UK a 42-point victory with 617 points to the Aussies’ 575. America finished third with 445 points followed by New Zealand on 347.
Australia’s Brendan Roberts had one hand on the Ken Wootton trophy but ran off at Doohan Corner on the final lap of the last race and failed to finish.
The error left the door open for Farquhar, who still had plenty of work to do to cement his position at the top of the individual standings and had to battle through on the final lap to overhaul Ramsey rider Cummins, taking the chequered flag in fifth place with Cummins eventually finishing seventh.
Former Grand Prix winner McWilliams was left to rue a 17th place finish in race three after stalling his Harris Yamaha on the grid. The veteran racer clinched a runner-up result in race one and emerged victorious in race two before signing off with sixth place in the final race.
A delighted McWilliams, who previously won the Ken Wootton trophy three times but had yet to taste success in the prestigious Team series, said: “This is a great day for the UK team, and understandably there’s a fair bit of emotion in the pits at the moment.
“The International Challenge is extremely tough and you’ve got to be there in every race. This weekend, we had solid riders and solid equipment and we proved to be more reliable when it counted.
“But we still had our fair share of issues, but to get past those headaches and take the victory is an absolutely sensational result. And congratulations must also go to Ryan, who was incredible all weekend.”
TT star John McGuinness plus Mike Edwards were also part of Team UK.
Australia rider Giles was a double winner, coming home first in races one and three, with Metcher taking the honours in the final race.
Cameron Donald finished third in race one and fourth in the final two races after a DNF in race two.