Ryan Farquhar made a triumphant return to the 1000cc class at the Tandragee 100, where the SGS/KMR Kawasaki rider edged a thrilling race against Tyco BMW’s William Dunlop in the Open Superbike event on Friday evening.
The race was brought forward from Saturday’s programme by the organisers with rain forecast over the weekend and any fans lucky enough to be in attendance were treated to a terrific duel between Farquhar and Dunlop, who started the race from pole.
Ballyclare’s Jamie Hamilton was the early leader on John Burrows’ Cookstown/B.E. Racing Suzuki from Farquhar and Dunlop, who each found a way past on lap three to take up the running.
They soon opened a gap at the head of the field as they went toe-to-toe around the 5.3-mile Co Armagh circuit on their Superstock machines, swapping the lead to set up a grandstand finish.
It was Farquhar, though - the most successful Irish national road racer ever - who prevailed to win by 0.4 seconds from Dunlop, with Hamilton claiming the final rostrum place, 12 seconds in arrears.
Mullingar’s Derek McGee chased Hamilton home in fourth place on the Wilson Craig Honda, with Scotsman Keith Amor - also making his return to the Superbike class this season - in fifth on the Rig Deluge BMW S1000RR ahead of Saintfield’s Davy Morgan.
Practice was held in dry conditions on Friday, with Dunlop taking pole for the Superbike class ahead of Hamilton, McGee and Farquhar.
Dunlop was also quickest in the Supersport class on the Chris Dowd/Ivan Curran Racing Caffrey Yamaha from Hamilton, McGee and Amor, while Farquhar topped the Supertwin times from Hamilton and McGee.
Roads are due to close at 10am on Saturday for a seven-race programme.