Ryan Farquhar created history at Killalane on Sunday when he took three more road race wins to break the all-time Irish record, previously held by the legendary Joey Dunlop. Farquhar's hat-trick saw him move on to 121 Irish National road race wins, three more than the total set by Dunlop whilst it also moved him on to a staggering 60 for the season. It's been a truly remarkable year for the KMR Kawasaki rider and one that will go down in the record books as one of the best ever years, in any discipline, by a rider.
The KMR Kawasaki rider had to settle for second in his first race of the weekend, when Michael Dunlop got the better of him by 0.1s in Saturday afternoon's Non-Championship 600cc race but he was immediately back to winning ways on Sunday. A 20-second victory in the Supertwins race ensured he maintained his 100% Championship record in that particular class but he had to work a lot harder in the Open race as Dunlop again fought with him throughout. On this occasion, Ryan came out on top, his margin of victory after 5 laps just over 3 seconds as he also set the fastest lap of the race at 111.770mph.
The 600cc Championship race was even tighter and was a terrific advert for road racing with Ryan again going head-to-head with Dunlop. Using all his experience and skill, Ryan defeated his younger adversary by half a second and but any hopes of a fourth win in the Grand Final disappeared on the fourth lap when he ran wide at one of the corners. Dunlop was unable to avoid him and ran in to the back of him and whilst Ryan was able to get going again, the rear hugger jammed into the rear wheel causing him to have an extremely anxious moment. A quick stop to remove it solved the problem and he was able to take tenth at the chequered flag. Nevertheless, the hat-trick saw him break a record that many believed would never be broken and his tally of 121 Irish Road Race wins is one of the finest accomplishments ever recorded.
Speaking later, a delighted, and emotional, Ryan said: "It's been a really good weekend and to be standing here now with the all-time record of 121 wins is something special - if anyone had told me that when I started racing I would have laughed at them! My hand injuries were still causing me a few problems and I had to have an injection each day but once the adrenalin kicked in, the pain eased a bit and I was able to get my head down and to claim another hat-trick is simply superb - it really has been a brilliant year. I did have a reminder today though how fine a line it is when the rear hugger jammed into the rear wheel and locked it up, snapping it sideways, when in fourth gear. It would have been a major incident but fortunately I managed to bring the bike under control and thanks to the help of a couple of marshals, I was able to get going again."
"The BBC had a camera crew with me all weekend and the Killalane club presented me with a really nice piece of crystal when I broke the record whilst the number of well wishers dropping by to wish me good luck was pretty overwhelming. I haven't reached 121 wins on my own though and I've got to give special mention to my Grandad, who bought me first ever bike, Ernie Kee and Stephen Ewing. Winston McAdoo gave me my first opportunity on four-stroke machinery and then Kenny Harker and Nick Morgan came on board whilst Kawasaki UK, Shark Helmets, Beta Tools and the '77 Supporters Club' have been a huge help also. Everyone who has helped me in my career, whether personally, financially or professionally, all deserve credit as without them none of it would have happened and I'm extremely grateful for everyone who's been with me along the way."
Ryan has one more chance to add to his tally of wins in 2009 as he will be competing at the International Gold Cup races at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough next weekend, the races taking place at the North Yorkshire coastal circuit on September 19-20.