Isle of Man TT winner Ryan Farquhar has labelled one of his most frustrating Ulster Grand Prix outings ‘a tough day for everybody’.
The Dungannon star took a Supertwin victory at Dundrod, but that was his only win. Problems in qualifying meant he started a number of races low down on the grid and, although he scored a brace of top 8 finishes in the Superbike and Supersport races, the KMR Kawasaki rider was left to ponder what might have been.
Thursday’s Dundrod 150 saw Farquhar enjoy a good battle with Wayne Hamilton in the Supertwins race, but, just as they'd started their 4th lap, the red flag came out due to rain.
Subsequently, the results went back to the end of the second lap and that meant Farquhar was awarded second, just 0.656s adrift. The feature Dundrod 150 Superbike race got under way at 7.30pm, and despite starting from the fifth row of the grid, Farquhar was amazingly up to 2nd at the end of the first lap.
However, no sooner had the riders started their second lap than the red flag came out due to further rain and the race was abandoned.
At Saturday’s Ulster GP, a good start in the Superstock race saw Farquhar up to 4th at the end of lap one, despite another lowly start position, and half way around lap two this became 3rd.
It soon became apparent to Farquhar that his choice of a wet front tyre wasn't going to work in the drying conditions and, after a number of slides, he retired at the end of the lap. With conditions considerably better for the following Supersport race, he took a hard-fought 8th, just ahead of fellow Kawasaki rider Ian Lougher.
Another rain shower meant that Farquhar started the Supertwins race on wet tyres and in the early stages it was another battle with Hamilton. This time Farquhar was in front and when they caught a group of slower 250cc riders, he used his experience to get through cleanly and seize control with his task being made slightly easier as Hamilton crashed out.
Farquhar eventually took the win by more than a minute, also taking the lead on the road, and it proved to be a great race for the KMR team with Adrian Archibald taking 2nd and newcomer Jamie Hamilton 4th.
Farquhar was then back out on his Superstock machine for the feature Superbike race and, despite the speed advantage of the Superbikes, he took a strong 8th place, not too far behind a similarly mounted Michael Dunlop.
When he got to the paddock he discovered a problem with the bike - a broken radiator meant the day’s racing was over for Farquhar.
“It has definitely been a bit of an up and down meeting for me and, aside from the Supertwins races, it's been heavy going - just as it looked like I might be able to get a good result, something's come along to prevent it!”
“In all the years of racing I've done at the Ulster, it has to be the most problematical qualifying I've ever had with all manner of things going wrong, whether it be the weather, a poor tyre choice or something else.”
“Still, I got stuck in during Thursday's races and was right with Wayne when the red flag came out in the Supertwins race so, with no time to re-run the race, I had to settle for 2nd. I was way back on the fifth row for the Superbike race, but made a really good start and got by everyone bar Guy Martin, who was so far ahead by the time I'd got up to 2nd I couldn't even see him! I felt comfortable out there, but another red flag came out just as another podium looked to be on the cards.”
“I put it all behind me for Saturday's race and was hopeful that the Superstock race could give me my best result. The track was quite wet on the warm-up lap so I swapped from intermediates to wets, but as soon as we went out on the first lap, I could see the track was drying so thought we could be in trouble.”
“I started to get some major front end slides, so much so that I thought I had a puncture, but the tyre must have overheated due to the conditions so it wasn't safe for me to continue and I had to pull in. I rode as hard as I could in the 600 race and enjoyed a good battle with Wayne Hamilton and Ian Lougher and then regrouped for the Supertwins race. It was wet again so I went for the wets and this time they were the right decision and I was able to keep out of trouble and stay out front.”
“It was a great race for all of the team with Adrian and Jamie finishing 2nd and 4th and if he hadn't had to start from the back of the grid, it could have been a clean sweep of the podium as Jamie was riding so, so well.”
“The Superstock bike was up against it in the Superbike race so, again, I rode as hard as I could, but towards the end of the race, steam started to come up from the bike and it turned out the radiator had gone so that was me done for the day.”
“It was certainly a tough day for everyone, but we all did the best we could and I think the fans would have gone home happy.”
Farquhar now heads to the Manx Grand Prix, where he'll ride Roger Winfield's 500cc Paton, 350cc Honda and GS1000 Suzuki. He'll also be supplying Shaun Anderson with a 650cc ER6 Kawasaki for the Supertwins race. Practice gets underway on Saturday, August 20.