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Farmer gets season off to a bright start

Keith Farmer in action at Donington, where he achieved podium finishes. Photo: Ian Hopgood

KEITH Farmer’s bid for a second Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship title and a fourth British Superbike Championship support class crown got off to an almost ideal start at Donington Park over the weekend.

The Tyco BMW rider overcame the tricky cold and damp conditions to seal two third place finishes and a runner-up spot to finish second overall in the standings, just four points behind leader Billy McConnell.

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The Clogher native qualified on the front row of the grid in second, but the one down side to his efforts at Donington were his starts and as was the case in all three races, getting off the line slowly in the first proved costly.

However, he recovered from a sluggish start to climb back up to fourth and while he was closing in on Andy Reid he suffered a problem with the quick shifter, which meant he had to shut the bike off and back on again to reset it.

That meant he lost three places, but again he responded to climb back up to fourth until Reid crashed out, gifting Farmer third place.

The first race was over 100 miles, but split into two parts, so he was back on the second row of the grid for the restart when again he fell down to fourth after a disappointing start.

Again, though, he regrouped and climbed back to third where he became invoved in a battle with Ballinamallard’s Josh Elliott and McConnell.

Having got past the Fermanagh rider, Farmer set about reeling in the race one winner, but then the rain started to fall and rather than risk everything for five extra points, he decided to play the long game, settle for second and guide his bike safely home.

That result meant Farmer remained on the front row for the start of race three on Easter Monday when the conditions deteriorated further, forcing organisers into a lot of work to get the track ready for action.

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Having taken his place on the grid, Farmer stuttered off the line again, dropping back to fourth or fifth again, but as in the previous two races he bounced back and going into the final lap was on Michael Rutter’s tail.

The Tyrone man got good drive onto the back straight and entering the penultimate corner he sneaked down the inside of the veteran, putting in a block pass before taking a defensive line through the final corner to take the final podium spot and an impressive 37 points haul from the three races.

“Overall it was a good weekend, I’d have taken that beforehand,” he beamed.

“It was good to be on the front row of the grid for each race, but with my starts I’d have needed to have been another row ahead!

“Apart from that I’m really getting a good feeling with the BMW S 1000 RR now, so every time we go out, we are improving and learning more.

“I’m looking forward to round two and I can’t wait to get back on the bike again,” he concluded.

Round two of the BSB takes place at Brands Hatch on April 13-15.

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