AFTER becoming only the second ever ‘stand-in’ rider to win a British short-circuit title, following in the footsteps of Gregorio Lavilla in 2005, Keith Farmer looks likely to be returning to the British Superbike Championship (BSB) grid in 2018.
He has already held talks with Moneymore-based outfit, Tyco BMW, and will speak to a couple of other potential suitors in the coming days, while series and race director Stuart Higgs has told the Tyrone man he wants him back in the top flight next season, which can only bode well for his future racing aspirations.
And there should be no shortage of interest in the Clogher Bullet, who didn’t have a ride just before the 2017 season started. He was drafted in for the opening three rounds of the BSB support series, the Dickies British Supersport Championship, after Team Appleyard Macadam Racing’s Luke Jones suffered an injury during testing.
However, such was the 30-year-olds form during those races, the team decided to keep him on for the entire season and he rewarded their faith by delivering the title on the last day of the campaign on Sunday afternoon.
After winning nine of the first 18 races, Farmer led the championship by 103 points going into the final three rounds (six races, worth 150 points) but a series of crashes at Oulton Park, Assen and on Saturday at Brands Hatch saw Carrickfergus rider, Andrew Irwin, whittle his lead down to just 18 points ahead of Sunday’s decider.
Battered and bruised after a 164kph crash the day before, Keith had to dig deep to get the job done. He rode sensibly throughout Sunday’s 18 laps, finishing in fifth place to claim the title.
“I was riding a bit tight on Sunday, so it was good to get it done,” admitted a relieved Farmer, who can now add the Supersport title to his National 600 and 1000 crowns from 2011 and 2012.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking! I made slightly hard work of it, taking it to the last race, but it was good to finish it in the end!,” he added.
“I knew, having had the crash on Saturday, that I’d have to ride smart because the pressure was now on us so. We had to finish.
“As much as I wanted to win the title with a podium, with two laps to go I knew I had a two or three second lead over anyone behind me and I knew that even if they got passed I’d still win the championship.
“It’s been a mega year, although the last few weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster! We could do no wrong through most of the year, then we had our bit of bad luck towards the end of the year, but that’s racing.”
FULL STORY IN TODAY’S ULSTER HERALD
Posted: 4:24 pm October 19, 2017