Farquhar’s focus on boost for BMW

Ryan Farquhar on his way to a win over William Dunlop at last year's Tandragee 100. Pic by Pacemaker.

Ryan Farquhar on his way to a win over William Dunlop at last year's Tandragee 100. Pic by Pacemaker.

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His hat-trick at the venue in 2015 secured Farquhar the ‘man-of-the-meeting’ honour towards an overall tally of national road race triumphs beyond the double-century landmark.

This weekend’s meeting should pose few surprises for the 40-year-old race ace but Tandragee proved top of the talking points during a visit to the area last week in aid of charity.

Farquhar was a special guest at Loughgall Football Club’s Lakeview Park last Friday night to step up to the oche for a change of pace and face highly-decorated darts professional James Wade.

With the Tandragee 100 relatively close in terms of days and distance, Farquhar was happy to discuss his love of both sports.

Wade was in Northern Ireland due to his Belfast-based Premier League fixture and a commitment to put on a special showcase at Lakeview.

Farquhar proved in relaxed mood for the switch in pace and change from his focus on keeping his bike between the hedges to aiming his arrows between the wire.

“I’m not a darts thrower but I enjoy it and watch it on television,” said Farquhar. “The chance to come along to Loughgall and play a superstar like James Wade was too good to turn down and it was all a bit of fun.

“Obviously bikes are my thing and over the years I have been lucky to get quite a few wins at Tandragee, including three last year.

“I am working on changes to my new BMW bike since Mid-Antrim and hoping for good weather and to have the right setting for this different challenge.

“A sunny day makes so much difference to it all for everyone, spectators and riders.

“You never want to be trailing a bike through the gutters and fans want a nice bit of weather to enjoy the racing.

“You want a safe day’s racing, of course, for everyone and Tandragee remains one of my favourite races.

“I am looking forward to getting the bike set up for a lap-record pace.”

Farquhar was keen to highlight the sense of community connected to both events - and the importance of that ground-level support.

“You could see the crowd building in Loughgall as the night went on and that was brilliant to be part of such excellent backing for the club and area,” said Farquhar. “Tandragee is the same and they both need behind-the-scenes backing from so many people, plus the support of the public, whether it comes down to buying a ticket for the darts or a programme at the racing.

“They come from near and far for Tandragee, fans and competitors alike, so there is no doubt that support makes life so much easier for the organisers.

“It doesn’t matter if it is darts, football or road racing, it all takes money to make the thing happen and it is always great to see people turn out as best they can to support everything.”

See the Portadown Times website (www.portadowntimes.co.uk) for video interviews with James Wade and Ryan Farquhar.

Also, turn to pages 52 and 53 for picture coverage and a review of the Loughgall event at Lakeview Park.