Ulster road racer Ryan Farquhar says he owes his life to Lurgan-based ‘Flying Doctor’ Fred MacSorley and the MCUI medical team after surviving a horrific crash at the North West 200.
In his first interview, the Dungannon man revealed he could recall everything that happened when he came off while leading the Supertwins race last Thursday evening.
Farquhar also expressed his sorrow over the death of 20-year-old Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, who was killed two days later after crashing at the same section of the course at Dhu Varren in Portrush.
“I can’t thank the doctors enough who saved my life,” said Farquhar, who is now in a stable condition at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
“Money couldn’t pay them for what they have done for me. I want to thank [Dr] Fred and his team.”
Recounting the accident, Farquhar – who was airlifted to hospital after being treated at the roadside – said he lost the front end of his KMR Kawasaki machine.
“I lost the front end and I went down hard,” he said. “I hit the Recticel bale and bounced back out into the road but everything happened so fast that I don’t really remember being hit by the other bike.
“I remember crashing and the marshals telling me not to move until Dr Fred got there. It is unreal how quickly he was able to work out what was wrong with me and when I got to hospital they told me that whoever prepared me for the journey had saved my life,” added Farquhar, who suffered a lacerated liver, which was damaged as a result of the six broken ribs he suffered when he was struck by English rider Dan Cooper’s machine, who had been lying in second place.
“As time went on I knew that I was in bad shape. I was taken straight into surgery when I arrived at the Royal and I was lucky that the top liver surgeon in the country was available to operate on me.
“I’m looking forward now to getting myself sorted and getting home with my wife Karen, my girls Keeley and Mya and our two donkeys!”
Ryan revealed that his daughters Keeley (11) and Mya (7) visited him in hospital on Sunday and admits the ordeal must have come as a huge shock to them.
“They were here on Sunday and I’m sure it was a shock for them to see me with so many wires and leads coming out of me,” he said.
“But they are back at school and they both did well in their Sports Day, so they’ll be all made up with that.”
Farquhar – who retired from the sport in 2012 following the death of his uncle, Trevor Ferguson, in a crash at the Manx Grand Prix, before making a comeback in 2014 – said he was saddened by the news of rising star Mitchell-Thomas’s death.
“Having raced against Malachi it was obvious to me that he was a huge talent,” he said. “What has happened to the young fella is very sad. Malachi didn’t do anything more wrong than I did but I am still here to tell the tale and he is not.”
Both Ryan and his wife Karen offered their deepest sympathies to Malachi’s family and friends and to fellow Dungannon couple Rachel and John Burrows, who run the Burrows Racing team.