Ryan Farquhar fears coronavirus impact could have long-term damaging effect on Racing
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Ryan Farquhar fears coronavirus impact could have long-term damaging effect on Racing
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KMR Kawasaki team boss Ryan Farquhar with Jeremy McWilliams at the North West 200 in 2018.
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Ryan Farquhar fears coronavirus impact could have long-term damaging effect on Irish road racing

The North West 200 should have taken place at the weekend on the North Coast, but the international meeting was cancelled along with all national road races in the Republic of Ireland. The Tandragee 100 is still officially postponed and the Cookstown 100 organisers hope to run their event in September, but few expect either race to go ahead.

Farquhar, who was already planning to scale back his own KMR Kawasaki team in 2020 because of financial constraints before the Covid-19 outbreak struck, said he was concerned over the impact of the lockdown on road racing in 2021.

He told the News Letter:

“It’s fair to say road racing in Ireland over the past number of years has been going down a slippery slope, and this hasn’t done it any favours. It’s possibly another nail in the coffin for road racing as we know it.

“It definitely couldn’t have come at a worse time and ever since the recession in 2007/08, there have been races that have fallen by the wayside. With the costs going up each year for insurance, it’s just getting harder for clubs to run a race and also for the likes of myself to run a team. This is something that we really could have done without.

“Already this year, with the situation financially, I’m not as well off as I would have been in the past,” he added.

“I don’t have the likes of IEG or SES on board like I did in the past, which meant I was able to run four or five bikes at the North West 200. This year, I’d have been going with a maximum of three bikes but ideally two.”

Despite a successful season in 2019 at the international and national races, Farquhar said he was unable to enjoy the fruits of his labour due to the ‘financial strain and stress’ involved.

“It’s just a really big workload and a lot of stress, but last year we had a fairly decent year with podiums and a win at the North West and a podiums at the TT and Ulster Grand Prix, plus many national wins,” he said.

“But I personally didn’t enjoy it because of the financial strain of it all and something had to take a back seat for this year, and we were definitely going to run fewer bikes.

“People just don’t understand how difficult it is to run a team and try and win big international races with big-name riders. It takes a lot of money to make it happen and I put so much pressure on myself as well, because I always want everything to be right, so it’s fair to say my stress levels this week have been zero compared to what they would have been if it was race week at the North West 200,” added Farquhar.

“It’s not as if I have a good, strong business behind me. If you want to use the likes of Winston McAdoo as an example, or even the late Wilson Craig with his team, they were quite well-off people who had a few quid.

“Tim Martin (Mar-Train Racing) would have been another one in that category, but I’m just not in that position myself and after the year we have had so far in 2020, it’s going to be very difficult next year. I had one sponsor on board who gave me the money up front, so I’ll have to try and do something to honour that agreement next year.

“But if I’m in a position where I can’t run a team next year, then I’ll just have to give that company the money back. I’m just looking at things in the worst-case scenario I suppose, and hopefully I’ll be able to get some sponsors on board because I wouldn’t want to finish on this note.”

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Kyle White
19-05-2020, 09:24 AM
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