Following the tragic loss of his uncle Trevor Ferguson during last Wednesday’s Supertwin Manx Grand Prix, road racing legend Ryan Farquhar has announced his retirement from road racing with immediate effect. Ferguson was riding a KMR Kawasaki when he crashed on the second lap and, having been a huge influence on his own racing since his debut in 1995, Ryan has since called time on his illustrious career.
The Killyman rider had earlier in the day won the 500cc Classic Manx Grand Prix, his 10th win at the event and what will go down as his last ever road race win, whilst Nigel Moore went on to win the Supertwin race on another of Ryan’s KMR machines. With Ferguson lying in second place at the time of the accident, what looked like being a huge day of celebration for Ryan and his team instead ended in heartbreak.
Trevor was a racer of vast experience, having competed for over 30 years, and he was a regular at the Manx GP, recording a best finish of 6th in the 2008 Junior race and posting a best lap of almost 115mph. He had finished 11th in last Monday’s Junior race and was on course for a dream debut podium finish in the Supertwins race until the incident occurred. Having spoken previously about scaling down his road racing activities in 2013, the loss of such a close family member has sadly meant Ryan’s decision has been made under the saddest of circumstances.
Speaking on Monday, a devastated Ryan said; “For me, racing will never be the same again and I’m absolutely gutted by the tragic events of last week so I’ve decided to stop racing with immediate effect. Trevor played a huge part in my career and I made my debut on his bike back in 1995 – I was 6 years old when I first saw him race and he was with me from the very first day of my own racing career right up until the very last. He was always 100% behind me and whilst we didn’t always agree on everything, he was my biggest supporter and there was always plenty of banter. His whole year revolved around the Manx and he wanted to ride my Supertwin whilst it was also his idea for Nigel to ride the other one.”
“My Supertwin means more to me than any other bike and Trevor was the only person I’d ever let ride it. He was the safest rider out there and I never in a million years thought something like this would have happened. I know he died doing what he loved and he was getting boards to say ‘P2’ so I know he would have had a big smile on his face and enjoying himself to the full. After winning the morning’s Classic race and with Nigel and Trevor running 1-2 in the Supertwins race, everything was going perfectly and it was shaping up to be one of the finest days of my career. Sadly, Trevor didn’t make it to the pit stop at the end of the second lap and the celebrations never came. With Nigel winning the race though, I know he'll be looking down a very proud man as he was very fond of Nigel and it would have meant to a lot to him that he won."
"Our whole world’s been turned upside down and I don’t ever want Karen and my two girls to go through something like this. I would have loved to have equalled Bob Heath’s record of 11 wins at the Manx, made it 200 National road race wins in Ireland and 100 at Scarborough later this month but it’s not meant to be. It’s too early to say what the future holds for KMR Kawasaki but, if I can, I’d like to continue running the team. I love the sport dearly so I’d like to pass on my experience to a good, young rider in 2013, hopefully Jamie, but it will all depend on what sponsorship we can pull together. Like I say though, it’s too early to say and there are more important things on my mind at present.”
“I wish I wasn’t retiring under such terribly sad circumstances but it’s happened and we’re all trying to get through the day as best we can. I'm hoping Jamie will race at both Killalane and the Scarborough Gold Cup as I know Trevor wouldn't want him not to whilst I’m also hopefully going to make it to the Gold Cup to take the bikes out for a couple of parade laps as I’d like to say thank you to all my sponsors and fans as the support I’ve received from people during my career has been tremendous. I’d like to bring Karen and the girls and Trevor’s family with me too so we can all say a big thank you to everyone.”
Ryan retires as the most successful rider ever in the history of Irish National road racing with a staggering 199 wins to his name. A multiple winner at the Isle of Man TT, North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix, the 36-year old also won the inaugural Supertwin races at all three of the International road races in 2012 and will go in the record books as one of the greatest road racers the sport has ever seen.
Picture by Stephen Davison – Pacemaker Press International