Motorcycle Road Racer Ryan Farquhar (44) has received a BEM as part of this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to motorcycle racing, despite at first thinking someone was trying to make an ‘eejit’ out of him.
Ryan Farquhar who lives in Dungannon has been a popular face on the road racing circuits for years and continues to hold the record for the most Irish nations wins, standing currently at 201.
Speaking to Ballymoney Bubble on Friday, the Road Racer was modest about being awarded a BEM, telling us that: “it’s definitely something I am very proud of. I’m just a Road Racer from Northern Ireland that won a few races,” Ryan said playing his achievements down.
” I did all right I suppose but it’s just what we do. I don’t class myself as a superstar, just an ordinary person that races a motorbike.”
“To be recognised at this level for something that started as just a hobby, you know I am all chuffed about it.”
At first, Ryan thought it was someone trying to make an ‘eejit’ out of him, but it wasn’t long before he realised that the phone call from a representative on behalf of the UK Cabinet was indeed no joke as Ryan explains.
“I got a phone call from a fella in the Cabinet office. I thought it was a wind-up, someone trying to make an eejit out of me. At the same time, I didn’t want to let myself down and tell him where to go!
“I don’t even know how people are nominated, the only thing I do know is the Prime Minister sends the list off to the Queen and She rubber stamps it.”
“But how my name to come to be on that list, i haven’t a clue
This years list was due to be published earlier in the year but was delayed and the list reshuffled to include those which have been a driving force in the efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, it’s not just a case of shouting the announcement from the rooftops, as recipients that agree to accept the award do so only on the condition that they must not tell anyone until the official announcement and the honours list is published.
“The only people i told was my wife and my two girls, none body else, it has to be confidential,” said Ryan before going on to explain:
“My wife handles all the emails so she would have found out anyway, but I am just glad it’s all out now. I’m sure others in my position are the same, delighted that people know they are being honoured for whatever they have done, for sport or whatnot.”
“I don’t think Boris Johnson would have been standing at many Road Races, but you never know,”
Ryan retired in 2012 following the death of his Uncle, Trevor Ferguson, who lost his life at the 2012 Manx Grand Prix. However, by the 2014 season, Ryan had climbed back on a bike and was back to tallying up more podium wins, ultimately making him one of the best Road Racers on the circuit.
It hasn’t been without its challenges, as Ryan has suffered several injuries in his career. Having signed to race with the TAS Suzuki Racing Team in 2006, he would suffer injures after crashing during a practice, injuries which resulted in the rider missing the majority of that season.
Returning in 2008, the next few seasons Ryan would yet again continue to gain win after win and surpassed Joey Dunlop’s record of 118 Irish National race wins.
After his brief retirement from the sport in 2012/13, Ryan on his return would continue to be a force to be reckoned with on the track until again he suffered his second major injury during a crash between Ryans machine and fellow competitor Dan Cooper’s, which resulted in the rider needing to be transported from the NW200 circuit by helicopter to the Royal Victoria Hospital.
So four years on and busy running his own KMR Kawasaki team, the Ballymoney Bubble asked Ryan what his status is now – Retired, Semi Retired or looking to get back on the bike?
“I retired in 2012 after my Uncle died. I came back for the 2014 season and raced 2014/15 and got hurt in 2016. I haven’t raced since then”
It might not be all bad news however for Farquhar fans as the rider went on to say: “But I haven’t retired, at no stage have I even hinted at being retired. I’ll never retire again.”
“Whenever you get that adrenalin rust it’s like an addiction, you can quit for years but there is always that day that comes where you take a notion where you would like to feed that addiction again.”
“I would like to get back on a bike again, go out and get that buzz. I don’t know if I would probably ever win again. I would have to be fit, because of the injuries and the way I am physical, everything has seen their best days.”
“But i would like to get that adrenalin rush again should you finish first or finish last.”
Following a disastrous season for the sport in 2020, where does Ryan see next years race meetings.
“Its hard to say. Nobody knows how long this COVID-19 is going to go on for.”
“Just watching the news, hearing reports and the way governments are dealing with it, I would be totally surprised if the Isle of Mann TT goes ahead next year. If it goes another year without the event there is definitely going to be teams which fall to the way-side.”
“The next time we see a proper Road Racing season and championship going ahead, I think will be quite a bit different than it was in 2019.”
Alongside Ryan, the race secretary of the Cookstown & District Motorcycle Club, Norman Crooks, also proudly represents the sport in this years Birthday Honours, he too awarded a BEM for services to Motorcycle Racing in Northern Ireland.