Forcefield Sponsored Ryan Farquhar completed his 2012 Isle of Man TT campaign with a brilliant victory in the re-introduced Lightweight TT race on Saturday.
Having already taken third in the Superstock and second Supersport races, the KMR Kawasaki rider overcame a strong challenge from James Hillier and, having led on the first lap, a difference in pit stop strategies meant that he had to wait until the start of the third lap before re-taking the lead. His eventual winning margin though was almost 30 seconds as he swept to the third TT win of his career.
Adverse weather conditions on the Island meant that the race was postponed from Friday and also delayed heavily on Saturday but it eventually got underway at 6.25pm and over the full 3-lap distance. The gap between Ryan and Hillier at Glen Helen, 9 miles into the race, was just two seconds but Ryan continually extended his lead and with an opening lap of 115.088mph, he led the race by 14.11s. However, he opted to pit for fuel at the end of the lap whilst Hillier went stright through and that meant positions changed. Indeed, Hillier now led by over 20 seconds although this would probably be not enough of a cushion when it was his turn to pit. Ryan made sure it was immaterial though as he again reeled in his younger rival over the course of the lap and the deficit was down to just 6.76s as Hillier refuelled.
Through Glen Helen on the third lap, the race finally settled down again and it meant that Ryan was leading James by 28 seconds whilst fellow KMR Kawasaki rider Michael Rutter was up to third. Positions remained the same for the remainder of the lap and Ryan came home 28.99s clear of Hillier with Rutter setting the fastest lap of the race, 115.554mph, to take third. It was Ryan's first TT win since 2005, his third in total and also his 13th TT podium.
There was also a brilliant end to the week for Jamie Hamilton as he finished in a superb 10th place, to win his first silver replica. He also lapped at 112.149mph and the result earned him the coveted Newcomers Trophy.
Speaking after the race, a delighted Ryan said: “I’ve worked so hard for this and am absolutely over the moon to have won the race. I was pretty nervous before the race as a lot of people were saying I was the clear favourite whilst I was also putting myself under a fair bit of pressure so to actually get the win is superb. Conditions weren’t too bad and I expected it to be worse than what it was so I took it steady to begin with, sussed out where the damp conditions were and then rode as fast and as steady as I could. The bike never missed a beat and once I could see James in the distance, I knew I was catching him up on time. The strategy went like a dream and the whole race went like clockwork. I’ve tried to push the class as much as I could and whilst everyone said I was the favourite, it’s never as simple as that. There’s always pressure so to be sitting here with a 1-3 for the team is unreal. I did a lot of work on James’ bike so I’ll take some credit for that as well!”
"It was also very pleasing to see Jamie finish his TT week on a high. A few silly little problems have prevented him getting a finish so to come 10th and win the Newcomers Trophy is a brilliant end to his week. He's ridden very well and enjoyed it immensely, which is exactly what we all wanted so it bodes well for the years ahead. I'd also like to say a big thank you to Kawasaki who continue to be 100% behind me and also to all the team sponsors who's support is invaluable - if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here today. It was a shame I struggled with the Superbike and couldn't get it to handle but, overall, all the other races have gone well and it's been a good 2012 TT for me."
Pictures by Stephen Davison - Pacemaker Press International