In a sensational turn of events Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor are set to make their racing comebacks at the 2014 Isle of Man TT races – as team-mates at KMR Kawasaki! Backed by SGS International, the former rivals will race on identical 650cc ER6 Kawasaki’s in the 3-lap Lightweight race and the news is sure to generate maximum publicity for the team both now and on the Island next June.
The return of two of the sport’s leading riders is a terrific coup for both the event and the Lightweight race and will no doubt see them both challenging for honours once more on Farquhar’s immaculately prepared machines. The Dungannon rider, of course, won the first ever TT race for Supertwin machines back in 2012 to make it three TT wins and 13 podiums in total whilst Amor took five podiums between 2008 and 2011.
Farquhar called time on his illustrious career during the 2012 Manx Grand Prix after a tragic accident claimed the life of his uncle Trevor Ferguson, his last race being the 500cc Classic race during the same week, which he won to claim his tenth Manx GP victory. Having made his TT debut in 2002, his last TT came in 2012 and included the aforementioned Lightweight win as well as a close third in the Superstock race.
Amor, meanwhile, last rode in 2011, his final race coming at the Ulster Grand Prix as part of the Honda TT Legends team. Shoulder injuries, sustained in a spill during practice at Quarter Bridge for that year’s TT, ultimately led to his retirement from racing but he still scored some impressive results in that final season, finishing in the top five in all five of the TT races he started, his best result being second in the first Supersport race.
The pairing enjoyed some terrific battles in the Irish Road Racing Championship between 2007 and 2011, and whilst it will be Amor’s first time on a Lightweight machine, the duo lining up in identical colours for the first time is set to be a tremendous sight around the Mountain Course.
Speaking about the move Farquhar commented: “When I decided to retire, one of the main reasons was to spend more time with my family but running the team last year, that didn’t happen as I was still away as many weekends as when I was racing. I always said to Jamie (Hamilton) that I wouldn’t stand in his way if he got a better offer and when that happened, I kept my word. It allowed me to look at the alternatives and I definitely wanted to stay within the sport so, having spoken to my family, I had the idea of running Keith and myself at the TT. I sent Keith a couple of messages and he said he was up for it straightaway and it didn’t take long for everything else to fall into place.”
“It may shock a few people but it’s something we both want to do 100%. This isn’t a full-scale comeback for either of us though and the plan is just for the TT where I’ll also be running Joe Faragher. I always said the Supertwin bike was my favourite and Keith was my biggest and most respected rival so what better way to return than with us all together??!! It’s really exciting for all of us and its put KMR Kawasaki in one of its strongest positions. I’ve been able to put some excellent deals in place and I’m delighted to welcome Brian McGrath and SGS International on board whilst it’s great to have retained many of my loyal sponsors including Manx Gas, Andy Faragher of A&J Groundworks, Winfield Gears and BA Components.”
Amor added: “Ryan and I being team-mates is one of those things that I thought would never happen but as soon as he put the idea to me a couple of weeks ago I was sold. It’s simply too good an opportunity to turn down. It’s fair to say we were fierce rivals when we were racing and traded paint week in week but we always had the utmost respect for each other and always had a bit of banter over a glass of wine at the end of the day so I’m really excited about being his team-mate, particularly at the TT, and part of KMR Kawasaki.”
“I’d never even sat on a twin until I went over to Ryan’s last week and it was nice to spend time with him and the family and the one thing he stressed is that he just wants us both to have fun and enjoy ourselves; there’s no pressure on either of us. He’s more than very good at what he does and I know, having seen it at close hand, what a perfectionist he is. No-one puts together a better bike than Ryan and I consider myself lucky to be riding a KMR Kawasaki. It’s a unique opportunity and we’re both really looking forward to having some fun.”
Pictures by Stephen Davison – Pacemaker Press International