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Farmer: Spanish test decision vindicated

25 March 2013

Northern Ireland's Keith Farmer feels the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team's decision to exploit a loophole in the foreign testing ban has been vindicated.

Farmer and defending MCE British Superbike champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne tested at Cartagena in Spain earlier this month prior to the official BSB tests, which were blighted by freezing temperatures.

Testing abroad was banned by race chiefs in 2013, but Rapid Solicitors team boss Paul Bird sent his riders to Cartagena with kit parts, enabling both to clock up the laps at the Spanish circuit without directly contravening any of the official regulations governing testing.

BSB series director Stuart Higgs has since questioned the sporting spirit of Bird's decision, however Farmer has no regrets and is relieved he had the benefit of significant track time after the extended winter weather in the UK proved a massive hindrance during tests at Donington, Brands Hatch and Snetterton.

Series organisers MSVR have since indicated they would be open to accommodating requests from teams aiming to gain some foreign track time prior to the opening round of the championship at Brands Hatch on April 7.

Farmer told Crash.net: “You can't learn a lot when you're out on track in the cold and we only managed a few laps at Donington.

“We'd already been to Spain so we managed to get plenty of time and get a head-start on the rest and I did over 200 laps.

“Other teams weren't happy but we changed electronics and used different tyres and the way things turned out with the weather it means we're ahead of everyone else,” added Farmer, who last year added the National Superstock 1000 title to the Superstock 600 crown he win in 2011.

“It cost Paul a fortune to send us there and use kit ECUs but it was something Paul wanted to do.

“He went out of his way to send us to Spain and in the end it turned out a good decision because of the poor weather at the officials tests in the UK,” added the Clogher man.

“I think the decision to have a foreign testing ban was wrong anyway because you can't rely on British weather and I think the poor weather last week has come back to bite them.

“I'd say next year it'll be back to how it was before.”

Farmer is determined to grab his chance alongside reigning champion Byrne in the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki BSB team this season.

His target is to qualify for the all-important Showdown and Farmer is targeting two top ten finishes at Brands next month to set the ball rolling.

“I won the first race last year at Brands in the wet in the Superstock class but hopefully this time we'll get some decent weather and I'm looking for two top ten results for the first round,” he said.

“If we manage that I'll be happy and then after that at Thruxton I'll set my sights higher for two top eight finishes and then better again for the next round, when I'll hopefully try and get into the top five.

“That's the plan – to keep building the results and try and avoid any crashes,” added Farmer.

“I'm aiming to try and get into the Showdown and come the end of the year we'll know everything about the bike and then I'll be able to give it a proper dig the final few rounds.”


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