Loch Lomond-based racer Mark Buckley lost a hard-earned third place after a 'controversial' decision at the Southern 100, a place the disappointed rider says he deserved.
However, he upheld the Southern 100's reputation as the 'friendly races' by putting his disappointment aside to praise the organisers and also to lend spare parts to the man who replaced him on the podium, Ryan Farquhar, when the Dungannon man hit problems in the Solo Championship race. Using Buckley's spare radiator, Farquhar went on to win.
OTSS Racing Kawasaki rider Buckley finished third in the opening race of the Southern 100, the Senior, but was demoted to fourth the next day. The race had to be red flagged on the final lap after a crash involving Michael Pearson. Farquhar, who had been in third place, was forced to mount the kerb at 70mph to avoid Pearson's sliding bike and broke his front rim. That allowed Buckley to take the chequered flag for the final podium position.
However, it was ruled that because the red flag had come out on the final lap the result would be declared based on the running order at the end of the previous lap – when Dungannon star Farquhar was ahead.
Buckley, racing on the 4.25-mile Billown circuit for the first time since 2006, admitted he was disappointed by losing the place, but was also happy with his performance overall, finishing in the top five of every race he completed.
“It feels so good to be back on form again and especially to kick off the Southern 100 with a podium. Naturally I am disappointed that the decision was taken to take away my result, but as far as I'm concerned I was on the podium and deserved it.”
“The remainder of the race week went great and I was always at the sharp end of things even though the conditions were so unpredictable. I am so glad I was running Dunlop tyres which worked faultlessly in such extreme conditions. It would have been perfect to get back on the podium, but it just wasn't to be. Saying that, I am in no way disappointed as I was never outside the top 5 all week, apart from the last Superbike race, where I came together with another bike and slid off.”
“As always the organisation of the meeting was great and I would like to thank George Peach and the Southern 100 team for such a great event. I want to also thank my team who again put 100% into giving me whatever I needed and without them none of this is possible.”