Ryan Farquhar has become the first Northern Irishman to win the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup at Oliver's Mount after a fine performance on the KMR Kawasaki, rounding off a tremendous seven wins at the circuit this year.
Farquhar achieved his feat in typical style, dominating the weekend by also winning both legs of the Darren Lindsay Superbike race, a brace of 600cc races for the David Jeffries Cup and both events held for the Phil Mellor Supertwins Trophy.
The Gold Cup though, gave Farquhar the opportunity to be the first Irishman to take this Jewel in the mainland's road racing crown, across the Irish Sea to Ulster for the first time in its 60 year history.
There were some big names missing from the grid, reigning Cup holder Ian Hutchinson, still recovering from serious injury, and seven-time winner Guy Martin, who was forced to pull out of the event at the final hour after suffering a blood infection. Neither rider could be kept away from the meeting though, Lincolnshire ace Martin was getting about with the aid of crutches, and Yorkshireman Hutchinson present after having the metal framework removed from his leg earlier in the week.
That is to take nothing away from Ryan Farquhar though, with TT legend John McGuiness entered along with 131 time race winner, Ian Lougher, plus both Dunlop brothers on the grid, it was far from a walk in the park.
Farquhar on his KMR Kawasaki ZX-10R, although challenged by McGuiness into Mere hairpin on the first lap, was in the lead by the time they climbed Sheene Rise and, despite coming under constant pressure from the 'Morecombe Missile' on his smaller but arguably more nimble Padgetts Honda CBR600, the 35 year old star was never headed.
In tricky conditions he and McGuiness soon pulled a commanding lead over the fight for the final podium place between Ian Lougher, Michael Dunlop and a spirited display from Keith Pringle aboard his Suckin Rabbits Media Kawasaki ZX-6R.
At the flag it was Farquhar winning by nearly five seconds from McGuiness, with an average speed of over 75 mph and a best lap of 1m 54.897s around the tight and twisty 2.43 mile circuit. The pair were a further four seconds up the road from Lougher in third and Dunlop fourth who both used the extra power of their ZX-10 machines in improving conditions to overhaul Pringle who finished 5th.
“Conditions weren't the best and we were getting quite a bit of wheelspin out there, but it was good fun,” Farquhar said. “John pushed me really hard at the beginning and then at about three-quarters distance I think he gave up, but he was up for it today”