Ryan Farquhar got his 2009 pure road racing season underway in fine style on Sunday when he retained the Ian Watson Trophy at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough. Riding the 1000cc KMR Kawasaki, Ryan finished first and second in the two legs to add his name to the trophy for the second successive year.
Having taken second in his heat for the Ian Watson Trophy races, Ryan got a great start in the first 8-lap leg and slotted in to second at the completion of the first lap around the tricky woodland venue.
Enjoying a great tussle with fellow Irishman Michael Pearson, Ryan took the lead a lap later and, at half race distance, began to open up a gap. On the fifth lap though, the red flag came out to stop the race due to an incident on the circuit and with the race declared a result, Ryan was awarded the win by 0.723 seconds.
In the second leg later in the day, Ryan again got a great start and led the field around on lap one. A lap later he dropped back to 3rd but when Guy Martin took the lead, he thought it best if he got back in to second to guarantee overall victory. This he duly did and for the remainder of the race he sat behind Martin safe in the knowledge that the runner up spot would enable him to take the overall win and trophy.
The Dungannon flyer also had a very enjoyable day on his ER6 Kawasaki and took first and second on his debut in the Mini Twins class, each time enjoying terrific tussles with fellow-Kawasaki rider David Bell, the duo separated by fractions at the chequered flag.
The only downside to an otherwise superb day came in the first Supersport 600cc race. Leading a four-rider dice for the lead, Ryan was looking strong at the head of the field but it all went wrong on the fourth lap when he was t-boned by Ian Lougher at Mountside Hairpin and the duo crashed out. Fortunately, both riders escaped injury but the damage to Ryan's ZX-6R Ninja Kawasaki was sufficient enough to eliminate him from the second race and he now faces a race against time to get it repaired in time for Saturday's Cookstown 100 meeting.
However, it was Scunthorpe's Daniel Frear with a 400cc Kawasaki and a 600cc Yamaha taking two wins in the 400cc races, two seconds in the Supersport and a pair of fifths in the Ian Watson Spring Cup Races who heads the Duke Road Race Rankings by a massive 20 points from Manxman Chris Palmer, with current champion Ryan Farquhar third, one point adrift of Palmer.
A further twenty points back is fellow Ulsterman Michael Pearson, who scored his maiden victory at the hillside course in the second leg of the Supersport race on Sunday
Leyland, Lancashire rider Kiaran Hankin also impressed a number of top six finishes and currently is placed fifth in front of three time Rankings winner Ian Lougher, whose day was prematurely ended after his coming together with Farquhar.
Longford, Eire, newcomer Damien Mulleady impressed the family of Ian Watson with his results on the day and was awarded a special trophy in recognition of his efforts, along with a monetary award, to help with his expenses over the weekend.
Round 2 of the Duke Road Race Rankings is on Saturday 25th April at the Cookstown 100 National Road Races.