Five starts – five victories could only mean one man – Ryan Farquhar!
The current Duke Road Race Rankings Champion started the defence of his title one week ago at the Ian Watson Spring Cup with eight wins from eight starts and continued his early domination of the 2010 season at the opening road race of the Irish/Ulster season at the Cookstown '100' Road Races.
Having topped the qualifying session the previous evening the KMR Kawasaki rider had let his intensions be known to his 'Ulster' rivals, most of which were having their first outing of the season.
Only his two adversaries, Michael Pearson and Adrian Archibald had made the trip to North Yorkshire the previous week and were second and third in the current rankings after Oliver's Mount races.
Ryan opened his account with a hard fought win in the 125cc race where, riding his KX450F, he managed to get the better of William Dunlop on the final lap for his first win of the day. Next up was the Open race where, with a brilliant start, Ryan was never headed and with a lead of 8 seconds at half race distance, he was able to ease off in the closing stages for a comfortable victory. The Supersport 600cc race was another close encounter with Ryan and Michael Dunlop never more than half a second apart during the entire race but, when it mattered most, Ryan was in front and he duly completed his hat trick with another fine win.
The 10-lap feature Cookstown 100 race was Ryan's fourth race of the day and he led the field round at the end of the first lap although he was being pushed hard by Cameron Donald. The dicing duo left the field behind and with a new lap record Donald closed right on to the back wheel of Ryan but he wasn't to be bettered and set an absolute lap record on lap 8 to edge away. With two perfect last laps, Ryan was able to control the race and he took a superb win from Donald by 1.1 seconds, creating some more history later when he won the Super Twins race for his fifth win of the day, the first time anyone has won five Irish National road races in one day, including the feature Superbike race.
William Dunlop took his first race win of the 2010 season in the Junior (250) race by three seconds from brother Michael. The elder of the two racing brothers also finished third in the Supersport and sixth in the Superbike race, but only managed one lap in the feature race, being forced to retire with machine problems. William slots into fourth in the Duke Rankings.
Meanwhile, Michael had a brace of seconds in the Junior race and the Supersport event, plus two third places in the Superbike and Cookstown 100 races placing him in fifth place in the table.
Another Michael, Pearson managed seventh in the Superbike race, fifth in the Supersport and fourth in the Cookstown 100, with the bonus of his best ever personal lap time around the 2.10 Orritor course. The Ballygowan rider remains in second place in the series.
Another Ballymoney man, Adrian Archibald enjoyed a fourth in the Open race, fifth in the feature race and seventh in the Supersport race, maintaining third in the listings.