The Southern 100 was the toughest event of an amazing 2009 road racing season for star rider Ryan Farquhar, the Dungannon racer has revealed.

Farquhar enjoyed an amazing year to take more than 60 wins, his fourth Duke Road Rankings title and beat the record set by Joey Dunlop for most Irish road race wins.

Reflecting on an incredible 2009, he highlighted the Southern 100 - held around the 4.25 mile Billown circuit in the south of the Isle of Man - as his toughest test.

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Farquhar narrowly missed out on the prestigious Solo Championship when he was baulked by a backmarker, the victory going instead to Guy Martin.

He said:

'The Southern stands out in my mind as a really good one. It was one of the hardest weeks I've ever had, every race was a dogfight.'

Asked whether he could improve on his record-breaking year, Farquhar said:

'It's going to be very difficult, but in 2009 there were a whole load of races I was leading and silly things happened, so it could have been an even better year.'

Farquhar was speaking at the launch of the 2010 Southern 100, which will be held from July 12 to 15 and will again be sponsored by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. The event also saw the launch of the other two road racing events promoted by the Southern 100 Club, the Blackford's Pre-TT Classic, which runs on May 28, 28 and 31, and the Manx Telecom Post TT Road Races, on June 12.

The 2009 Southern 100 is credited as one of the most dramatic in the event's history. There was fierce competition in all 16 races, with just tenths of a second deciding the outcome of the mass-start contests. The crowded launch event as silenced when excerpts of the Official DVD Review of the 2009 event were played, the incredible drama captured by the 40 cameras deployed by Greenlight Television drawing everyone's attention.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the first racing held at Billown, and Farquhar paid tribute to the volunteers and backers who ensure the events go ahead.

He said:

'The Southern really is a friendly event. What makes it special is the communication between the club and the riders. Everyone is treated fairly, everyone is made to feel so welcome - I cannot wait to come back this year.'