RYAN Farquhar was once again the leading light at this weekend’s Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup Road Races at Oliver’s Mount.
Despite blue skies and bright sunshine in downtown Scarborough, Oliver’s Mount was shrouded in sea mist as practice got underway at 9am yesterday.
Seven-times winner Guy Martin was interviewed by course commentator Tony Coupland.
Guy was unable to ride due to a leg infection and was getting around with the aid of crutches.
Also out and about was current Gold Cup winner Ian Hutchinson who is now minus the metal work on his leg having had it removed on Wednesday.
The opening race of yesterday’s racing at the 61st Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup Road Races was the Solo Non Qualifiers race run over seven laps of the 2.43-mile course as the rain started.
This caused a number of riders to pull off the grid, was won by circuit debutant Paul Shoesmith, 17 seconds ahead of John Simpson and Gary Graves.
The second leg of the Darran Lindsay Superbike Trophy was next.
Farquhar was leading the opening lap of eight until he overshot Farm Bends and had to let his pursuers through, handing the lead to John McGuinness by half a second when they crossed the line to complete the opening lap. Third was Michael Dunlop.
Lap two and positions remained the same with McGuinness increasing his lead by a tenth of a second. A lap later and the lead had been cut to just 0.306 of a second as Dunlop held on to third five seconds adrift.
By three quarters race distance and Farquhar was back in front of his Honda rival McGuinness with an advantage of 7/10ths of a second as Dunlop was now 10 seconds back in third.
Lap seven and the lead was up to 1.5 seconds and at the chequered flag it was Farquhar, McGuinness and Dunlop, Farquhar retained the trophy for the third year in a row!
Race 15 was the second leg of the Phil Mellor SuperTwins Trophy and despite Farquhar getting ‘boxed-in’ at the start, he was leading the race at the end of the first lap of eight from Ivan Lintin and Ian Lougher.
At the chequered flag, Farquhar took his 85th race victory at Mount and collected the trophy. Lintin was second and Jamie Hamilton third.
Next up was the feature race of the meeting, the International Steve Henshaw Gold Cup.
Farquhar and McGuinness were first into Mere Hairpin, but it was Farquhar who led up Sheene Rise on the opening lap of eight. At the end of the first lap, it was Farquhar by 0.402 of a second from McGuinness, with Keith Pringle third one second behind.
Lap two and Farquhar’s lead had increased to half a second. With positions being the same, in fact the top 12 places remained unchanged. Lap three and McGuinness was 1.446 seconds adrift of Farquhar, as William Dunlop retired to the paddock.
At half distance the lead was nearly two seconds, with Cringle a further five seconds adrift.
Next lap and Farquhar lost a tenth of a second on John, as Ian Lougher moved into third and opened up a 1.5 second advantage over Pringle now fourth and Michael Dunlop slots into fifth.
Lap six and the gap between the Kawasaki and Honda riders is up to 2.3 seconds.
The end of the penultimate lap as the sun came out to watch the spectacle the lead was now 3.4 seconds.
Farquhar took the chequered flag to become the first Ulsterman to win the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup.
Second was John McGuinness, third Ian Lougher and fourth Michael Dunlop. Fifth and sixth were Keith Pringle and Ivan Lintin.