Keith Farmer targets BSB return in 2018

Keith Farmer has won nine times in the British Supersport Championship this year.
Keith Farmer has won nine times in the British Supersport Championship this year.

Keith Farmer hopes to return to the MCE British Superbike Championship in 2018 and has already attracted interest from some of the biggest teams in the paddock.

The Clogher man, who only needs eight more points in the Dickies British Supersport Sprint race at Brands Hatch on Saturday to clinch his third British crown, has had talks with Tyco BMW team principal Philip Neill, while Honda has also expressed an interest in the Ulster rider.

Clogher's Keith Farmer is targeting a return to the British Superbike Championship in 2018.

Clogher's Keith Farmer is targeting a return to the British Superbike Championship in 2018.

Farmer didn’t have a deal at the beginning of 2017 but he was thrown a lifeline when he was offered the chance to fill in for the injured Luke Jones in the Appleyard Macadam Yamaha team.

Initially, the 30-year-old was due to contest three rounds of the championship, but Farmer made such an impact that he secured a full-time ride.

And how he has made the most of the opportunity, winning nine races on the YZF-R6 to take the championship by storm.

It is little wonder that he has entered the equation for 2018 as BSB team bosses consider their options.

“I had some talks with Philip Neill at Tyco BMW and Havier [Beltran] at Honda. It’s a tough one because it doesn’t always come down to how good a season you’ve had and sometimes money and politics is involved,” Farmer told the News Letter.

“It’s looking fairly promising that I’ll get a Superbike for next year but fingers crossed, if all else fails, then we will try and go back to Superstock 1000 and win it and then jump to Superbike.

“There was interest from TAS in the past and over this past while I have spoken to Philip quite a bit and he’s under a lot of pressure this year because, as he said himself, he hasn’t really produced the results this year.

“They haven’t decided yet as far as I know but there were four riders on his list and I was one of them,” Farmer added.

“It’s hard to say and the other three riders are probably riders who have had podiums or wins in BSB and it’s hard when you are up against that.

“But sometimes, as Philip said to me himself, he likes to take chances rather than going with the old faithful riders who are always there or thereabouts.”

Farmer has been within touching distance of securing the British Supersport title since race two at Oulton Park, but a crash in the wet thwarted his chances.

The former Irish Supermoto champion fared little better at Assen in the latest round, again sliding out in the wet Sprint race before failing to score any points in race two. He actually crossed the line in second place but was later hit with a 60-second time penalty after colliding with race leader Ben Currie on the final lap, dropping to 19th place.

His closest rival, Gearlink Kawasaki’s Andrew Irwin, clawed back 40 points at Assen but a solid finish will be enough to give Farmer the title at Brands, which hosts the final triple-header round of the Showdown.

“We only need another eight points at Brands Hatch to guarantee the title,” said Farmer.

“I’ve won nine races this year and at Brands it’s about winning the championship first, but anything can happen in racing – you only have to look at what happened at Assen.

“We’re going into the weekend with our eyes open and with the approach of settling for a position to get the title.”