Farmer targets Superstock title as springboard to BSB ride in 2019

Keith Farmer will ride for the Tyco BMW team in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship in 2018.
Keith Farmer will ride for the Tyco BMW team in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship in 2018.

Keith Farmer says he will use the added incentive of a British Superbike ride in 2019 to fire him to the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 title next year after joining the Tyco BMW team.

The Clogher man won the Dickies British Supersport title this season for the Appleyard Macadam Racing team, becoming a British champion for the third time following back-to-back title successes in the Superstock 600 and 1000 Championships in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

On Monday, Farmer was unveiled as Northern Ireland team TAS Racing’s Superstock rider at Motorcycle Live in Birmingham.

The 30-year-old had courted a BSB ride for 2018 but after careful consideration, Farmer will return to the Superstock 1000 series as he bids to try and win the title for a second time.

“The goal and my main aim was to move to the British Superbike Championship but it wasn’t to be. After two brilliant years, and winning the Supersport title, it’s nice to get this deal done early,” he told the News Letter.

“My intentions were to go to Superbikes next year but most of the Superbike rides were gone, although a few were and still are available.

“I didn’t want to jump on a bike just for the sake of being in BSB next year and I spoke with Philip [Neill] on and off and he told me I was their number one rider of choice for Superstock,” he added.

“I had an option to ride for EHA Aprilia and it was a tough choice, but a lot of things stood out for me to go to Tyco BMW. They have been in the British championship a long time and if I win the title for them next year, then I will get the chance to ride in Superbikes the year after.

“That’s something that other teams weren’t able to offer me, so that made my mind up in the end.”

Farmer finished third in the Superstock 1000 Championship in 2016 on the Quay Garage Racing Honda and will head into 2018 as one of the main favourites on the Tyco BMW S1000RR, when the Ulster rider admits he faces a stiff challenge against some proven opposition.

“There’s always pressure involved and obviously I want to win next year as do BMW, Tyco and Philip and Hector [Neill]. To win another championship would be mega but we need to get loads of testing done in the winter and I’m focused on training to be as fit as possible, he said.

“I don’t see why we can’t do it again next year but it won’t be easy. Lee Jackson is on the FS-3 Kawasaki, Billy McConnell is on a Buildbase Suzuki and you have Josh Elliott, who is back on the Morello Kawasaki after winning the championship for the team a few years back.

“You’ve got Chrissy Rouse as well, so you have a possible six to ten riders capable of being up there, but our aim is to try and be up there every single week and not just now and then,” added Farmer.

“I think with the support of Phillip and Hector and Tyco BMW, we will be able to do that and I am really excited about it.”

After starting the year without a ride, Farmer earned a full-time seat in the Appleyard Macadam Racing team after being drafted in as a replacement for injury victim Luke Jones.

He won nine races on his way to the title, clinching the championship by 13 points over fellow Northern Ireland man Andrew Irwin, who will make his World Supersport debut next year with the CIA Landlord Insurance Honda team.

Stockport’s Christian Iddon and Michael Laverty from Toomebridge will spearhead the Tyco BMW team’s BSB quest next year.