Keith Farmer is on the brink of a sensational fourth British championship title as the Clogher rider prepares for this weekend’s final round of the Superstock 1000 series at Brands Hatch.
Farmer holds a 10.5-point cushion over Buildbase Suzuki’s Billy McConnell going into the decisive race on Sunday (13:35 BST), which will be held over 14 laps of the 2.4-mile Grand Prix circuit.
The Tyco BMW rider is closing in on back-to-back British titles for the second time in his career, after Farmer won the Supersport crown for the first time in 2017.
He previously lifted the Superstock 1000 title for Paul Bird’s Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team in 2012, which came on the back of a stunning rookie short circuit season, when Farmer claimed the Superstock 600 championship on his Yamaha R6 in 2011.
The 31-year-old later earned the chance to step up to the British Superbike class with Bird’s team alongside Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne, but Farmer struggled to show his true potential in the class and the Clogher man endured a few below-par seasons before bouncing back in style.
Now within striking distance of a fourth British title, Farmer hopes he can secure a move back to BSB in 2019 by winning the Superstock championship on Sunday – an accolade much coveted by the manufacturers.
A steady ride in the championship finale this weekend should be enough to seal the deal for former Supermoto star Farmer, who has won four races this season for the Moneymore-based TAS Racing team.
On his last appearance at the Brands Hatch GP circuit in July, Farmer finished as the runner-up to McConnell in the final race, with only 0.075 seconds between them at the flag.
However, the Ulster rider is unlikely to push quite as hard at Brands on Sunday, when a solid finish at the Kent circuit should reward him with the title.
“We just need a steady race at Brands Hatch,” said Farmer, who was fourth fastest in the first free practice session on Friday, with McConnell half-a-second further back in eighth.
“Of course it would be absolutely fantastic to win a fourth British title, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.
“I won back-to-back titles before so to do it again would be brilliant, especially after winning the Supersport title last year.
“Obviously if I could win the ’Stock 1000 championship it shows that I’m back on it on a big bike again and hopefully we can make that step back to BSB next year,” he added.
“It took a while at the beginning of the season to gel with the BMW but credit to everyone in the Tyco team, they’ve done a fantastic job and now it would really be the icing on the cake to go on and win it.”
Farmer has worked hard to force his way back into contention for a competitive BSB ride.
Although he had options last season following his Supersport title success, he decided to join the Tyco BMW team to try and win the Superstock crown, with the incentive of a possible move into the Superbike class on the S1000RR in 2019.
“I do feel as if I haven’t shown my true potential in BSB but riding in ’Stock 1000 this season, I’m dialled into the big bike again and I know I can do a good job in BSB if I have the right package,” he said.
“That’s where I want to be next year, but first I’ve got a job to do to win the Superstock title and then we will see what happens after that.”