The family name has been embedded into the roads of Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, and now that same name is lacing the quirky, challenging circuits of the UK; Keith Farmer is putting the Farmer name back where it belongs: at number one, so I caught up with him about how his season in the National Superstock 1000 championship is progressing.
How is your season going this year?
This season is going very well so far as I never expected to have two wins under our belt with the machinery that we’re on, no disrespect to Honda or the team but essentially we’re on an 8-year-old bike, it just shows how good the bike/chassis still is with a 20+BHP deficit.
Is your confidence back now you are at the front?
My confidence is back now as I know I can ride a bike well and fast as I have matured more than in 2013/14 but I am still very hard on myself with taking the negatives away from little mistakes and crashes instead of the positives. Basically I need to deal with things better than I am doing at the minute.
Who is your biggest rival?
To be honest there’s a lot of quick guys in Superstock 1000 this year, Mackenzie, Hutchy, Rutter, Jenkinson, Elliott and Olsen all on BMW’s but one to watch is Fraser Rodgers who is finding his feet this last half of season and learning fast.
What was the aim at the start of the season?
The aim at start of year and same now was to finish in Top 6 but me being me, always looking a little better and wanting more, I need to remember the power deficit it and settle for 5ths and 6ths.
Favourite circuit and why?
My favourite circuit would have to be Oulton Park as it is a nice technical circuit, the harder you try the slower you go, hard to get your head around but one thing that my dad taught me is that being smooth and flowing hitting all my markers which will seem slower, but faster in reality.
How has Cadwell Park treated you in the past?
Cadwell has been good to me in the past with a 2nd in Stock 600 and win in Stock 1000 in 2012 so with being back in stock 1000 I hope we have the same result.
Are you in the title hunt?
With being 52points off Mackenzie I think we are a bit far behind now in 3rd but I would like to be in top 3 come end of season, as that’s a win to us.
What’s the plan for 2017?
To be honest for next year I’ve had bits and pieces of things coming together but unfortunately nothing I can shed light on as yet.
What are your biggest achievements?
My biggest achievements so far are my two British Titles in 2011 and 2012 back to back as I am the only rider ever to do it in Stock classes.
What are you like away from the circuit?
At home I’m a little bit selfish and probably hard to live with as everything is done around racing from working/training and eating. I feel sorry for my girlfriend Sam, as she does so much for me and I just chat about racing and getting out on the bike at the next race. Sam comes to every race with me and keeps me calm, we get on very well and talk about everything so she knows when I am stressed out and tries to take my mind off racing.
Away from the circuit my hobbies are motocross, swimming and cycling mainly; I love nothing more than motocrossing at the weekend away from races and just chilling out.
What is it like having a well-known name?
It’s nice to have a name that is known in racing which I will try to continue on for definite. I just want to keep the name going and do my cousins proud for what I have achieved.
What lighted the racing spark?
All I’ve ever known is bikes, I’ve been on a quad since I was 2 and a bike since I was 4 so my dad really got me to where I am today with the inspiration taken from my cousins.
Would you like to do Road Racing?
It’s one thing I’ve never had an interest in is the roads, I respect the guys that do it but it’s just not for me. If I was to do any, I’d like a go at the north west 200 but wouldn’t bother me if I never done it.
Your biggest rival so far?
In 2012 I had my biggest rival Jason O’Halloran when he was on the bike I’m on now and I was on the PBM Kawasaki. We had some awesome battles.
Is there anyone you don’t particularly like on the grid?
No not really to be honest as I’ll get on with everyone but Alex Olsen will probably hate me after I tripped his back wheel at Brands and sent him off as well as myself.
How much effort are the team putting in?
I can’t say enough how much effort Quay Garage Racing are putting in this year, it’s been an absolute joy to have them putting in as much effort as I am and to have so much faith in me.
Who are your sponsors?
My personal sponsors are Rapid International, Waitings Drainage (who I work for), Prestige Custom Coatings (helmet designer), RST Leathers, DryBrow and MotoGear who supply my X-Lite Helmet, Five Gloves and Gearne Boots.
My worst injury would have to be when I knocked myself out at Oulton Park in 2012 on the PBM Kawasaki. I hit the tyre wall at 130mph (my body, not the bike), plus I had my back in one complete bruise, I was very stiff and sore.
3 greats you would’ve liked to race against?
I would have liked to have raced against Leon Haslam, Leon Camier and Cal Crutchlow when they were in it as seemed a really good championship back then, not that it isn’t now.
Who will win WSBK and MotoGP this year?
I think Jonny Rea is the man to beat in WSBK as his pace and consistency is out of this world. In MotoGP, my money is on Marquez, I’d love Rossi to do it for a 10th but I don’t think he has the edge to make the gap up.
Who do you see as the next big thing in BSB?
It’s hard to say who will go places in the BSB paddock as there are so many decent riders out there, but if they don’t get the right support then it’ll never happen as I’ve found out in past experiences. One rider who I will name is Tarran Mackenzie as he has shown so much speed this year, as well as maturity.
Many riders have pre-race rituals; do you?
Yeah I have a certain way of doing things when getting changed into my leathers, like left boot on first before right boot, left glove on before right glove and just before I go out on bike I’ll almost like stretch down with my arms between my knees (like a squat but not a squat) and ask my mum and Cousins (Stephen & Mark Farmer) who passed away, to look after me.
Which makes you go faster: Continuity or change?
I like continuity more than change with team and bike. When we found a setup with the bike, we haven’t done much with it since as I go faster when everything the same.
Where do you get your motivation from?
I want nothing more than to be racing motorbikes, so even when I am heading to work I know I have to dig deeper in the gym and get focused more with racing to make my dream come true.