MOTORCYCLE HERO: CARL FOGARTY
THE KING OF WORLD SUPERBIKE RACING
If “King of the Jungle” is the first thing that springs to mind when hearing the name Carl Fogarty, then read on. Because Fogarty, or “Foggy” to his fans, is also “King of WSBK” being, undoubtedly, the most successful World Superbike racer of all time in terms of the number of championships and race wins. And this puts him in an excellent position as a candidate solution to the eternal question: who is the world's greatest motorcycle racer of all time? A question we're keen to find an answer to in our Motorcycle Heroes series.
Last up in the series – and possibly Ireland's favourite – was Joey Dunlop, who, incidentally, is said to be one of Foggy's best picks when it comes to heroes. But back to the man in question. Carl George Fogarty, MBE, was born on July 1st, 1965, and son to an already established motorcycle racer, George Fogarty, which possibly gave him a bit of an upper-hand, but we'll let that go.
Foggy grew up in Blackburn, where he still lives today. He'd been motocross riding in local fields from an early age, and it didn't take long before his interest in racing developed. His father had also, apparently, been somewhat entrepreneurial – he started out working for a coach builder, cleaning gardens in his spare time for extra cash before setting up his own successful business in hauling and storage - and this determination to do well must have rubbed off on his son. Foggy was committed to winning in all his endeavours, and we see this aggressive competitiveness throughout his entire career. Of course, natural talent must have help too. And Foggy most definitely had that!
'TT was big in those days. It was a big race to win and it was a stepping stone to superbikes.'
Foggy's first notable win was in 1985 – at 20 years old – in the Lightweight Newcomers Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man. Just three years later (1989) he was the World TT Formula 1 Champion, and the year after that, and the year after that too in fact – even though, by then, the championship was fading under the rising light of the new WSBK championships, and had been relegated to a “cup” win.
Foggy won three Isle of Man races in his time and set a few lap records with it. He's also raced – among others - in MotoGP, North West 200, 24 Hours Le Mans, the World Endurance Championship and the Macau Grand Prix. But what he's most famous for, and what he so (seemingly) effortlessly dived into upon its commencement, was World Superbike racing.
He debuted at Donington in 1989, and by 1991 was riding for the Honda UK team, finishing 7th and 9th in '91 and '92 respectively. 1993 saw his first season with Ducati, with whom he went on to have many great successes. He came 2nd overall in his first year with the team, after a long battle with American rider, Scott Russell. The following year Russell was beat and Foggy crowned champion, on his new Ducati 916.
In 1995, Foggy won six of the first eight races and managed to secure his title as champion again, with five of the twenty-four races to spare. Foggy rode against Scott Russell again this year in the Daytona 200, and this time it was Russell (now popularly known as Mr Daytona) who managed to take the win.
In 1996 Foggy switched back to his former Honda manager, Tuxworth (now with Honda factory support). Despite winning more races that season than his team-mate Slight, he came 4th overall. He returned to Ducati the following year, but came 2nd to Honda's John Kocinski, in a tight championship that came down to the final round.
Interestingly, Foggy only ever signed one-year contacts (until his retirement, when he signed a three-year one to be an ambassador for Ducati). He claims that this is because his focus has always been on winning, rather than on who could offer him the highest paying contact. Having said that, he stayed with Ducati for the 1998 and 1999 WSBK championships, where he had his third and fourth victories.
'I get criticized because I'm successful and famous. People are always jealous of that. I don't mind it at all. In fact I think I quite like it.'
Foggy had – and still has - a matter-of-fact approach to his opinions on racing and on other riders. He is known for his controversial views and has often berated rivals in popular motorcycling publications. This aggressiveness has made him a love-or-hate personality, but it also made him a star. And had he not been so aggressive and committed, perhaps he wouldn't have able to claim the title as the most successful World Superbike racer. But who knows?
Foggy's racing career came to an abrupt end in 2000, when he crashed during the second race of the season and was left with a serious shoulder injury, which failed to heal and eventually led to his early retirement. Not wanting to exit the racing world, he went on to develop the Foggy Petronas Racing team, which had a few successful years – two pole positions and two podiums – in a championship which was otherwise heavily dominated by already-established motorcycle manufacturers.
These days he spends his time supporting charities such as the Derian House Children's Hospice, the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, and the Shropshire and Staffordshire Blood Bikes charity. And aside from other business ventures, he does a lot of public appearances, including his recent I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, where he yet again showed his determination to win, eating a meal that included tarantulas, ostrich anus and camel penis, among other appetising animals.
Carl Fogarty Victories:
World titles: 4 (1994, 1995, 1998, 1999)
Race wins: 59
World Endurance Championship: 1
FIM F1 World Cup Championship: 1
World TT Formula 1 Championship: 1
750cc Isle of Man TT: 1
F1 Isle of Man TT: 1
Senior Isle of Man TT: 1
North West 200: 2
24 Hours Le Mans: 1
Macau Grand Prix Motorcycle GP: 1
Lightweight Newcomers Manx Grand Prix: 1
We hope you've enjoyed reading about Carl Fogarty. If you have any comments, share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Others from the Motorcycle Heroes series:
03/02/16 Top man Foggy
03/02/16 Claims he's the best British rider ever, not fit to warm up Mike Hailwoods bike.
04/02/16 Foggy a Top British Winner. And, STILL people on here slagging him off!! Would he have been more popular if he was a sickly sweet YES man? NO. So good for him. Big shame about the final crash tho, he could have gone on to even more race wins & titles. Huge talent.
04/02/16 I always liked him. After years of 'plucky' Brits doing cock all in the international arena after Sheene, Foggy came along and started winning. He played the Americans at their own game by not being nice to rivals and his self belief carried him onwards. He has stated he doesn't care what people think of him and his record speaks for itself.
04/02/16 On of the greats, among Hailwood, Surtees, Redman, the list goes on...Like to add Geoff Duke as the man who won much on the Isle of Man races and had some of the track named after him!...He died on May 1ST 2015
04/02/16 He won races and championships N0 1
04/02/16 a nice little write up and stats on the great man , did go down a tad in my estimations when he appeared in that stupid reaiity programme....at least he won I suppose......
04/02/16 Foggy haha the Dunlops rules
05/02/16 Greatest motorcycling legend of all time- anyone that disagrees is wrong!!!!
05/02/16 Obviously a very good rider but never won at the highest level of his sport.
05/02/16 There's a good chance motorcycling in the uk would have died completely in the early 90's but for Foggy. And he resurrected Ducati same as Hailwood did a decade earlier.
05/02/16 Different era's blah blah...Foggy was and still is a British champion in the world arena...ive had the pleasure of meeting him on a few occasions...and hes a top bloke n real gent
08/02/16 my wife and i were in foggys army thousands and i mean thousands going to assen ect fantastic days .foggy and hislop in thie isle of man in that race when foggys yamaha i think it was was wrecked at the finish.what a race that was.the mans a legend what was it 126 000 at brands for wsb unbeleivable.great great years.
08/02/16 Brill Rider Our Foggy....
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