Carl Fogarty, fresh from his first run up the Goodwood hill climb, sat down for an exclusive chat with NowMoto. He opened up about the beauties hiding in his garage, and the one rider he wished he could have battled against on track.
As a relatively young motorsport fan, I could be forgiven for assuming that a man who retired from racing in 2000 would no longer hold such a hero’s status. But this isn’t any racer. This is Carl Fogarty.
It’s not until you are running through the pitlane Goodwood, herded by chaperones and swerving through fans, plenty of who are shouting “Foggy!” to try and catch the attention of the man in question, that you realise quite how important Carl Fogarty is to the racing world.
“It’s a great festival, to be honest,” Carl began our chat, lazed back in the gardens of the drivers area, enjoy the blazing sunshine, “If you’re in to motorsport [there are] cars, bikes, everything!” It is hard to deny the spectacle that is Goodwood. Everywhere you look, there is another beasty machine to gaze upon.
And what a beast Foggy is riding this weekend! He is working alongside Triumph this weekend, testing their new Moto2 engine, which will debut in 2019. “I rode its bigger brother – the Speed Triple and the Speed Triple R which I rode this morning.” Foggy commented. “It will be interesting to see how it does feel – it sounds amazing and everyone’s looking forward to it [being used] next year. It’s a fantastic engine – a great power band and great characteristics of power and it sounds incredible.”
Compared to the two cylinder Honda engine that the Moto2 teams are using now, this three cylinder Triumph engine should provide a significant improvement to the racing on the track. “…and it will certainly make for a better sounding bike than what they’re running now.” Foggy gushed.
“The bit you’ve got to do, which is a bit boring for me because I’ve raced motorbikes, is wobble up someone’s driveway on a dusty drive, on someone else’s bike. It’s what the people want to see and you get to see us all here which is very rare for the bike guys and car guys to be in the same place – and the fans love it”
When I quizzed the ex-world champion about the lost magic of World Superbikes, his answer was simple. “[When] MotoGP was born and that stuck a big nail in the coffin of World Superbikes” he stated. His voice now seemed distinctly different, as if reminiscing about an old, long lost friend. “It’s a great championship and it means a lot to me.”
Foggy’s golden era of Superbikes won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Awesome on-track rivalries, to the wire championship battles and beasty machines wrote the era firmly in to the history books.
But the toughest guy he ever raced against? “That’s really a hard question – there were so many guys I raced against.” was his initial response. An unsurprising response when you look back at his 12 year WSBK career. “Probably some of the American guys like Colin Edwards and John Kocinski were quite difficult – probably Kocinski if I had to pick one. He was a very talented guy.”
“I think superbikes will always struggle to get back to the dizzy heights it reached because of MotoGP being the biggest four-stroke championship in the world. But when I raced in it [world superbikes], it was the biggest four-stroke championship in the world. Then in 2003, MotoGP was born and that stuck a big nail in the coffin of World Superbikes and it’s never really recovered from that date, to be honest. It’s a great championship and it means a lot to me.”
At this point, I decided to turn the conversation towards today’s WSBK grid, and namely Jonathan Rea, who is on the edge of securing his fourth title to match Foggy’s record. “I think Jonathan is one of those kind of riders that would have run up front in any era of Superbikes or any racing. I have a lot of time for him, he’s a great rider and I couldn’t think of anyone better or that I’d be happier to lose my records to. I’ve held them for about 25 years now – I think that’s long enough anyway!”
I couldn’t let the topic pass without asking that one fateful question – “Oh yeah, I’d beat him! Of course I would! I have to say that!”
It seems that Foggy’s garage at home is bursting at the seams. I had hardly finished the question before he began reeling off a, seemingly never-ending, list of machines. “I’ve got…at home I’ve got a Triumph Speed Triple, a Triumph Street Scrambler, a KTM Dirtbike, I’ve got a Sherco trials bike, a Honda Flat Track bike – so a few there! Oh, and the Ducati that I won the championship on in ’98, that’s in there as well. Just a few!”
But his favourite? That was a question that stumped him! After some umm-ing and ahh-ing, Foggy finally made his decision. “I think my favourite bike of all time is probably the Ducati 916, but my favourite bike to ride on the road is probably the one I’ve got now, my Triumph Bonneville. It’s great to have on the road, I love it.”
If nothing else, our conversation with Foggy has left us incredibly excited to see what the Triumph engine can bring to Moto2 next year. The team at NowMoto would like to thank him and the team at Triumph for their time.
To read the full transcript of the interview, click here.
Feature Image Credit: Steven Andrews