We gave Foggy two days to come up with a list of pivotal moments from his incredible career. It was a tall order
f all the hundreds of race wins, multiple World Superbike titles, money, fame and trophies, nothing means more to Carl Fogarty than his 1990 Senior TT race win at the Isle of Man TT.
If this comes as a surprise to you, don’t feel like you have missed something; it’s taken Foggy 20 years to realise it too. As he talks about it Foggy gets clearer and more definite as he speaks; almost as if he has only just made up his mind.
In preparation for this feature we called him and gave him two days to run through a list of races he felt were important for his career. They didn’t have to be famous victories, just important or pivotal moments.
“Fookin’ ’ell this ’as been hard?” he says. “Honestly, I have been thinking about this constantly since you phoned the other day. I’ve got a really long list. How many do you want?” The conversation went on for a while. Eventually Foggy was ready to pick some of the moments that meant most to him in.
Isle of Man Senior TT 1990
“Being brought up with the TT as such a big part of my life it was so good to win there. Back then it was really important, it was still a world championship event and everyone I raced against in the British championship raced there: James Whitham, John Reynolds and more.
“More than anything else I am proud that I went there. I don’t think there is a single World Superbike race that matches up to winning at the TT. Winning the Senior TT meant everything to me; it was something I had dreamt about doing since I was a little kid. Doing it in the way that I did – completely demoralising the field and winning by 50 seconds was incredible.
“I was crying before I even got to Creg Ny Baa. I was crying as I crossed the line.
“It sounds weird saying this race meant more to me than anything but I think it has taken me this long to realise it. I started to appreciate what the TT means to me in reality when I went back for the centenary in 2007 and did that parade lap. I was sat there on the bike getting really emotional.
“I remember coming home from the 1990 TT after winning a couple of TTs for Honda. I was in my Honda Prelude car that they had given me and I met this lad getting onto the ferry at Douglas.
“Both trophies are laying on the back seat of the car and this lad was stood there with his girlfriend. I reckon I only got talking to him because his girlfriend was fit and I was stood there knowing that I was Carl Fogarty and I had won both races!
“This lad told me he was going to go and race at the TT some day. I was more interested in staring at his bird I think but that lad was John McGuinness!”
TT Senior lap record 1992
“I was brought up with the Isle of Man TT. That was my family holiday and I used to cry on the boat on the way home because I knew it was over for another year and I had to go back to school.
“But there was always something niggling me – I wasn’t the fastest around the TT course. Steve Hislop got that from me in 1991.
“That 1992 race was incredible. I lead for two laps then Hislop lead for two. It’s been voted the best TT race of all time and I love to think I was involved in it.
“On the last lap there were bits falling off the bike, the clocks had stopped working, the steering damper was broken, the exhaust had blown out. Even though it was falling apart it was still good to ride. I absolutely rode the wheels off the thing over the mountain and pulled four or five seconds back on Steve.
“It seemed appropriate that he won the race and I got the fastest lap. We were by far the two fastest blokes that year.
“I knew my bike was a lot slower than his and that was in my head all the time, there was only so hard I could push to make up for that. It was a red hot day and there were times I realised I was getting tired so I was having to hold back a little and have a rest. I remember really pushing hard over the Mountain but I didn’t think it was going to work.
“I got a board saying minus nine seconds at Glen Helen and then another one at the Gooseneck saying the same. Pulling four seconds back over the Mountain was hard work. When I crossed the line I knew I hadn’t beaten him but I just assumed Steve was going to be faster than me on lap times. I had to wait ages because I was number four and he was 19. But then it dawned on me that I had the lap record and that meant a lot.
“An hour later me, Steve, Michaela and Steve’s girlfriend were looking at his new house in Onchan. I remember telling Steve: ‘That’s it for me, I’ll not be back to race here,’ and he said the same. He did go back though once more in 1994.”
“I just wound Steve up by saying, “I’m the fastest bloke around here,” and he wanted to beat me in 1994 but he didn’t! That did surprise me.”
First World Superbike race win – Donington Park 1992
“That day wasn’t expected to be like that. No one in the crowd expected a British winner. I certainly didn’t expect to win but it was vital to me because it was what got me the factory ride for the next year. It made me what I became.
“Riding that slow bike that day sealed me the factory ride for the year afterwards. It made people see what I could do on a bike that wasn’t up to the speed of many of the others.
“It was a really difficult day. I qualified on pole but I kept on blowing up bikes all weekend. I hit a neutral going into Macleans and fell off and I damaged the bike. One of the team had to get in the van and go up to Sports Motorcycles in Manchester to get some more parts. It was ridiculous. We had to change the engine overnight.
“In the first race I was leading by miles and I was pulling away. And then I fell off at Goddards. I still don’t know why. People have told me it was because I was carrying so much lean angle that I touched the footrest down. I kept the bike running but the gearlever was hanging off so that was that. I was in bits. I pulled it back into the pits in tears.
“My dad made it so much worse. He had a right f**king go at me. He went ballistic. Michaela was having a go back at him and it was a right kick-off. It was costing us a fortune to pay to run the bike ourselves so I was at an all-time low.
“Two hours later everything was different. I got a terrible start, I thought the clutch was slipping so I just took it easy. Then I just started picking people off one by one. For the last few laps I was worried because the bike was having some problems with gears. When I crossed the line I was crying my eyes out.”
Winning first world title at Phillip Island 1994
“It went right down to the wire… The season had been such a massive mix of stuff that it’s incredible I won it all. It was a brand new bike with the new Ducati 916, Aaron Slight was on the Honda RC45 and Scott Russell was there as reigning world champ.
“Honda got docked points for
illegal fuel and then the points were given back, I was leading the world title and then I wasn’t. I broke my wrist at the second round and had to race the next round three weeks later. That was bloody hard work. I couldn’t use the clutch properly so I blew the gearbox up.
“The 916 went from being a horrible thing to ride at the start of the season into something I knew I could ride hard once we made it longer. The biggest issue back then was reliability.
“It all went to Donington and I was leading the championship by 20 points. I was well confident and qualified on pole. And then I chose the worst tyre I have ever had and finished 14th. Russell won the first race and my points lead was about gone. I salvaged a fifth in the second race.
“The whole season has been a slanging match between me and Russell. It was dead serious at the time but looking back it was a lot of fun. By the time I got to Phillip Island I’d gone from being a cocky loudmouth to being really nervous.
“By the final round I was exhausted… and I knew Russell was too. I just thought whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I qualified second even though my fast lap had been ruined by a slower rider.
“As soon as I got behind Russell in the race I knew he was holding me up. And holding me up badly. As soon as I got past him I was pulling away. I won the race with Russell second after Anthony Gobert let him past because of team orders.
“I let Gobert go in the second race as I didn’t know anything about him. Russell was holding me up again and I couldn’t work out why he was so slow. Then he looked around, signalled with his hand to wave me past and that was it. It was like he was throwing in the towel right at that moment.
“As I came over the line the pitboard said ‘World Champion’ and I was bawling my eyes out. I was an emotional wreck. Most emotional moment of my life.”
120,000 people make WSB history 1999
“We got to Brands Hatch and it was the biggest crowd in World Superbikes history. I got distracted by the whole weekend which I look back on now and can’t believe I allowed myself to do so much stupid stuff. Even in qualifying I was wired up to talk a fast lap for one of my sponsors.
“Eventually I got pole but that was only by riding like an idiot for the whole lap. I had virtually crashed at every corner.
“I was sat there on pole knowing I couldn’t win because we hadn’t got any of the race distance stuff done. I had no idea what tyre I was going to use. The one I did pick fell apart and I had to get straight back to the pits.
“Getting back to the pits, all I could hear were airhorns, shouting and the crowd going mad. The team got the bike up on the stand which then snapped. It felt like a dream but I was very calm.
“By the end of the day I was in pieces. I felt like I had let down every single one of the people there but none of them seemed to mind a bit [Foggy was 19th in race one and fourth in race two]. I couldn’t understand it at all.”