Before Carl Fogarty MBE becomes known to the general populous as the latest ‘celebrity’ to successfully sleep rough and devour all manner of flora and fauna, I thought I’d use this week’s celebration of the 2015 Festival of Speed theme ‘Flat-out and Fearless: Racing on the Edge’ to remind everyone that Mr Fogarty is in fact one of the finest motorcycle racers ever to come from this sceptred isle.
Fans of the Lancastrian two-wheelist with the thousand yard stare will likely be expecting a clip of one of his epic battles on a works Ducati against arch rival Pierfrancesco Chili from his World Superbike days. However, it’s sometimes overlooked not only that Fogarty was a fearsome opponent at the Isle of Man TT (he won three), but that by popular consensus he was involved in the greatest ever race to take place on the Mountain Course.
In 1992 he lined up for the big one – the Senior TT – against Scotsman and 11-time TT winner Steve Hislop. Both men were on unfamiliar bikes; Hislop on the rotary-engined Norton 588NRS and Fogarty on the Yamaha OW01. Having both competed as team mates the previous year on the highly-rated Honda RVF, observers at the time gave neither man much chance on such unfancied machinery.
In the race they traded the lead almost every lap. Foggy led at the end of the first tour by 1.2 seconds, but at the end of the second the Scot was in front on the wailing Norton and the whole race carried on in that vein with each rider setting new lap records. Going in to the final circuit Fogarty needed to set yet another record to give himself a chance of victory …
This is simply sensational racing and I’d have no hesitation in offering this up as one of motorsport’s greatest ever duels. It’s no surprise to see Foggy so utterly unfazed at the prospect of chewing on a kangaroo’s innards.