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NW200: Fogarty relishing return to old hunting ground
18 May 2012
Legendary four-time World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty will complete demonstration laps of the North West 200 course on a Ducati Panigale tomorrow.
The Italian manufacturer was synonymous with much of the success in the Blackburn star's stellar career and Foggy is reunited with the exotic marque as he ventures out onto the 8.9-mile circuit for the first time in almost 20 years.
Fogarty created one of the outstanding memories in North West 200 history in the wake of his Superbike double on the Moto Cinelli Ducati in 1993 as he celebrated his success in typically exuberant style.
Globally recognised as one of motorcycle racing's true heroes, Fogarty has many fond memories of his time spent racing on the roads at the North West and TT before his remarkable World Superbike career took off.
“I loved racing in Ireland and I always had a good following, right back to the years when I was almost like Joey's team-mate in 1988 when I won the TT Formula One world title,” he said.
“We both helped each other out that year and he was at the celebrations back in my home town in Blackburn and then when I won at Kirkistown in '88 we went back to his pub and stuff, so I've always had a really good reception in Ireland.”
Fogarty amassed four World Superbike crowns (1994, 1995, 1998, 1999), the World TT Formula One title in 1988 plus the FIM Formula One World Cup in 1990 during an outstanding career.
On his return to Portstewart in Northern Ireland for the first time in almost two decades, Fogarty said: “I've talked about going back a lot of times but most years I've had something else on and I've not been able to make it for whatever reason.
“It's great to be a part of it all again and hopefully we'll see some good racing and then I'll do a lap by myself.”
Looking back at his 1993 brace in the premier class on the Causeway Coast, Fogarty said it was an achievement he thought would ultimately elude him.
“I'd been so close for a number of years and then obviously I went there on the Ducati and the bike was obviously the best that year - you need a fast bike at the North West because of the high speeds, so there was so much relief after winning a race that meant so much to me,” he said.
“I thought it was going to elude me because of the problems I'd had before, so I was glad to finally get the win and go on to other things.”
He also set a new lap record on his way to victory at 122.491mph.