He’s still the undisputed champion of Superbike; the most successful rider ever in the sport’s history. Now Carl Fogarty is fifteen years into a retirement that has seen him be crowned King of the Jungle and trek across Patagonia, but, as for any former champion, giving up the sport that made him a household name has been no easy task.
Now his new autobiography, The World According to Foggy, delves deeper into the highs and lows of the Blackburn-native’s time on and off the track.
What prompted you to sit down and write the book?
I am in a really different place to where I was when I did my first book. I was a guy who liked to race, arrogant, self-centred, obnoxious – that kind of stuff. That book really reflected the kind of person that I was at that time.
This idea sounded really good to do now, about my outlook on life, the things which have happened to me in about the last 17 or 18 years and after retiring from racing and they’re mainly funny stories really, from around my travels and stuff and it also kicks back into some of the stuff when I was racing. The highs, the lows, the funny stories, the travelling around the world and I guess, my opinion on whatever it is in life, taking the mickey and being tongue-in-cheek – just the world according to Foggy.
It’s been over a decade since you retired from your sport and you seem very comfortable with yourself and you mentioned that you have matured. But when you finished was it hard to adapt to life without the sport in your life?
Yeah, it’s not easy to be honest. I wrote about it in the book. I’ve struggled without that which has led to issues with anxiety, depression and it’s surprising how many people have to cope with similar sort of things, really. It was like I woke up and turned the TV off and cancelled the weekly newspapers and monthly magazines and that type of stuff. In the other sports, the likes of Paul Gascoigne, Ellery Hanley, they’ve all had issues – you can off the rails on drink, drugs or whatever.
My way of dealing with it is just to switch it off, really and trying not to think about it; that worked for me to a point. I have struggled with anxiety and things over the last five, six, seven years really. Again, I do touch upon that in the book and I feel for myself that the best way of dealing with it is just to cut everything out by getting some fresh air, walking the dog, cycling. It all definitely helps to clear my head and of course, it doesn’t help everybody but getting out, talking about it and not being sat at home doing nothing.
If we go back to your start in the sport, how did you get into it in the first place?
My dad raced bikes so I was brought up with it, really. Whatever you are brought up around as a kid, the chances are that you are going to end doing that yourself for a living or a profession and that’s what happened to me, really. I was brought up around bikes and I wanted to race bikes and be a world champion from around 10-years-old.
What makes and models are you riding the most these days?
Well, I have a Triumph Thruxton Scrambler, a Triumph Speed Triple R, I like my off-road bikes and I have a couple of KTMs and a couple of Hondas. All at 52 years of age!
Do you have a dream bike?
Not really. I don’t know about a dream bike. That’s a good question and its put me on the spot. I guess I would have to say that they are the bikes that I already have. The Triumphs and the dirt bikes. I’m happy with them!
When you were riding professionally what was the bike that you were most in tune with?
My favourite bike of all-time would have to be the Ducati 916 of 1995. That bike was so nice to ride that year and it was quite comfortable and I felt that I could do anything that I wanted to at 60mph, 90mph at most circuits.
You have a speaking tour – ‘An Evening with Foggy’ – coming up. What can fans expect from that?
Again, it’s just funny stories from the times I’ve spent in certain places. Stuff that I’ve done from about the last three or four years, really. The audience can get involved and ask questions as part of the show and it’s going really well!
What are your plans for 2018, then?
Well, I am pretty busy at the moment from now until the end of May with chat shows and stuff with Triumph for a new bike that they have got coming out onto the market, which they will be launching soon. So, once it gets to the end of May and the summer time, I will probably get out to somewhere like Ibiza for a couple of weeks and go and chill out, really. That will help me get ready for the Patagonia charity walk and I will have a wedding to pay for my with my daughter Danielle and Jake (Quickenden). But as Jake won Dancing on Ice, he can pay for his own wedding!
The World According to Foggy is published by Headline on 19th April 2018, priced £20
For more info on An Evening With Foggy, please visit carlfogarty.com