An Exclusive Q&A With Carl Fogarty

Anthony Peacock
08 Feb , 2021

Superbike legend and television personality Carl Fogarty has partnered with British watch brand Forzo to launch a range of limited edition watches. The limited edition range will be launched on Kickstarter at the end of March 2021: just the first of a family of watch collections that will be released in future. Carl Fogarty, known affectionately around the world as ‘Foggy’, is a four-time World Superbike champion and a three-time Isle of Man TT champion, who famously held the record for the fastest-ever lap around the island circuit for seven years, with the unforgettable average speed of 123mph. We caught up with the seven-time world champion to find out a bit more…

How did the collaboration with Forzo come about?

“I’ve always loved watches but never been involved in putting my own mark on a watch, so as soon as I heard about the Forzo project, I knew that it was something I wanted to do. I’ve not done anything like that with a watch before: had my own name on it and helped design it. I’ve always had a watch on my wrist though, and the great thing about watches too is that the value of them holds very well: in fact it goes up. The watches I've bought are worth more money now than when I first bought them. Hopefully that will be the case with this Forzo watch too. That’s why we wanted a limited small number, so people are going to get a really nice, cool watch that holds its money and hopefully goes up in value, because it’s a limited edition.”

What are the sort of watches you like?

“At the moment I’ve got a TAG on my wrist; the Ayrton Senna watch. And I’ve got a Rolex too. I guess I like quite chunky watches with steel bracelets: I’m more into those than leather straps. That’s the sort of look I’ve tried to bring into the Foggy watch.”

How does it work with the Forzo team?

“It’s just a good fit. I trust them with designs that they think will suit my image and associate with me and that people will like. I’m not a watch expert myself. I’ve just suggested the design and added some personal touches; highlighting the number one and the Foggy logo with the racy feel of stainless steel or carbon. Forzo was pretty much in the ballpark straight away with the original concept though, and one of the strengths of the partnership is that we see things in the same way.”

You’ve had 220 starts in 13 years of World Superbikes, winning 59 races and four World Superbike titles. Is there a highlight of your career?

“I think the highlight is obviously winning the world championship and becoming world champion. I’m proud of all the world titles, but maybe the first one, which we took in Australia, most of all. It was under dramatic circumstances on the other side of the world at the last round of the year. To come away with the world championship for the first time felt very emotional, very special. To repeat that a few more times and, at the same time, win big races and world championships on road circuits too is a bit rare. And for 25 years after I retired as the most successful Superbike rider of all time, that record of race wins and title stood. It’s only recently been broken, so those achievements are certainly something I look back on with a lot of pride. Hopefully that’s reflected in the watch.”

What’s your favourite circuit?

“I’d say it was Assen. The old Assen circuit I mean; the new one isn’t the same. For somebody who always carried a high cornering speed like I did, that kind of circuit was what it was all about. It was all to do with cornering speed there, which suits my style, and once the bike was working right, I could win a lot of races. In fact, I won 12 out 14 races there, and the two I lost, I lost by just half a wheel. In the UK, my favourite track is Donington Park. Same reason really: it’s all about the cornering speed.”

And your favourite bike?

“That would probably be the second year of racing the 916 Ducati, which was in 1995. I think it was pretty much the perfect bike. This was a brand new bike in 1994 and it took around a year of ironing out the little things to get it absolutely perfect for me by 1995. By then, I really felt that I could just about make it do anything, on any circuit. It was brilliant.”

What about the Isle of Man TT? You had the lap record there in 1992, with the incredible 123mph lap that’s celebrated by the first range of limited-edition Forzo watches…

“Actually, I think if things had been right the year before in 1991, I believe I could have done 125mph that year to be honest – but the bike was misfiring. To come away from that, almost forget about it, and go on to World Superbikes was bizarre. But it was great to come back and show that I was still the fastest guy around the most famous road circuit in the world. My dad used to race there, so as a kid that was all my childhood memories: plus we had four weeks off school, which was great! Once you see something like that and are brought up with it, chances are you’re probably going to do it yourself one day. When you look back at your career, to know that you’ve had that – you were once the fastest-ever around there – still feels very special.”

How did you do it: set a 123mph average lap speed?

“I was pushing hard that year, despite the fact that the bike was in pretty terrible condition: falling apart really. But I didn’t think the record would stand for seven years: which is rare. Most of all, I’m lucky that I’m still around to talk about it. Lots of guys aren’t.”

In 2014, you won “I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here!” What else have you been up to since stopping your riding career?

“I've cut back on lots of stuff over the years. I want to start spending more time going away and enjoying life a little bit. I enjoy riding so I still get my kicks. I go out with the lads on the bikes; road trips and rides out. Especially when you go in the summer: just getting out on the motocross bike; I love it – and long may that continue!”

What bikes do you own now?

I've still got the bike that I won the World Championship with. I’ve got a few off-road bikes, a few little dirt bikes. That’s mostly it, although I’ve also got a couple of CCMs, which is a bike company I’m involved with now. Then I’ve got the Ducati Megelli limited edition Number 1, a 500. But it’s not that many bikes I have really. Most people I know from racing have a lot but I honestly don’t. If I can’t ride them, I don’t really want them to sit there doing nothing.”

Do you miss racing?

“No I don’t actually. It’s strange: I did for quite a few years, just after retiring I guess. I found it really difficult to follow bike racing back then, but from probably 2010 onwards, it’s not really bothered me at all. I enjoy watching it now, and I follow MotoGP, World Superbike and British Superbikes but I don’t miss competing. If I was to think about getting on one of those things and trying to race it around Donington, I’d be in so much pain after a few laps that it wouldn’t be much fun!”

How would you sum up the Foggy Forzo watch in three words?

“Stylish, precise, reliable. A bit like me!”

 

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