Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 29 May 2016

North West 200 cooking on Gas as legends blow in

By Paul Lindsay

Published 25/01/2013

Honda teammates Jamie Whitham, Phillip McCallen and Carl Fogarty at the North West in the 1980s
Honda teammates Jamie Whitham, Phillip McCallen and Carl Fogarty at the North West in the 1980s

Bike race fans are in for a treat at this year’s Vauxhall International North West 200 with motorcycle racing legends Carl Fogarty and Jamie Whitham bringing their hugely popular ‘Givin it Gas’ chat show to the paddock on Wednesday, May 15 during Race Week.

Four times World Superbike champion and 1993 double Superbike North West winner Fogarty has been touring the UK since 2010 with his old racing rival Whitham, recounting their former glories and disasters and talking about some of the sport’s biggest characters in an evening of irreverent and light hearted chat and reminiscence.

This will be the duo’s first trip to Ireland with a show that has sold out all over the UK.

Regarded as the greatest WSB rider of all-time, it will be Foggy’s road racing exploits that will be of the greatest interest to North West fans in May.

They will have the chance to quiz the Blackburn Rover about his relationship with Ulster racers Joey and Robert Dunlop and Phillip McCallen, who were his greatest foes on the roads at the end of the 80s and early 90s.

His double on the Moto Cinelli Ducati in ’93 ended years of frustration for Fogarty on the Triangle course and completed a road racing CV that included the 1988 Formula One world championship and three TT victories before he moved away from the roads to concentrate on the WSB scene.

Foggy’s epic duel with Steve Hislop in the 1992 Senior TT recently topped the poll as the ‘Greatest TT Race of All-time’ and although the Yamaha rider lost out on the win by just four seconds to the Norton-mounted Scot, Fogarty’s outright lap record was to stand for seven years before being broken in 1999 by Jim Moodie.

Although many local fans may be familiar with Foggy’s road racing pedigree, Whitham’s impressive record might be slightly less well known.

Some might find it hard to believe that the youthful TV presenter was actually the winner of the 1989 Production race at the North West 200, pipping Dave Leach to the chequered flag.

The 46 year old Huddersfield man was also a podium finisher at the Isle of Man TT and a double British champion on the tracks before he followed his great friend and rival Fogarty into the WSB paddock.

The duo know each other inside out and have experienced every aspect of the racing game, guaranteeing a night to remember for everyone who manages to get a seat to hear their tales in the Hospitality marquee in the paddock at 7.30pm on May 15.

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