Posh beaten by one man and his motorbike

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The Independent Culture

In one of publishing's most star-studded battles, David Beckham, Martine McCutcheon and Posh Spice are vying for victory in the biography charts, only to be outshone by a far less stellar celebrity - a biker from Blackburn called Foggy.

In one of publishing's most star-studded battles, David Beckham, Martine McCutcheon and Posh Spice are vying for victory in the biography charts, only to be outshone by a far less stellar celebrity - a biker from Blackburn called Foggy.

Foggy is the story of Carl Fogarty, arguably Britain's greatest motorcyclist. According to Booktrack, which monitors sales, his life story, written with Neil Bramwell, has sold 35,000 copies since its August launch. David Beckham: My World, launched earlier this month, has so far sold 6,542 copies, while the just-launched Posh and Becks by Andrew Morton sold 2,875. Admittedly, Foggy has had a head-start on both, but his consistent sales (2,432 last week to Morton's 2,875 and the 1,788 of Martine: Who does She Think She Is?) have left his publisher, Collins-Willow, doing gleeful wheelies.

The phenomenal success of the biker's tale is largely due to the loyalty and passion - and the generous spending habits - of the motorbike crowd, said Michael Doggart, the publishing director for the HarperCollins imprint. "The thing that got me interested in doing the book was that 120,000 people came to Brands Hatch just to watch him race. Forty thousand would go to Germany for the next round. So there were obviously a lot of people who thought he was God," he said.

"And he's been working hard promoting it. The Beckhams et cetera do a couple of signings. Carl has done more than 20 and a lot of interviews and all the signings have been very successful. The least we've sold at one is 300 copies, the most 800. Those mount up."

Foggy is said to be a character with an unconventional "edge". Winner of the World Superbike Championship four times, and the sport's biggest "box office draw", he has retained his roots in Blackburn, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

The book is a characteristically frank account of his transformation from shy and awkward teenager to biking celebrity. It details the dangers of his sport, personal tragedies, the hell-raising years and the sport's sex appeal.

"People wanted to read about him," Mr Doggart said. "And throughout his career he has kept himself scarce in PR terms." It helped, he admitted, that Foggy had recently announced his retirement because of long-term injury. "They wanted to have a record of his career."

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