Broken arm forces 'King Carl' to quit

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The Independent Online

It had been rumoured, but yesterday it was confirmed: Carl Fogarty, who won the World Superbike title four times and a special place in the hearts of thousands of motorcycling fans, is to retire after finally succumbing to the arm injury he suffered at the start of the season.

It had been rumoured, but yesterday it was confirmed: Carl Fogarty, who won the World Superbike title four times and a special place in the hearts of thousands of motorcycling fans, is to retire after finally succumbing to the arm injury he suffered at the start of the season.

"King Carl", famous for his piercing stare and his withering criticism of rivals, broke his left arm in three places in the second round of this season's world championship at Phillip Island, Australia, in April. He had an operation to pin the arm but has struggled to regain strength and movement in the limb.

At a special testing session set up by his team, Ducati, at Mugello, Italy, this week, the 35-year-old Blackburn rider realised he was fighting a losing battle.

"I could not find the words to describe how bad it was when I came in after a few laps at Mugello," Fogarty said. "I had been playing a bit of tennis and a bit of jet-skiing and felt I wasn't a million miles away. But on the bike it was horrendous. I was one per cent of the guy I was seven months ago. I was stuck on this thing in absolute agony.

"It confirmed everything that my specialist had said. The arm cannot take the constant pounding. It's like a piece of coral that has broken off - it takes years and years to grow back again.

"All good things come to an end," Fogarty said. "It's a bad way but it could have been a hell of a lot worse. I have had a fantastic career but it has not been the fantastic ending that I always thought I would have.

"I wanted to go out with everyone knowing that it was the last time I would race. I've risked my life for 20 years and the most important thing is to have my health. The decision has been made for me."

Fogarty took his first world title in 1994 and followed that up the following year. Then, after an ill-fated year with Honda and a return to Ducati in 1997, he again secured back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999.

Among the other highlights in Fogarty's career are the Formula One titles he won in 1988 and 1989, the FIM World Cup in 1990 and the World Endurance title in 1992. He also won three Isle of Man TT titles, one in 1989 and two in 1990.

As he mulled over his decision, Fogarty, who will continue to work for Ducati in a promotional capacity, admitted being influenced by the death in July of Joey Dunlop, the winner of 26 TT races. "It brings it home to you, although what Joey did was so much different to what I do," he said.

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