Motorcycling: Fogarty pulls in record crowd

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CARL FOGARTY, the Superbike world champion, will draw British bikers to Brands Hatch in unprecedented numbers for the championship's ninth European round tomorrow.

The turnout last year was 82,000 - believed to be the biggest attendance at a motorcycle race on mainland Britain - and Nicola Foulston, chief executive of Brands Hatch Leisure, said that figure would be beaten.

"We are expecting in excess of 100,000 people," Foulston said. "Advance booking has already outstripped our actual attendance for last year."

Fogarty, the most successful racer in 11 years of the superbike championship with three world titles and 56 race wins, has a 49-point lead over his Australian team-mate Troy Corser.

Last year Fogarty arrived at Brands struggling for motivation and with talk of retirement as Corser led the championship by a comfortable margin. This year the roles are reversed and no one is talking retirement.

"I always said as long as I'm winning races I'll carry on racing," Fogarty said. "At the moment I'm winning races and I'm quite happy to continue racing.

"I think when you are behind in the championship you think 'Ah well, I've nothing to lose'. You're not really thinking about anything but to go out and win races."

"When you're leading with the points I have you think 'don't push too hard, don't do anything too stupid'. It is a bit different, but given the option I want to be in front."

Brands Hatch gives New Zealand's Aaron Slight a chance to get back on the podium after a nightmare season marred by injuries and crashes, but he is already looking ahead to a stronger challenge next year.

"I want to end my career on a high and this year is not the way I want to end it," he said.

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