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Bike legend pays homage to local hero

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Motor cycling legend Carl Fogarty will be roaring into North Wales next month - and is looking forward to meeting a local hero.

Four times World Superbike Champion, multiple TT winner and arguably Britain's best ever motor cycle racer, Carl Fogarty MBE, is the star attraction at the Motorbike Show in Llangollen.

The increasingly popular bike fest, organised by Xuberance Events, is being held at the Royal International Pavilion on Saturday and Sunday, August 7 and 8.

Carl is full of heartfelt praise Llangollen TT rider Paul Owen who was awarded the inaugural Spirit of the TT Award at this year's races. Paul was following his close friend, New Zealander Paul Dobbs, during the Supersport race at this year's June TT when Dodds crashed. Owen stopped, dismounted, giving up his own race ambitions to assist race marshals in controlling the incident warning other racers of debris in the road.

Sadly, Dobbs suffered fatal injuries in the high speed crash at Ballagarey. Carl said: "The TT is a fantastic event and I am proud to have won three TT races as it's real between-the-hedges and walls road racing. What Paul Owen did in giving up his own race chances to stop and help was fantastic and really does sum up the spirit of the TT. "I enjoyed being back at the TT this year and took part in the parade lap of former winners before the final race, the Senior TT."

And Foggy, as he is affectionately known by his army of fans, says he can't wait to catch up with visitors to the popular show in Llangollenas well as his Welsh fans. He said: "I always enjoyed great support from Welsh fans, particularly at Assen for the Dutch rounds of the World Superbike Championships. Assen was always a favourite track of mine and I was always amazed at the number of British fans, many from Wales, who made the journey over to cheer me on. I know Llangollen pretty well and have done some trial riding around the area in the past. I have also got a place on Anglesey. In fact I even had some success racing in Wales. In 1986, 1987 and 1988 I won the 250cc and 1,000cc events at Aberdare at a time when I was really learning my trade and before I moved up to superbikes and factory machinery. So I do have a great connection with Wales. Going to the show makes a change from actually riding and will give me a real chance to catch up with a few friends and fans who gave me so much support over the years. I know the show has only been going a few years but it's already got a big reputation. It's a great place to have a motor cycle show and there's a good mix of different things and attractions going on so it's not just about trade stands, although clearly, that's an important feature of any event."

But which of his considerable racing achievements does Carl Fogarty think of as his most precious title.

He said: "They all mean so much I can't really say. The TT wins, and holding the lap record for seven years, is something very special but so are my four World Superbike titles, my three World Formula 1 motor cycling world titles and my World Endurance title too. I have never regretted anything in my career. People often ask whether I think I should have gone and raced in Grand Prix but to be honest I'm not really bothered. I did the odd race but World Superbikes was getting bigger and bigger, I had a crowd of more than 120,000 at Brand's Hatch in 1999 to watch me race, that I didn't see any need to go the Grand Prix route. In fact Grand Prix were declining, crowds were down and it was only when Valentino Rossi came along that it started to pick up again."
 
And who does the Blackburn flyer consider, other than himself, to be the best racer of all time?

He said: "The American, Kenny Robert was always my favourite, I loved his style and controlled aggression. The best British riders for me were Joey Dunlop, who was simply awesome at the TT, and Ron Haslam. Those are the riders I grew up watching."

Organiser David Green, the Managing Director of Xuberance Events, says this year's show will be bigger and better than ever.

He added: "The local biking fraternity has given us fantastic support from the outset and this year's event will be bigger and better. We have doubled the number of exhibitors ¨C not only selling but also providing advice. This is a show for bikers from all disciplines, from the vintage and classic bikes right through to the road racing bikes."

One of the highlights of the Motorbike Show will be the popular Biker Babe competition and biker fans can vote for their favourite on the event's website, and it's not yet too late for aspiring biker babes to enter.

Among the displays at the show will be beautiful old bikes from the collection of Llangollen Motor Museum proprietor Gwilym Owen.

There will also be motorbike displays, expert advice clinics, a club corner, a live action arena as well as a custom bike show.

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