The second half of the 1994 season – the 7th year of WorldSBK
After the 6th lap on the new Sentul track in Malaysia, it went on to Japan. The duel for the title between the reigning world champion Scott Russell and Carl Fogarty had meanwhile turned into a three-way battle. In contrast to Russell with 4 wins and Fogarty with their 5, Aaron Slight had no race wins. But 7 podium placements and three fourth places with only two failures still resulted in the New Zealander leading the World Championship before Sugo. For the first time in the 1990s, the Superbike World Championship was decided not over 13, but this time only 11 rounds. There was a lot of excitement for the last 5 events.
The 7th round in Sugo
As one of only 4 courses left with Donington, Hockenheim and the Österreich-Ring (today Red Bull Ring), Sugo was still on the calendar in the 7th round of the World Championship. In the first race in Japan, the reigning world champion shot into the lead right from the start. Followed by Fogarty and the Japanese Keiichi Kitagawa, who crashed his Kawasaki in the first lap. Four rounds later, Stéphane Mertens also flew off on his private Ducati. Shortly afterwards, Foggy was overtaken by his Ducati brand colleague Fabrizio Pirovano. But the Englishman stayed with the Italian and was able to fight his way past him again.
The old master Pirovano wins the tough battle for second place
In the end, the veteran from Biassono (lying directly on the Monza track) was in front again and the Japanese Yasumoto Nagai (Yamaha) also managed to overtake the vice world champion. A few laps later, Foggy had lost position 2 and his two pursuers had found their way past him. In the end, he could still be happy to save 4th place in front of the strong Yamaha rider Wataru Yoshikawa by 0.166 seconds. Aaron Slight didn’t get past 7th place in front of Takuma Aoki, Anthony Gobert (all Honda). The Austrian Andy Meklau (Ducati) completed the top ten with ex-world champion Doug Polen (Honda).
The second race of Sugo
This time Carl Fogarty had the best start with his Ducati and Russell was initially only in 3rd place. But a short time later he had grabbed the Japanese Yasumoto Nagai (Yamaha) lying in front of him and set out to pursue the English leader. Keiichi Kitagawa (Kawasaki) was initially on P4 ahead of Fabrizio Pirovano, who slipped his Ducati in the chicane on lap 1. In the back of them followed Anthony Gobert, Aaron Slight (both Honda) and a young Japanese named Noriyuki Haga on a Yamaha. We should hear and see a lot more from him in WorldSBK in the future.
Change of leadership to the disadvantage of Foggy
Together with Nagai, Russell set out in pursuit of the leader and both found their way past the Englishman after catching up with him. Kitagawa, who fell in the first run, was lurking just a little behind. With two laps to go, the American was still leading, just ahead of Nagai. Fogarty followed with a small margin of respect, followed by the two other local heroes Kitagawa and Yoshikawa. The latter had closed the gap in front of him on his Yamaha and was thus within striking distance of 3rd place. Foggy was able to close the gap in front of him and Nagai was able to pass the leader at the beginning of the penultimate lap before the chicane. But a little later the young Japanese hit the grass in the wide right-hand bend and fell back to P5 until he was back on the track. Ultimately, Russell won again, this time ahead of Fogarty, Kitagawa, Yoshikawa, Nagai, Gobert and Slight.
World Championship round 8 at the Cathedral of Speed
In Assen the last 3 rounds of Europe continued two weeks after Sugo. The first 3 in the World Cup intermediate rankings were still very close together. Aaron Slight was only 11 points behind World Championship leader Russell and Foggy had overtaken the Kiwi by 3 points. The weekend was a disaster for the reigning World Champion. In the first race, Carl Fogarty ran away from the start. Russell, on the other hand, got off badly because some early starters had irritated him. But unlike today, there was no punishment for such minor offenses. However, the American must have cursed a lot under his helmet in the first corners because he had lost numerous places as a result. At the end of his race to catch up, he was still 6th behind Fogarty, Paolo Casoli (Yamaha), Aron Slight (Honda), Terry Rymer (Kawasaki) and Ducati rider Jamie Whitham.
The second race of Assen
While Foggy also dominated the second run at will, things went even worse for the reigning world champion this time. The podium was completed by Aaron Slight and Mauro Lucchiari (Ducati). Behind them followed Paolo Casoli (Yamaha), Jamie Whitham (Ducati) Terry Rymer (Kawasaki), Simon Crafar (Honda) and only then the two Kawasaki drivers Jochen Schmid and Scott Russell. The top ten was completed by the Swede Christer Lindholm on a Yamaha.
Punished the wrong wrongdoer
A very abstract disqualification hit the Italian Piergiorgio Bontempi in run 2, who was excluded from the ranking due to “exceeding noise limit”. The author of this report cannot count how many of his compatriots he almost killed because of their noise pollution with an open exhaust in traffic. Often enough in the middle of the night or early in the morning in all sorts of cities and towns in Italy. And this time, instead of one of these idiots with an intentionally loud exhaust, one of their compatriots was punished as a racing driver for too much noise, what a perversion!
The 9th round of the World Championship in Mugello
This time Russell was determined to make up for the Assen gap. Right from the start, the Kawasaki rider pulled away irresistibly and within a few laps set himself apart from his closest rivals. Behind it, a fight broke out between Foggy and Slight for P2, until the Englishman was able to prevail and was able to distance the New Zealander. During the course of the race, he got company from Troy Corser on the Fast by Ferracci Ducati. The Australian became more and more intrusive and from now on the two fighters from the other end of the world fought doggedly for the last place on the podium. In the end, it was Corser who stood on the podium with Russell and Fogarty.
The second run of Mugello
At first Fogarty tried to escape, but it wasn’t long before Russell caught him. While Corser retired with chain damage this time, the Kawasaki rider took the lead again. But the American shouldn’t be happy about his leadership for long. After setting the fastest lap in lap eight with 1:56.305, 8 laps was over for him, and he pitted with an engine failure on his Kawasaki. After that, the way was clear for Foggy and the Englishman scored 20 of the perhaps most important points of his career on this occasion. Slight hit P2 and Lucchiari saved the Italians honor with 3rd place.
Last round of Europe with the 2nd race of the season in Donington
The first race in England was on a wet track and Foggy had lost a few places right from the start. Russell sat up front on his Kawasaki and Troy Corser grabbed opponent after opponent. When it was his turn to take the leader, he passed him shortly afterwards, but the American countered and took the lead again. In the end, it was he who had his nose in front of the young Australian on the Ducati by exactly a quarter of a second at the finish. Paolo Casoli (Yamaha) took third place ahead of Alan Carter (Ducati). Aaron Slight had to settle for 8th place after a mistake behind Crafar, Bontempi and Meklau, after he had previously had a chance on the podium. Foggy this time it was only enough for P14.
The second race from Donington Park
Before the start, Fogarty was still world championship leader with 12 points ahead of Slight and Russell was 15 points short of the world championship leader at this point. In the second run it was even wetter than in the first and this time the Englishman was in the top group right from the start. Marco Lucchiari (Ducati) was initially able to pull away at the front. But led by Troy Corser, the pursuers worked their way back closer to the Italian. The young Australian was the first to approach Lucchiari, but Russell was also getting closer and closer. Foggy had to let go, while at the front Corser and shortly afterwards the reigning world champion passed the leading one. In the end, the US-American passed Corser again and took the double victory, while Fogarty had to be content with 5th place.
The decision for the world title in Phillip Island
With the knife between their teeth, the two brawlers Fogarty and Russell fought for a long time for the lead. Aaron Slight, on the other hand, had fallen back a little after initially third and saw the checkered flag in fourth. Foggy managed to break away in the front and Russell lost P2 to local hero Anthony Gobert in between. But in the end it was the American who climbed onto the podium to the left of Fogarty. Gobert had cut the gas well before the finish to let his Kawasaki brand colleague go first. The World Championship was not yet decided, but the Englishman was already world champion with one leg.
The second run of Australia with a dramatic ending
For Russell, the starting position was clear. He had to win and Fogarty on the other hand, even in this case, was fourth enough to secure the first world title of his career. After the start, Russell was the man who took the lead on the outside of his opponents in the first corner. The Englishman was initially only fifth and was able to improve by one position shortly thereafter. At the front a Kawasaki duo with Russell and Gobert initially formed, but Foggy began to close the gap in front of him more and more. When it was his turn to take the two leaders, Gobert began to break away and the American apparently ran into problems. He even waved his opponent over and waved his hand that it was over for him. Shortly afterwards he had to pits and had the rear wheel changed. The Englishman was established as world champion, finished second behind Gobert and Russell had no points.
Ranking of the Superbike World Championship 1995 – P1 to 40
With a 6th place in the World Championship, an Austrian was able to get involved in the middle of the world elite, which made Andy Meklau one of the most famous two-wheel artists in the Alpine republic after Rupert Hollaus and Gustl Auinger, given the competition at the time in the WorldSBK. Meklau achieved one of the best results for a German-speaking pilot in the history of the WSBK.
Rank 41 to 64
WSBK manufacturer Championship 1994
Part 15: http://www.motoracers.eu/wsbk-history-part-15/?lang=en
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