Aaron Slight on the legendary Honda RVF 750 RC45 in Sentul, with two 2nd places overall victories in the 6th World Championship round in Malaysia. The Kiwi then traveled to Japan as World Championship leader, where the seventh of a total of 11 rounds took place just one week later (© WorldSBK).

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.

Anthony Gobert on his Honda RVF 750 RC45 – the Australian wildcard driver impressed in Japan with two top ten results. At the season finale in Phillip Island, he should go one better on a Kawasaki (© Honda Racing).

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 reigning world champion Scott Russell (Kawasaki ZXR-750) – unbeatable in Sugo’s first run, the American took his fifth win of the season and gave his opponents no chance (© WorldSBK).

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.

Wataru Yoshikawa (Yamaha, Here a later photo on a YZF R1) – 5th and 4th place at the Superbike World Championship and Japanese Superbike Champion in 1994, then again in 1999. Later the Japanese became even better known in the MotoGP paddock as a team manager in the Yamaha Factory Racing Team (© Yamaha Racing).

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.

Keiichi Kitagawa (Kawasaki ZXR-750) – the Japanese took 5th place in the 2nd round at Hockenheim and in his home country he competed in the WSBK for a second time and finished 3rd on the podium in the 2nd race (© WorldSBK).
Carl Fogarty (Ducati Corse Virginio Ferrari) – after two podium finishes, the Reds’ works driver was back in second place in the World Championship before heading back to Europe (© WorldSBK).

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 program of the 1994 Dutch run in Assen, for the equivalent of just over 2 euros. Even today, the WorldSBK World Championship run in the “Cathedral of Speed” is an absolute highlight for us every year. In contrast to MotoGP, it is very inexpensive, significantly more races and much fewer crowds, it is a recommendation for every motorsport fan. More about the track and its history can be found on this page under “Racetracks”.
WorldSBK in Assen photographed by us in postcard weather in April 2018 – 24 years after the Superbike World Championship took place here for the third time in its history in the 1994 season.

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.

Carl Fogarty (Ducati, inside) and Aaron Slight on Honda were the two toughest challengers to reigning world champion and Kawasaki rider Scott Russell (© WorldSBK).

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!

Carl Fogarty (Ducati) – the 1994 season should bring the Englishman the final breakthrough, after he had just failed in the title fight the year before Scott Russell (© WorldSBK).

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.

Scott Russell (Kawasaki ZXR-750) – the reigning world champion was simply unbeatable at the Italian world championship run on the track in the Apennines, around 50 km north of Florence (© WorldSBK).

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.

From left Giancarlo Falappa (Ducati, crashed during a test drive in Albacete), Raymond Roche (first world champion for Ducati 1990) and Marco Lucchinelli (former 500cc star). Many missed the local hero from Jesi when he had to end his career involuntarily after a month of coma instead of appearing in the Mugello paddock (© WorldSBK).

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.

Photographed 25 years later by us in Donington at the WSBK race in July 2019 – now there was a race on Saturday, a sprint race on Sunday morning and the third and last of the weekend in the afternoon. But it was still extremely exciting, just like back in the golden 90s.
The program for the second Donington run in 1994.
Simon Crafar (Rumi Honda RC45) – the Kiwi drove his first full season in 1994 for the team of the first Superbike World Champion in history, Fred Merkel. He did very respectably in the Italian “semi-works team” and achieved his sixth top 6 result in the penultimate round of the World Championship(© WorldSBK).

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.

Scott Russell (Kawasaki ZXR-750) – after his retirement in the 2nd race of Mugello with a double victory in Donington the title fight against Foggy and Slight kept open (© WorldSBK).

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.

Photographed by us 26 years later at the beginning of the WorldSBK season in Phillip Island – shortly before the final outbreak of the pandemic, it was the last event at the beginning of the first Corona year 2020. In the background of one of the most beautiful routes in the world, the sea.
The program for the season finale, the “Final Showdown”.

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.

Aaron Slight (Honda RVF 750 RC45) in Phillip Island, meanwhile World Championship leader and at the end of the season in Australia as the best Honda driver with World Championship rank 3 (© WorldSBK).
The coast just below the racetrack with Bass Strait – a few hundred miles away is Tasmania.

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.

Carl Fogarty (Ducati 916 R) – the man, whom his compatriots would soon call “King Carl”, had won his first world title in 1994 after a narrow defeat in the previous year (© WorldSBK).

Rank 41 to 64

WSBK manufacturer Championship 1994

Part 15: http://www.motoracers.eu/wsbk-history-part-15/?lang=en