25 YEARS AGO: Great Moments in History
The moons started to A-line at the start of our tremendous 1999 season.
Late 1998 There was a knock at my front door and there full of smiles stood an 18-year-old Karl Harris
Karl “I have come for a cuppa tea”
I said “No No No, don’t want it, don’t need it, can’t afford it if I did”
Anyone who knew that young idiot Karl, knows within minutes I was laughing that hard tears were streaming down my face
Karl had suffered a terrible 1998 season where he had left the Chapman’s CABB racing with their heads in their hands due to the amount of crash damage Karl had left them with and it just wasn’t something we could sustain either
We the team needed a change of direction! — It had just been announced that there was to be a new championship within the WSB paddock designed to nurture young talent and encourage teams to be a part of the Flamini WSB Circus – The European SuperStock 1000 Championship was born!
We were a successful Suzuki UK Metzeler backed Supersport Team at the time so I decided to give Karl a test at Mallory park on Deano Thomas’s old bike (photo below).
I called my old mate Eddie Roberts on his thoughts to have a look and supply tyres at the test “are you mad – er er OK “- he replied!
At the test we were stud on the pit wall looking at the old stop watches with that classic Days of Thunder look – Karl was on blistering lap record pace!! I said to Eddie is it me or we that are Mad
At Suzuki there was no viable 1000cc bike so we had decided on the GSXR 750 fuel injection – after the plans were implemented Suzuki GB decided not to support us ?? There were a few choice words (for another story) about what they would need to …. Do… with us in the future if they wanted use our image to be able to maximise the exposure of the results we were going to get…
Neil ‘Geezer’ Young and American Joe Proctor.
We realised that we needed to change Karl’s environment so he moved in to live with my Family – great fun another story
Karl created the best eye opener for everyone when he won the first round at Donington Park and so it was wagon train roll and off into Europe.
(Foot note – at the start of the season there were only 3 Suzuki’s and only 4 Metzeler/Pirelli shod bikes on the grid – see later notes)
The European SuperStock 1000 paddock was mega and full of cool teams and riders – The Notman’s, The Jond’s – Nicolas Carlsberg – Michael Bartholomew’s first team and what turned out to be our Moriarty, Oliver Daniel Bulto grandson of the famous Bultaco Motorcycle family on the Dunlop shod factory Aprilia to name a few.
The results came thick and fast but so did the nutz moment like at Monza – for another story
We gain support from Burt Poenson Suzuki Germany whose daughter Katja was also a terrific rider in her own right.
By the time we got to Brands there was a King Carl Foggy and a Prince Karl Harris – it was the first ever Arrow Grid and Karl was on point and we had a new sponsor Martin Sweeney of Heavy Weight Air Express – Carl and Karl did their jobs to the delight of the super fans
At Assen Karl pulled away from the late great David Jefferies at 2 seconds a lap and the TV recorded the first Stand up – one Handed Wheelie a feature on YouTube today.
As we went into the last round at Hockenheim all Karl had to do was finish behind Bulto if Danni actually won – “f*** that” Karl destroyed Danni, he hit the front, broke the lap record and Danni crashed out trying to stay with him – Karl repeated the stand-up wheelie which was immortalised in that great picture which was used by many of our partners in their season promotions
Pirelli – power is nothing without control
NGK – 2000 applications book and Suzuki GB – which said it all in the MCN “SUZUKI GSXR – left the rest standing, Hockenheim 1999 – the rest as they say is history!!!!
(Foot note – last race 10 GSXR’s and half the grid had change tyres even Bulto on the factory Aprilia had change from Dunlop to Pirelli)
1999 European SuperStock Champions and a place in World Supersport for 2000 and Ho yes Suzuki GB liked us again
My Team still carry the successful ethos of developing young riders now with Storm Stacey
I still own Karl’s championship bike, trophies, leathers and team shirt along with all the scrap books – RIP Karlos
There are the stories that are I am told unprintable only shared over beers