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Part 1: Famous Rivalries in Motorcycle Racing

Posted on 19 June 2018

The recent clashes between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez aren’t new in motorcycle racing, and their responses were quite mild compared to those in the past.

Racing is considered the highest form of riding excellence and there are lots of blood-red pride around. Although these pros are sometimes dubbed as aliens, they are very human indeed when their emotions boil to the surface.

Here are the Famous Rivalries in Motorcycle Racing.

Kenny Roberts Sr. and Barry Sheene, 500cc GP, 1978 – 1982

Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts - Courtesy of motorcyclenews.com

Barry Sheene had been the 500cc World GP champion until the arrival the outspoken American, Kenny Roberts.

Both riders disliked of each other for some reason, although there was an undercurrent of mutual respect. Both started sharpshooting each other on live television.

Their bitter rivalry climaxed at the 1979 British GP when Sheene flashed Roberts the two-fingered mark of defiance after passing the latter. It was later determined that Roberts had also “signaled” to Sheene and it was a retaliation. Roberts re-passed Sheene the epic battle began. Roberts got the better of the Englishman to win the race.

Carl Fogarty and Scott Russel, WSB, 1992 – 1994

Carl Fogarty (left) and Scott Russell - Courtesy of www.visordown.com

No other rivalry in the World Superbike Championship could come close to the one between the fiery Carl “Foggy” Fogarty and opinionated Scott “The Screaming Chief” Russell.

The two have fought for the WSB championship on many accounts. Russell won the 1993 title on the Muzzy’s Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7RR, while Fogarty took over in 1994 on the new Ducati 916.

They went on TV and the press to badmouth one another, refused to shake hands on the podium and Fogarty even had a pig named after his rival.

More rivalries will be posted in the next blog...stay tuned!

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