From the Blog

Thank you Mr Sofuoglu

Photo courtesy roadracingworld.

News through this morning that five-time World Supersports champion, Kenan Sofuoglu has announced his retirement, effective after this weekend’s WSBK round at Imola in Italy. Sofuoglu, or “Superglue” as he is affectionately nicknamed, is the most decorated rider in the WSBK paddock having won the 600 title 5 times as already mentioned. No other competitor in any class of WSBK racing comes even close to his record.

At 34 years old, Kenan is also the most successful Turkish sports star in any sport and he commands a cult following in his native land that is worthy of any superstar. Announcing his retirement today he said,

“As the President wishes I am going to retire from racing this weekend, and I will celebrate my 20 years of racing anniversary this weekend, In the last couple of months I had a few injures which made my family very afraid, as well as our President.

“I have decided to retire from racing earlier than I originally thought, but I can’t say I am sad because I have already coached and trained a few Turkish riders who will carry the flag for me.

“I started my racing career 20 years ago, with a goal to race in the world championships, and I have won the world title five times; I am very thankful for that. Many people supported me while winning these titles and I want to thank everyone for that.”

The President mentioned is the President of Turkey who takes a close personal interest in Kenan’s racing and who has awarded him a number of awards for his achievements over the years. How many other road racers do you know who can make such a claim?

Kenan’s CV is without peer. World Supersports champion in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016. In between he also has done a year in Superbikes and in Moto2 (neither of which were super successful). He almost certainly missed a 6th title in 2017 when injury (a broken pelvis suffered at Magny Cours) stopped his charge. He returned in 2018 but suffered another serious injury at PI this year and there is no doubt that these setbacks have hastened his decision. In 125 starts in World Supersports, he has been on the podium 85 times and has won 43 races at the top level.

There is no doubt that Kenan’s commitment to his sport has come at a terrible cost, however. I know of no other rider whose personal life has been blighted by the tragedy that has befallen Kenan Sofuoglu. Both of Kenan’s brother died in motorcycle accidents, one in a road accident and one in a racing testing accident (2002 & 2008) Kenan married in 2014 but in 2015 his first-born son suffered a hemorrhage and passed away soon after, aged just four months.

I have had a fair bit to do with Superglue, interviewing him on three separate occasions for MotoPod. On each occasion I found him to be charming, humble and informative. A devout Muslim he adheres pretty strictly to his religion praying the required number of times each day (one interview had to be delayed until this formality was completed).

I am also proud to say that he paid me the ultimate compliment the last time I interviewed him. Noting that he was refusing all interviews that year from the Turkish media because they didn’t really know anything about him or his sport or seem interested in finding out, he said, “That is why I like being interviewed by you, you are the only person who asks me intelligent questions.” Coming from a multiple world champion that meant a great deal.

Kenan will remain in the paddock, devoting himself to coaching but it is an understatement of massive proportions to say that he will be missed. Of all of his peers, nobody fought harder or more tenaciously for every point he scored than Superglue. His passion and commitment will be held up as the standard in Supersports racing for as long as the category lasts.

Farewell, Kenan Sofuoglu. You WILL be missed.