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The future for Kenan Sofuoglu | COLUMNS | GASSIT GARAGE

Planning for the future. So what’s in store for a bloke who doesn’t want to quit?

For some riders, retirement, especially due to injury, leaves them at a loose end for some time. Some stay involved in racing in some way.

Even though Kenan Sofuoglu is sufficiently well off to not need to work again, he already has a job that some would say is full-time – mentor and chief trainer for a raft of young Turkish riders. That will continue.

“ I think I am lucky that I have young riders to work with, and I can ride with them on track,” Kenan says.

“Maybe, privately, I can race with them, which is maybe not so bad. It is very nice to be around them to see them fighting and winning their championships.

“I have a rider for Superbike maybe the next 10 years. If Toprak [Razgatlioglu] is okay, maybe he can race the next 10 years on a Superbike.

“I have riders for the MotoGP paddock; the twins which are just 14 years old. They could have around a 20-year racing career in which I could support them, so I can find a very good opportunity for their careers too.

“I am very lucky because I have a few very talented riders which I will continue supporting.

“There are more opportunities in Turkey. I am planning to arrange a race in Turkey in 2019.

“Back to world championship racing at Istanbul is another goal I have…

“The Istanbul race idea will not be easy but I will work on it. I will try to contact the government, track owner, Dorna – I think
there is a possibility.”

Very few, if any, riders have ever gone into politics after they have stopped racing, but that has been more than a pipedream for Sofuoglu, who is a personal friend of the Turkish President, Recep Erdogan.

“I got the offer to being a senator in next month’s election in Turkey. A lot of people advised me to be in the election, to try to be senator. But I did not take this offer and the advice.

“I took a decision as a last point from our president. He really wanted me to quit racing and I respect him because we have a really good relationship. People in the Turkish media also keep asking, and I told them that the Turkish president wanted me to quit racing.”

Possibly a government job of some kind, created or existing, to do with promotion of Turkish motorsport is also on the cards?

“If (the president) offered me something, and I accepted, everybody in Turkey speaking about the president could give me a quite big job. I could be the sports advisor of the president, or working in sport for the president.

“Every day people expect something will arrive for me, but at the moment I am not waiting for that. At the moment I have a very good job to have my young riders have a good future.”

Sofuoglu, WSS, British WSBK 2015

Kenan’s successes

WorldSSP Champion in 2007, 2010 (both for Honda), 2012, 2015 and 2016 (for Kawasaki).

In 126 WorldSSP race starts Kenan has…

43 race wins The next best has 16

85 podiums The next best has 44

34 pole positions The next best has 22

101 front row starts The next best has 59

30 fastest laps The next best has 15

2049 championship points The next best has 1475

By Gordon Ritchie

Sofuoglu, WSS, Imola WSBK 2018