Billy Mackenzie

"When I had my crash at Hawkstone, Billy stopped and put his bike in front of me to protect me during that race. I couldn't believe it. We had some serious battles up to that point and there had been a bit of bitching - we'd been team-mates and battling for titles together but weren't friends as such. It was a great gesture and I'll always respect him for that. I think he's misunderstood."

i point to Crockard - it was the year of foot and ■ ■■ mouth disease and I should've won but mentally /•■■ I wasn't strong enough. I'd beaten myself before I'd even got to that last race. Trevor was as Trevor is - 100 per cent - but we couldn't get that new chassis going forward and he felt he was beating his head against the wall so that was the end of that."

He then jumped to Mike Church's Kawasaki team for 2003 and although he didn't really get right in the sharp end of things at the GPs he was always a threat at home but still no British championship to his name for all his talents. Next up was a stint back in the small bike class with rTt Honda in 2004 as the introduction of the four-strokes appealed to Carl's smooth riding talents.

"The RTT Honda team was enjoyable while it lasted. Unlike the other teams everything was close to home - the main workshop and my mechanic were just around the corner and I enjoyed not having to travel so much. I hate travelling with a passion. I had small problems with injuries again but for a new team fresh out of the box it went okay.

"Of course, there were issues throughout the year as the team developed and »

Carl won back-to-back British titles for Champ KTM but the factory were more interested in top honours in GPs with it and passed him back again. The crowd were so loud it was unbelievable. I had a job to hear my bike - they were going mental, hanging over the fence and literally screaming!"

That was a key turning point and Carl was on his way. He got another two podium finishes that year and he and everyone else had high expectations for the following season. But it just never really happened.

"I went into the winter confident. We did the Sheffield supercross and Jeremy McGrath was racing out of our truck. I was sat there with him which was cool - I probably never said a word to him though! Anyway, later on I crashed in the final and damaged my shoulder. I carried on riding over the winter and after the first GP in France I got second overall and started to think 'this is it, I can do this, I have a chance here'.

"The second GP was in Italy, I went down on the same shoulder in the first turn and that's when they told me I had previously partly dislocated my shoulder and cracked my socket. I had to miss the next few races and I was totally and utterly devastated."

It was a swing of momentum back the other way for Nunny and he then struggled with niggling injuries that would affect his preparations and ultimately his performance. Of course, there were highlights over the next two years while he was with Yamaha and Steve Dixon - most notably when he smoked everyone with a 1-1 overall victory at the French GP in 2000. Nonetheless, Carl felt the need for a fresh impetus once again and this time decided that a change of class would also help so he took an offer from Trevor Avery with factory support from Husqvarna.

"I felt the time was right to go up, people were telling me my style would be better suited so I considered it. The bike was phenomenal, no doubt about it - it was the most perfect 250 two-stroke motor you could ever want. We tried our hardest with the chassis to bring it up to speed with the motor but it was dated and we just couldn't get it to turn and that made it difficult with the suspension. Husqvarna were so supportive and made us some seriously special parts but we just couldn't get it quite right.

"The first year with Husqvarna went really well on the British scene but I struggled to settle into GPs. I was a little star struck. I was in with Pichon, Beirer and Everts - that was difficult and I couldn't make that transition quick enough. I lost the British championship that year by one ràtk


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