He entered the jungle as Carl Fogarty, a superbike legend but probably virtually unknown to millions of reality TV viewers.
Three weeks and a host of Bushtucker Trials later, he emerged from I’m a Celebrity victorious as Foggy, King of the Jungle and with an army of new fans who loved his no-nonsense, good-humoured approach to life in the jungle.
Along the way Foggy – a Bikesure ambassador for the past two years – enjoyed a bromance with former footballer and king of banter Jimmy Bullard (the pair were nicknamed Joggy), drank deer blood in the world’s grimmest game of spin the bottle, and was dubbed Tarzan of the jungle by campmates.
And for those who doubt the challenges of jungle life and sniffily dismiss reality TV, Foggy – a man who has won four Superbike world titles don’t forget – summed up the intensity of the competition ahead of the show’s final on Sunday: “If I was to be crowned King of the Jungle it would just be one of the most incredible, if not the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my whole life.” Blimey.
“When I used to race I felt a big responsibility to win for the public, so for the public to put me in this position and to get on top of the podium one more time after 15 years of not being there would be the best thing.
“It’s been an experience I’ll never forget – one of the greatest things I’ve ever done in my life.”
For three weeks Foggy shrugged off all that the jungle could throw at him, including bugs, snakes and boulders, but the final Bushtucker Trial left the racing legend shaking as he gobbled down an ostrich anus (“a bit porky”), baked tarantula, live cockroaches, a glass full of live mealworms and a camel penis to earn him and his fellow finalists, former X Factor contestant Jake Quickenden and TV presenter Mel Sykes, a last supper in the jungle.
On being named King of the Jungle, Foggy collapsed to the floor and shed a tear before receiving his crown from last year’s winner, Westlife singer Kian Egan.
“Someone’s playing a joke on me, it’s a dream,” he said.
It wasn’t, and Foggy is now not only King of the Superbikes, he’s King of the Jungle too!
What the campmates said:
Jimmy Bullard: “A true gent, strong, strong minded, soft hearted, just a great character and a good friend.”
Michael Buerk: “He’s brave, caring, bluff, blunt, northern, I’m so fond of Foggy because he’s just a real man.”
Jake Quickenden: “He’s Crocodile Dundee, he’s an absolute legend. Couldn’t have asked for a nicer guy to win.”
Kendra Wilkinson: “The strongest one out there by far.”
Nadia Forde: “He’s Tarzan, he’s taken to the jungle like a duck to water.”
Vicki Michelle: “He’s his own person, he just got on with things, really hard working in the camp, never moaned about it, just got on with it.”
Tinchy Stryder: “A real gentlemen, laid back and helps out without being asked for help, which is priceless.”
What we say:
As a blunt northerner, we weren’t entirely sure how Foggy would deal with being surrounded by a gaggle of needy, pampered celebrities for up to three weeks.
The neediest of all, TOWIE’s Gemma Collins, wimped out after only a couple of days and, as Foggy said himself, the rest turned out to be low on airs and graces, which no doubt helped our self-confessed “not a people person”.
Foggy’s bromance with best-mate-in-the-camp Jimmy Bullard helped him settle in – although when Jimmy was surprisingly voted out first there were genuine tears – and thereafter his strength, success in the trials and calm, straight-forward personality saw him become a firm favourite with his campmates and, ultimately, the public.
Well done Foggy, a true ambassador!