#ThanksFred – Voice of British motorcycle racing Fred Clarke retires from the commentary box

#ThanksFred – Voice of British motorcycle racing Fred Clarke retires from the commentary box

02 December 2021

Fred Clarke is fondly regarded as the ‘Voice of British motorcycle racing', following six decades of involvement in the sport but, having enjoyed a distinguished career with 56 of those years in the commentary box, he has decided to officially announce his retirement.

Fred first got involved in the sport in 1960, working within the paddocks helping riders before becoming the MCN reporter in 1966, a role he fulfilled for three years. In 1969 however, he turned his attention to circuit commentary and never looked back!

Fred’s voice is synonymous with the trackside soundtrack at Bennetts British Superbike Championship events. He has dedicated his career to commentating on the series, bringing fans insight, interviews and lap-by-lap commentary, all of which delivered with passion and unwavering enthusiasm.

In his own words, Fred wished to share the news with the Bennetts British Superbike Championship community:

“There is no easy way to say this, but following a lengthy period of soul searching and contemplation, it is, with sadness, that I inform you of my decision to retire from the BSB Commentary Box. My ‘shift’ has now come to an end, and I will not be returning in 2022.

“My whole life has centred around motorcycle racing. From standing trackside at Silverstone in the 1950s, to becoming formally involved in the Paddock from 1960 onwards, and then by accident, moving into commentary some 56 years ago.

“Highlights include commentating at 43 consecutive British GPs, held at Silverstone and Donington Park (1977 – 2019 inclusive). Every World Superbike meeting held in UK, and even the hugely popular Trans-Atlantic Match Races, which began in 1971, plus being Series Commentator at BSB & it’s predecessor, since the dawn of time!

“I’ve enjoyed a wonderful life in the world of motorsport, which as well as motorcycles, has also included karts, cars, rallys and truck racing.

“Alas, time waits for no man. I am currently 77 years of age, and feel that now is the time to hang up the ‘mic, so that for my remaining years I can re-direct my undivided attention to the other love of my life. My wife Sandra, who for the 51 years that we have been married, has without complaint played ‘second fiddle’ to my world of motorcycle racing.

“Yes, I will certainly miss all that I’ve known and loved throughout my 60 years in racing, not least the countless wonderful people I’ve met, including the many marvellous fans who have been ultra-generous to me with their flattering accolades. 

“There are far too many people for me to thank individually, with but the following exceptions;

“Special thanks go to my lifelong friend Bruce Cox, who back in the 60s was responsible for setting me on a path that unwittingly was to lead to the world of commentating.

“I also thank BSB Series and Race Director Stuart Higgs, for not ‘interfering’ and simply allowing me to do the job….’my way’.

“Thanks go to my assistant of countless years, the now retired, Geoff ‘Baldrick’ Judges.

“Equally, my thanks and gratitude go to Paul Bird, for his friendship, as well as allowing me unrestricted access to the PBM Team hospitality over many years.

“But my biggest debt of gratitude goes to my commentating partner for the past 21 years, my good friend, Larry ‘Scoop’ Carter, who’s professionalism, knowledge and ability are second to none. I could not have asked for anyone better to work alongside.

“May I also offer my heartfelt thanks to those who responded on Facebook with such touching messages of congratulations upon my receiving the ‘BSB 25 year Outstanding Contribution Award’. I was staggered and flattered by both the content and sheer volume.

“This latest Award sits proudly alongside the ‘Special Achievement Award’ given to me by the David Jefferies Foundation in 2009, and the ‘MCN Dave Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award’ presented to me in 2011 -  all tangible reminders of my time spent in the Commentary Box.

“Finally, I hope you’ve enjoyed the ’Fred and Scoop Show’ over the years, as well as the commentaries. I’ve had a blast, and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

“But for me, the ‘Show’ is now over, and it only remains to say: ‘From myself, Fred Clarke, it’s goodbye my friends and thank you so much for listening.’”

#ThanksFred from Stuart Higgs and the entire Bennetts British Superbike Championship team.