Eu­gene Laverty


A tri­als rider that does 330km/h is a pretty rare thing! The man we are talk­ing about is Eu­gene Laverty and it is as a cir­cuit racer that he rou­tinely achieves these sort of speeds on his way to be­com­ing the run­ner up in the World Su­per­bike 2013 in the fi­nal round at Philip Is­land in Aus­tralia. This ex­cel­lent form car­ried over to the open­ing round of the 2014 World Cham­pi­onship rid­ing the fac­tory Suzuki 1000 GSX-R. Eu­gene is also pretty good on a tri­als bike, a sport that he prac­tices as of­ten as he can.

“Hello this is Pas­cal Cou­turier, I have a Shoei rider that rides in World Su­per­bikes com­ing for a spot of prac­tice at my place this weekend, are you in­ter­ested in com­ing down?” A few days later we found our­selves in the mod­ern sur­round­ings of Shoei Europe based in Vu­laines (77), the head­quar­ters of this fa­mous Ja­panese hel­met man­u­fac­turer in Europe that has been man­aged since 2008 by our friend Pas­cal Cou­turier.

This is a name that may not mean too much to our younger read­ers but should bring back some good mem­o­ries to their par­ents: he was amongst the best of the French rid­ers dur­ing the golden age at the end of the 1980’s; he was also four times Ja­panese Cham­pion.

His best re­sults were as a mem­ber of the French Trial des Na­tions team which won the event four times when they were cer­tainly the dom­i­nant force on the planet at the time! Now in his fifties he has cho­sen the area of Ne­mours to main­tain his youth­ful physique by rid­ing as of­ten as he can. It is this and his un­lim­ited enthusiasm for all forms of mo­tor­cy­cle com­pe­ti­tion that has to­day taken him to the post of Di­rec­tor of Mar­ket­ing and Re­la­tions with all the con­tracted Shoei rid­ers. In the show­room flooded with all the lat­est prod­ucts, a Rep­sol clad man­nequin that looked like one of the fastest of all the amaz­ing rid­ers that wears a Shoei whilst rid­ing in Moto GP, a cer­tain Marc Mar­quez, I think... Also there in the flesh was a young­ster who also knows a thing or two about the tight end of the throt­tle ca­ble, the most fa­mous of the Laverty fam­ily: Eu­gene!

A fa­mous fam­ily name in the crazy world of North­ern Ir­ish road rac­ing which is per­haps the purest and most spec­tac­u­lar form of rac­ing in the world along with the Isle of Man TT races. Mrs Laverty gave birth to three fine sons who were to be­come as se­ri­ously mo­tor­cy­cle ad­dicted as their fa­ther: the el­dest John ended his ca­reer in the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship to spend more time with his fam­ily and man­age his younger brother Michael who is com­pet­ing in Moto GP and the youngest, Eu­gene, the ‘babe’ of the fam­ily who we are meet­ing but nonethe­less, one of the three hot favourites to lift the Su­per­bike ti­tle! You can eas­ily guess the sub­ject around the fam­ily din­ner ta­ble...

Be­fore we talk of tri­als I will give you a short in­tro­duc­tion of the evo­lu­tion of a top rider: Af­ter sev­eral sea­sons of na­tional com­pe­ti­tion on 125cc and 250cc ma­chines he moved on to a de­but sea­son in the World Cham­pi­onships in the Su­pers­port (600cc) class dur­ing 2008, he fin­ished run­ner up in both 2009 and 2010, he moved up into the big time of the Su­per­bike (1000cc) class rid­ing the fac­tory Aprilia RSV4. He fin­ished a close sec­ond to Tom Sykes which also in­cluded five DNF’s as a re­sult of tech­ni­cal prob­lems dur­ing the first half of the sea­son. De­spite a stel­lar end of sea­son per­for­mance he was obliged to leave the team as they pre­ferred the Ital­ian rider, Marco Me­landri.

At the open­ing round of the 2014 sea­son in Aus­tralia and in his first com­pet­i­tive out­ing on the fac­tory Suzuki he won the first race de­spite only qual­i­fy­ing in 7th place and was leading the sec­ond race when his en­gine ex­ploded! His ri­vals could only thank their lucky stars for this un­for­tu­nate fail­ure... If not he would have had a hand­some lead in the cham­pi­onship!

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