This section is dedicated to the "entertainers". For me the star of 2000 was Nori Haga, a man who knows no fear!
41 NORIYUKI HAGA - Yamaha R7
Nori Haga knows no half-measures. He rides every lap like a last lap. He celebrates every podium finish like a race win and every race win like a world championship. It's this excess which has been rapidly endearing Haga to WSB fans. He has been nicknamed 'the Haga lout' for his antics on and off track. Nori can hardly speak a word of English, but is reputed to have the curry'n'lager-demolishing capacity of a couple of coachloads of Essex boys&girls on an 18-30 holiday. On track he doesn't so much take corners as vandalise them, defacing the tarmac with rubber graffiti, which says, unmistakably, "Nori-chan woz 'ere" (Haga prefers '-chan', meaning 'the lad', to the more formal '-san').
Nori is, without doubt, a prodigious talent. He came to WSB as a winner - a double winner at his first WSB round, to be exact. Like Chili, Haga's popularity has been through wild riding and often hilarious over-enthusiasm. Like Chili, Haga's visits to the gravel-trap have been as frequent as those to the podium. Finishing third last season with points deducted for alleged illegal substances, he was the only real threat to Mr Edwards (once Foggy was out). He has now moved to GP racing along with his Yamaha team and will be a loss felt by many.
Valentino Rossi, the "new boy" of the 500 class who finished 2nd at the end of the season. A cert for the 2001 championship.
Chris "Stalker" Walker, should of been this year's BSB champion, but engine failure at the last round stole the crown from him. Now moved to Grand Prix, riding for Shell Advance (Good chance of encouraging more than 18'000 to the UK round at Donnington this time!).
Neil Hodgson, current BSB champion, and is about to join the world scene. A class act who is grown in stature and confidence (and a great deal of aggression) during last year.
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