Bad Boy No.3: Juan Garriga

When the fast pace of Grand Prix wasn't enough Juan Garriga turned to the fast pace of drug smuggling, here's the untold story

He won three 250cc Grand Prix races and finished second in the 1988 world championship, was a factory rider in the 500cc class, and has competed in WSB on a semi-factory Ducati. But when his racing career was over, Spaniard Juan Garriga found even more excitement amidst an underground world of drugs and guns.

‘But for circumstances beyond his control, he would have been hard to beat in the championship.’ So said the 1988 edition of Motocourse, referring to Juan Garriga’s 250cc world championship season. The bike racing bible listed him as the fourth best rider in the world that year, and the top 250cc rider on the planet, even though he was beaten into second place in the World Championship by fellow Spaniard Sito Pons.

Garriga was a hard-as-nails, aggressive racer on-track and he looked every bit as tough in the paddock. While he failed to win any races in the 1989 250 season, he was still deemed worthy of a 500cc Grand Prix ride in 1990 and was signed by Ducados Yamaha to ride a YZR500 in the premier class, finishing a credible sixth place overall in the championship in what was his rookie year.

Garriga went on to finish seventh in the world in 1991 and ’92 and enjoyed a career-best result of third at the British Grand Prix in what was his third and final year in the top class.

In 1993 he moved to World Superbikes riding a semi-factory Team Grottini Ducati 888 and scored a promising 5th place in the opening round at Brands Hatch. Despite only contesting a further three rounds before parting company with his team, he scored highly enough in those outings to finish 12th overall in the world championship standings.