Where are they now? Jean Philippe Ruggia

Elbow-scraping pioneer JP Ruggia disappeared off the racing radar in '98


Elbow-scraping pioneer JP Ruggia disappeared off the racing radar in '98

The year was 1988 and the 250cc GP race at Donington Park was in full swing when suddenly, Yamaha France rider Jean Philippe Ruggia was photographed tearing round a bend with his elbow scraping the ground. This was the first time a rider ever got his elbow down and, despite never winning a championship, 'Elbows' Ruggia made racing history thanks to his lean-it-until-you-can-lean-no-more style. But after racing for MUZ Weber in the 1998 500 GP championship, Ruggia vanished from our screens and racing centrefolds. So where is he now?

In a French seaside town near Paul Ricard circuit called Six-Fours-Les-Plages, actually. "At the end of 1998 I was bound by contract to Bimota so I was forced to turn down an offer from Honda to become their development rider. But then Bimota went bust and it was too late, I'd missed my chance. It was a bad turn of events.

"I don't work these days. I made decent money racing and I've got property scattered around that I look after. I weight train, cycle, jog, ski in winter and do watersports in summer, and I keep myself bike fit with motocross. I've also got a Honda Hornet 900 - the roads round here are great and I prefer nakeds to sportsbikes for riding them. You see a lot of personalised Hornets in France, but I never keep my bikes long enough to modify them. Every year I see what comes out and when I like something, I blag it! Bikes are my passion, it's hard to stop.

"I rode bikes for many different manufacturers in the 250 and 500 GPs: Yamaha, Honda, Aprilia... They contacted me because my riding style got me noticed and the photographers would say, 'I'll be at this corner, please get your elbow down'. But I was too focused on my racing so if it happened, it happened naturally. I couldn't believe the fuss people made. For me, the guy with the best style is the one who wins.

"I went to the final 2004 MotoGP round in Valencia but it's hard to watch other people race. My favourite memory is my first GP race win at Donington during the 1993 250cc championship. But there were also lows like when I lost the '93 championship because my bike kept breaking down at the last rounds. I miss racing and want to get into WSB, but it's hard to find the cash when no opportunities crop up."
Well, if you can't win 'em, might as well style it up...

The year was 1988 and the 250cc GP race at Donington Park was in full swing when suddenly, Yamaha France rider Jean Philippe Ruggia was photographed tearing round a bend with his elbow scraping the ground.

This was the first time a rider ever got his elbow down and, despite never winning a championship, 'Elbows' Ruggia made racing history thanks to his lean-it-until-you-can-lean-no-more style.

But after racing for MUZ Weber in the 1998 500 GP championship, Ruggia vanished from our screens and racing centrefolds.

So where is he now?

In a French seaside town near Paul Ricard circuit called Six-Fours-Les-Plages, actually. "At the end of 1998 I was bound by contract to Bimota so I was forced to turn down an offer from Honda to become their development rider. But then Bimota went bust and it was too late, I'd missed my chance. It was a bad turn of events.

"I don't work these days. I made decent money racing and I've got property scattered around that I look after. I weight train, cycle, jog, ski in winter and do watersports in summer, and I keep myself bike fit with motocross. The roads round here are great and I prefer nakeds to sportsbikes for riding them. You see a lot of personalised Hornets in France, but I never keep my bikes long enough to modify them. Every year I see what comes out and when I like something, I blag it! Bikes are my passion, it's hard to stop.

"I rode bikes for many different manufacturers in the 250 and 500 GPs: Yamaha, Honda, Aprilia...

"They contacted me because my riding style got me noticed and the photographers would say, 'I'll be at this corner, please get your elbow down'. But I was too focused on my racing so if it happened, it happened naturally. I couldn't believe the fuss people made. For me, the guy with the best style is the one who wins.

"I went to the final 2004 MotoGP round in Valencia but it's hard to watch other people race. My favourite memory is my first GP race win at Donington during the 1993 250cc championship. But there were also lows like when I lost the '93 championship because my bike kept breaking down at the last rounds. I miss racing and wanted to get into WSB, but it was hard to find the cash when no opportunities cropped up."

Well, if you can't win 'em, might as well style it up...

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