HORST SAIGER RETIRES
A year after suffering serious injuries at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, Horst Saiger has announced his retirement from racing. Whilst many fans will naturally see this as a blow to our sport - and a disappointing end to a successful racing career - we can also give thanks that Horst continues on his road to recovery. Road racing fans can also look forward to seeing more of the popular Austrian rider in-and-around the paddock as Horst plans the next chapter of his life – one that promises to continue his love affair with the sport.
Horst’s decision to call it a day was perhaps the toughest he’s ever made, despite the fact that continuing would mean overcoming a new set of physical limitations and, for now, at least, some significant pain. Instead, Horst has decided to take on the pain that comes with stepping away the sport he loves – if just as a competitor. Nethertheless, the Austrian ace feels it’s the right decision, even if that decision has come earlier than anticipated:
‘A week ago, I rode at the Red Bull Ring, exactly one year after I suffered a huge crash at the same track. I felt much better than I had a month earlier at Brno, but it also made me realize that I cannot ride to the level that would allow me to return to racing. My left leg and arm still need more time before they will be able to function fully again. I suffered a lot of pain in my arm when I was braking and steering the bike.
‘Because of these physical limitations I believe it is time for me to stop racing. I am 50 now and my family deserve my attention - something I could not provide while I was racing. It’s still a tough decision to make and there has been many tears as I recall all the great times I have enjoyed competing around the world. I feel completely lost when I think about that part of my life being at an end now.’
That part of Horst’s life stretches back further than 2013 - the year he made his TT debut. Indeed, the road racing world already knew plenty about Horst Saiger before he made his way to the Isle of Man TT, having taken numerous top five finishes at Macau and boasting 12 appearances in the World Superbike Championship. He was naturally expected to make an impact and he did just that - cracking the top ten on two occasions, picking up the Privateer’s Trophy in 2017, and twice visiting the podium at the Classic TT.
“I have found it very easy to fall in love with road racing”- HORST SAIGER
Whilst a fine road racer of international repute, Horst has also made positive impact away from the track. A legion of his fellow countrymen is today a vibrant addition to the spectating ranks at many events, and Horst’s own group tours have helped bring a new level of popularity for the sport of road racing in continental Europe. For those fans, it would be impossible not to see and understand Horst’s own passion for the sport and the TT, in particular:
‘I have found it very easy to fall in love with road racing. It’s very difficult to stop - even though I have lost friends to the sport down the years. The TT is like no other race in the world and it will always be the best experience of my racing life. Starting first on the road as number one and being the first rider down Bray Hill is a feeling I cannot put into words.’
Whilst moving on is painful, Horst remains grateful for all the sport has given him – not least gifting him the opportunity to meet is wife, Tamara, whom he describes as ‘the love of my life.’ But whilst he now steps away from competitive racing, Horst is not leaving motorcycling and is already planning ahead:
‘I will continue to instruct at the Yamaha Riding Academy and I will continue to organise trips for fans. I will also continue my work with my principal sponsor, Hostettler AG. They have stood by me after my crash for which I’m very grateful. I have made so many friends in motorcycle racing. It has been a great ride so far, but now I am looking forward to a new future with my family.’