Colin Edwards Announces His Retirement: 2014 To Be His Last Season Racing

Colin Edwards has announced that he is to retire from motorcycle racing at the end of the 2014 season. The 40-year-old Texan told a shocked press conference that he had decided to hang up his helmet for good, after finding it increasingly harder to be competitive, and struggling to make the family sacrifices with children growing up.

Edwards seemed uncharacteristically at a loss for words as he made his announcement. The Texan has always been outspoken, and never afraid to speak his mind, yet this announcement was hard. 'I don't even know how to say it, I rehearsed it so many times,' Edwards hesitated. '2014 will be my last year racing motorcycles.' It was a tough decision to make, he said. He has been racing in Europe since 1995, and been away from his family an awful lot. With his kids reaching the age where they are becoming much more active, Edwards hinted that it was getting hard to keep missing big moments in their lives.

The biggest factor was his struggle to be competitive, however. After a difficult year on the Suter-BMW, then a slightly better year on the FTR Kawasaki, Edwards had high hopes for 2014. The return to a Yamaha M1-powered bike meant he would no longer have to fight a lack of horsepower, but Edwards could never really get to grips with the Yamaha M1 chassis. 'Preseason was a little tough, testing was a little tough. I wasn't really getting the results that I wanted, and I realized I had to really change my body, my style. 'Trying to do that was…I was like man I don’t know if I can do this,' he told the press conference.

The Texan had been thinking about retirement for a while - though he laughed off question from a French reporter, who he had told he would keep racing for a while just last week. 'If I'd have told you, you would have told everyone,' he joked. 'My wife hadn't asked me [about retiring] for a couple months, we had talked a little bit about it, and then finally last week she's like 'are you going to retire on Thursday?' and I said 'yes' and she said 'shit, I didn't want to ask!' because…my whole life has been racing motorcycles,' Edwards said.

Asked about the best memories of his career, Edwards immediately pointed to his 2002 World Superbike title, which he clinched in one of the most thrilling races of recent years. The battle came down to the final race at Imola, where he beat Troy Bayliss in dramatic fashion to take the race win and the title. Edwards also highlighted his wins at the Suzuka 8 Hour races in 2000 and 2001.

Colin Edwards started his professional racing career in 1992, racing a 250. For the following two years, Edwards raced for the factory Yamaha team in the AMA Superbike series. In 1995, he switched to World Superbikes with Yamaha, but did not make the impact he hoped. He switched to Honda for 1998 after sitting out most of the 1997 series with injury. Edwards scored his biggest successes with Honda, first on the four-cylinder RC45, then on the V-twin RC51, clinching the title in 2000 and 2002. He switched to MotoGP in 2003, racing the vicious Aprilia RS3 Cube, then jumping ship to ride a Honda in 2004. In 2005, he joined Valentino Rossi at the factory Yamaha squad, having his best season with the factory in 2006, where he came within a corner of winning the Dutch TT at Assen. Edwards remained in the factory team for 2007, before switching to Tech 3 in 2008 to make way for Jorge Lorenzo. Edwards stayed with Tech 3 until the end of 2011. For 2012, he switched to the Forward Racing team, where he has remained ever since.

The loss of Colin Edwards is a double blow for MotoGP. Edwards is one of just three American riders in the Grand Prix paddock, along with Nicky Hayden and Josh Herrin, meaning there will be fewer US riders on the grid next year. Most of all, though, Edwards' personality will be missed. Quick-witted, and with a colorful (if often unprintable) turn of phrase, Colin Edwards was one of the old school of riders who are not afraid to speak their minds. Edwards spoke freely, and without concern for his sponsors or his employers. His openness and lively turn of phrase made him massively popular with fans and press alike, his popularity more than compensating for the fact that he refused to toe the corporate line. 

Edwards will be sorely missed. We can only hope that other young riders will cultivate character and personality over corporate and sponsorship demands. Motorcycle racing is a highly individual sport, where much revolves around the personality of the rider. Without personalities, the popularity of the sport suffers massively.


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I will miss his presence in the paddock- he has been racing as long as I've been watching racing! Regardless, it does seem time to go. It would be great for one last great result before he goes.

"Edwards scored his biggest successes with Honda, first on the four-cylinder RC45, then on the V-twin RC51, eventually clinching the title in 2002"

*cough* he won it in 2000 then again in 2002... *cough*... ;)

That 2002 Imola WSBK win was one for the ages. Colin's two WSBK championships came at the peak of superbike racing's popularity and relevance. And just to survive a dozen years as a MotoGP journeyman is quite an accomplishment. I'll miss that dude, for sure.

We need a feature on classic Colin Edwards quotes!

"Everybody has got it. Traction control, anti-wheelie control, frickin' scratch-your-ass-while-you're-racing control; whatever control it is, there's always some new thing they're coming out with -- Our cornering speeds right now are so just astronomical that if you didn't have traction control, man, you would be in orbit every other frickin' race." -- July 2009, about the use of electronics in MotoGP

"If you're doing MotoGP you get to spend a lot of time at Sepang,"

"I ride a lot better when I'm pissed off, anyways. Always seemed to have. I was like: "Screw it. Chuck it into the gravel or let's see how far we can get up."

"That Turn 1 is still a mother. It doesn't even look like a turn. But honestly, going over that thing fifth gear tapped, it will put a little pucker in your buttocks region occasionally if you did it wrong." -- June 2009, about Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, home of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix

"Hell, Valentino and Lorenzo were like scalded cats. They were gone."

And engage rant mode...
"I think they've done a good job to try and screw everything up after all the changes to the track, to be honest with you. Obviously, when I first started going there on Superbikes, the track was just, whew, ahh, it was amazing. Every little part about that track was just amazing. If you messed up one corner, hell, it'd screw you up for four corners down the road. They've butchered it. I don't know, man. This gets back into politics and all this other stuff why they changed it. Hell, there's a motorcycle track there, and then people move in and start complaining about the noise. Go figure. If you didn't want to live by a motorcycle track, then pack your (stuff) and move on. You get enough people that complain, and next thing you know, they had to change the track for noise control. The track has been there for, hell, I don't know how many decades. Which is just, it's ridiculous why they had to change it. But welcome to socialism." -- June 2009, about his opinion of changes to the circuit at Assen, Netherlands

I live near by the circuit of Assen and I could not say it any better then Colin did!
Man, it's awesome, espacialy in the two stroke era, when the wind blows in our direction, you can hear them change gear, I'm very much in love with that sound......... but for how long it may stay in that way, I don't know, because of all the enviromental rediculous rules, I really hate these rules.

On a somewhat related side note, David, THANK YOU for asking that question about the state of American motorcycle racing during the press conference. Things are pathetic over here right now, and that was a perfectly timed masterstroke to give 69, 2, and 5 the opportunity to call it out in that environment.

appreciate his comments about the need to change riding style and the problem with instinctively reverting back when he gets into a "tense moment" (from Soup).

Have some great memories of Colin's late 2002 season come back, culminating in the titanic fight with Troy. Would like to think he will continue to contribute to the sport (other than running boot camp) as I really like the way he calls it.

Colin is a smart cookie. He realized that motogp has its favorites. It's all about the show. He spent his competitive years at Honda seeking upgrades and the help never happened. His clout as WSBK champion got him nothing with Honda - the Repsol/Movistar riders got all of the support.

Aprilia was not quite ready for Motogp so he wasted a few years there.

I think we all had high hopes for his Yamaha years.. by then he knew that his kit was never up to Rossi's spec and keeping a ride in GP was about testing and development riding- for Rossi/for Michelin and being a loveable character in the show.

Colin extended his career by embracing the character/show.
Dorna has nicely padded his salary each year. Colin is reported pulling $900K/year.

As I said Colin is a smart cookie. He did what Stoner couldn't do.
He got to race and ride the best bikes without the media pressure and the corporate/Factory expectations.

Colin made a lane for himself and spent a good deal of time in Motogp racing on his own terms without anything to prove.

He walks away without nagging injuries, widely loved around the world and has done a few years marketing his Texas Tornado boot camp. He is set for the near term and the long hall.

Bravo tornado

Apparently Brad Pitt didn't like to be kept waiting and Colin was late to the garage where Brad wanted to meet him and Vale. Colin stuck out his hand and said, "sorry, Brad, i was taking a dump..."
Vale wrote that in one of his books - I forgot which one.

Love it.

I have been following Colin Edwards' racing career from the time he came into World Superbikes. Not only was he a fast rider but also a character who brought a lot more to racing than just his ability to ride a motorcycle fast. After coming into MotoGP, Edwards on being questioned about his favourite number mischievously that it was 69, but that was not for his motorcycle. I also remember his welcoming the press to a pre event conference by saying Welcome to the Rossi's old teammates gathering. There is a lot of talk of Americans in motorcycle racing and I think Colin Edwards with Kevin Schwantz were the two American riders who exemplified the idea of American (some may call it a stereotype) best. The decision to call time now is good, otherwise he would have been discarded, especially given the chasm in performance between him and his much younger teammate Aleix Espargaro. Hope we will get to see and hear of Edwards in the future as someone still connected to motorcycle racing in some form.

I loved MM's comment that he was just 2 years old when CE was winning world titles. Colin's reply with a 2 arm gesture and huge grin spoke volumes for his great sense of humour :-)

Colin Edwards. One of my favorite riders on the track as well as off the track. His comments on racing, bikes, what he felt was BS were what made him one of my favorites. Been reading his retorts from him and Fogarty (truly classic what was said by both on some occasions), to saying Nicky Hayden cannot lead a race, that is why he caught back up to him after being passed at Assen, (even though he fell off right before the finish). Hell, he even got Rossi in there making comments about Nicky. (I do not have a link to that, but I stand by my memory of the comments.)

After Edwards started to not get as good results, I started to wonder why the press did not get on him like so many other riders. Then I found out when Qatar went to night racing. Watching that press conference I found out why. Everyone was asked the same line of questions about riding under the lights. Just about everyone said the same thing. Not all that different. Then, Edwards was asked. He visibly looked like he wanted to try to say the same thing as everyone else. But you could FEEL the press leaning in eagerly, like some kids adding peer pressure to another kid, goading him in to doing something. That something was saying the truth, Edwards then said something like, "It's different. I can't lie, it's different." From then on I understood. If the press wanted a quote, wanted to get a real honest and direct answer. Colin Edwards was the man.

I could be wrong, but his words were a BIG part of what makes him great in my book. Being the same age, I feel like a curtain is closing on a part of my own life. Wish him all the best, would love to hear him commentating, but I know that is just a dream.

I've just posted this on the Austin round-up topic, because I missed this article on Edwards' retirement. I feel I should include it in these comments as well. The slightly alternative speech Colin gave on stage after the second practice day. On race day he took a brilliant third place in the pouring rain, a week after breaking his collar bone.

That weekend was not just memorable because of his (so far...) last podium finish:

I've seen Colin come up back in the mid nineties in the Superbike world championship (then officially as Colin Edwards II), seen him win on The RC45 and VTR1000 SP1/2's, riding the brutal Aprilia RS3 Cube and so on. He's always been a great character. Too bad he just missed out on that MotoGP win back in 2006 at Assen, when he outbraked himself in the last corner.
I hope he'll have a great last season and go out on a high!

Colin is one of my favourite character on the circus. Love his riding, his wit, his quips and most of all his attitude.
A great loss for MotoGp but glad we had to enjoy him for a long time (and even before in WSBK)