It's a boy for speed ace

By TANIA PHILLIPS

RYAN Luca Muggeridge was a little boy in a big hurry, but when your father travels at speeds well in excess of 200km per hour for a living that hardly seems surprising.

Ryan, the first child of Coolangatta-Tweed's World Superbike rider Karl Muggeridge, arrived several weeks earlier than planned ? catching Karl, his Swiss wife Isabelle and his entire family off guard.

He was expected to arrive on March 14 about a week after the second round of the World Superbikes in Melbourne. Instead he came into the world on February 22, at 4.30am in the morning in Zurich, while his dad was in Qatar preparing for the first round of this year's Superbikes.

It is the busiest time of the year for Karl, with Qatar, followed just a week later by the Australian round at Victoria's Phillip Island, leaving no time for a dash home to meet his son.

"Isabelle woke at about 3am in the morning with some pains and she rang the hospital," Karl said.

"So she drove herself to the hospital and about half an hour they were delivering him."

Although early, the proud dad said everything was fine and Karl admits he is getting use to his son surprising him.

"We were told by a doctor in Europe that we were having a girl," he said.

"But when we came home to Coolangatta the doctor did a scan and asked us if we wanted to know the sex. We said we knew it was a girl.

"When he scanned down I was speechless."

Yesterday, on a visit to Cool-angatta to catch-up with his friends and family, Karl finally had time to think about fatherhood.

"I can't wait now to get home to my family ... we're a family now," he said with a broad grin.

"I can't wait to hold him. I tried talking to him on the phone, but he is not much of a conversationalist."

Karl will have two weeks at home before heading with Isabelle and Ryan in their motorhome to Valencia for three days of testing and another week in Misano, Italy.

There is now a six-week break until round three in Valencia and Karl has a bit of work to do, after a disappointing start in Qatar and an accident-riddled round in Melbourne.

The 2004 Supersport champion had worked hard in the winter, except for his six-week trip home to Coolangatta, testing with his Ten Kate Honda team in an attempt to improve on last year's performance.

Just two days after Ryan's birth Karl was looking good in Qatar and was second only to Troy Corser after the early rounds of practice.

He was even faster early in the superpole lap but as it got later the temperature dropped dramatically and he lost grip going into the final couple of corners, sliding out narrowly and missing his first superbike pole.

Mechanical problems put him out in lap seven in Melbourne, but he recovered and was in a strong position before being wiped out by another rider.

He said he was feeling more confident after Melbourne despite the accident.

"It is only early in the season, there's still plenty of time," he said.

The family will be home in November when Ryan will get his first taste of the Tweed.



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