Chrissy Rouse, who passed away on Thursday after an incident in the third British Superbike Championship race at Donington Park last Sunday, was talented in so many different ways and it’s no cliché to say he was one of the most popular riders in the paddock.
A former National Superstock Champion, Rouse’s achievements on track are plentiful but he was a lot more than a motorbike racer, being highly skilled off it, both in academia and business. Intelligent, hard-working, charming and innovative, the Newcastle rider gave 100% commitment and dedication to every aspect of his 26 years.
Like many before him, the ever-smiling Rouse started racing at a young age, riding a Malaguti 50 at the age of seven before moving onto motocross and then to circuit racing in 2008, firstly in the FAB Racing Series and then the Aprilia Superteen Championship, which he won in his second year.
2011 saw him spend a year riding for multiple British Champion Steve Patrickson in the 125cc British Championship, taking a best finish of sixth at Knockhill and a year later he finished fourth in the Triumph Triple Challenge taking a win and seven podiums.
However, a year later, he dominated the series taking ten wins and four more podium finishes to win by 50 points. Three years then followed in the National Superstock 600cc Championship, his best finish coming in 2015 when he finished sixth overall on the Haribo Starmix Triumph.
The next six years were spent in the highly competitive National Superstock Championship where he soon established himself as a regular front runner and fierce competitor. Riding for Mission Racing, Team IMR and Morello Racing, he took three wins and 19 podiums between 2016 and 2019, finishing fourth overall in both 2017 and 2019.
The covid season of 2020 looked like it would see him sat on the side-lines but a last-minute deal saw friends, family and loyal sponsors join forces with Crowe Performance to get him back out on track and he went on to take two wins and seven podiums, clinching the championship at the final round for, arguably, his finest career moment.
Another year in the Superstock class followed in 2021, taking another win and five podiums in total for Stauff Connect Kawasaki, but Rouse had always made it clear he wanted to make the move into the premier Superbike class and his first opportunity came in 2018 when Martin Halsall ran him at a handful of meetings on the Movuno Suzuki, a strong tenth place at Thruxton his best result.
He had to wait another four years to join the series on a full-time basis and had impressed many with his performances on the Crowe Performance BMW this season, tenth place his best result at Donington Park in May.
Away from the track, Rouse sailed through his school years, passing his GCSE and A-Level exams with flying colours before graduating from university with a degree in Mathematics upon where he commenced working as a university lecturer. A nod to his scientific background could be seen on the front number plate on this year’s BMW with numerous mathematical formula in the background of the number 69.
Together with close friend Dominic Herbertson, he also created one of the most popular, and successful podcasts within the motorcycle industry, Chasin’ the Racin’. From small acorns grow great trees and in a short space of time, the podcasts saw all the big names in the sport appear and no longer did they have to approach guests to appear, they were asking them!
He was also regular exploring new ways to showcase the sport through his various social media channels whilst also working for Eurosport as an accomplished co-commentator on their World Endurance Championship coverage.
Social media tributes have, understandably, been many and they all follow a similar theme with their comments, articulate, polite, humble, charismatic, genuine and a true gentleman amongst the most popular. A tough rival and someone who had time for anyone are also two of the many attributes he possessed but the last word should go to the tribute paid by his former school, Emmanuel College.
“A person of excellence, who lived with humility and demonstrated remarkable love for others.”