AR­CHIVE

The majesty of Wayne Rainey.

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS - Words: Ber­tie Sim­monds Photo: don mor­ley

Wayne rainey is a leg­end. In a time of greats he was the great­est. he dom­i­nated 500cc GP rac­ing for years al­most from his first race in 1988 on a Yamaha YZR500 through to his ca­reer-end­ing crash at Misano in 1993 where he was left paral­ysed from the chest down. In be­tween was a fierce ri­valry with coun­try­man Kevin sch­wantz and the abil­ity to take three world ti­tles against not only sch­wantz, but rid­ers such as Ed­die Law­son, Wayne Gard­ner, Mick doohan, John Kocin­ski, Kevin Magee and our own Niall Mackenzie. this shot shows Wayne at spa, in Bel­gium. he says: “In 1990 in spa you would go from the rac­ing part of the track back onto the public road and it was rain­ing so hard that the dips in the road from made from heavy trucks would be wet and I would go across them with the bike go­ing ‘whaaa-whaaa-whaaa’ hy­droplan­ing – you’d be danc­ing across the wa­ter in sixth gear at 170mph. “It was per­fect. some­times you and the bike would have such con­fi­dence and it would al­most be scary. You could maybe lose the bike at any time: but I looked for­ward to that part of ev­ery lap at spa that year.” Af­ter a shaky start in the class in 1988, Wayne won at don­ing­ton Park that year. he says: “I knew that was the only place to be – on top. I guess it was still good for me to get thirds or sec­onds in my rookie sea­son, but tak­ing a win meant more later in my ca­reer. When I dom­i­nated rac­ing, not win­ning was bad. “If there was a chink in my ar­mour it was that – es­pe­cially against Kevin. so, if I could change one thing it would be to ac­cept be­ing beaten.” things changed af­ter Wayne’s first world ti­tle in 1990. he says: “Af­ter that ti­tle there was a ma­tu­rity that came with it. I didn’t need to fo­cus on Kevin, nor he fo­cus on me. Ev­ery­one out there knew I was go­ing to be up there come race day – wher­ever I qual­i­fied. Know­ing that made me feel good, I en­joyed the battle but lining up for the race was what I loved to do.”

Wayne Rainey World 500cc champ:1990-1992.

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