Classic Racer

RAINEY’S RETURN #2

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Last issue we told you that three-time 500cc world champion

Wayne Rainey would be riding his 1992 title-winning Yamaha YZR500 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and he’s now going to be joined by some old friends…

The weekend after you receive this issue of Classic Racer, Wayne will be joined by former team boss and fellow three-time 500cc champ Kenny Roberts at Goodwood (June 23-26) as well as by Wayne’s two fiercest rivals – Kevin Schwantz and Mick Doohan.

This will represent a real oneoff event where these rivals will ride together for the first time in almost three decades.

Schwantz – who was 500cc champ in 1993, the year Wayne was tragically paralysed in a race crash – had perhaps the closest rivalry with Rainey. He said: “Riding a 500cc Grand Prix bike alongside Wayne Rainey is something that has really underpinne­d my whole life. To be able to have that experience again – it being so long since Wayne has been on his race bike – for me, is going to be unbelievab­le.”

Doohan – who ran Wayne close in 1991 and 1992 before his own five titles, agrees: “He and I had a great rivalry so to be able to ride with him at the Festival of Speed is sensationa­l and it will be a real spectacle to see him back on a bike.”

Wayne was 500cc champion in 1990/91/92. The bike Rainey will ride is one of the 1992 title-winning Yamaha YZR500S, suitably converted with hand controls.

King Kenny Roberts was instrument­al in Wayne’s career and he said: “I just had to be at Goodwood to witness this amazing occasion alongside Wayne’s wife and son, Shae and Rex. Great credit has to go to Yamaha and Lin Jarvis in particular for making this project fly and all the engineers back in Japan who have got the bike running and adapted for Wayne to ride.” We hope to report on this after the event. www.goodwood.com/ motorsport/festival-of-speed/

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