Photo: Goodwood Festival of Speed
Today, the Goodwood Festival of Speed announced that Wayne Rainey, three-time 500cc World Champion, is getting back on his championship-winning YZR500 nearly thirty years after the crash that left him paralysed.
If you’re a motorsport fan, whether it’s bikes or cars that tickle your fancy, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is an event that ought to be on your bucket list. Every summer (well, unless there’s a global pandemic going on) legends of motorsport, past and present, meet up at Goodwood and take it in turns to ride (or drive) up the famous hillclimb course on (or in) bikes (or cars) that have either made their mark in the history books, or are in the process of doing just that.
One man that definitely did make his mark was Wayne Rainey. 30 years ago, the bloke was on fire. He won the 1990 500cc World Championship, then he won it again in 1991 and again in 1992. He probably would have won it a fourth time if he hadn’t have crashed during the Italian GP at Misano and seriously injured himself. That’s injured seriously enough never to race a bike again. In that crash in 1993 he broke his spine, which left him permanently paralysed from the chest down.
But despite not racing for the past 29 years, Rainey is still an absolute legend of the sport.
Since his crash in 1993, he’s done a bit of kart racing and had a go on a converted road bike, but he’s not once got back on a race bike. But that’s all about to change this June, at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Yamaha Motor Racing, whom Wayne Raney was racing for back in the early ‘90s, have converted his 30-year-old YZR500 so that it can be ridden using the handlebar controls, alone. And he’s well excited about it. He said…
“I’m incredibly excited to not only be attending my first Goodwood Festival of Speed this summer, but to be riding my 1992 Yamaha YZR500 up the famous hillclimb. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that I just couldn’t pass up. I want to thank the Yamaha Motor Company for preparing my 1992 YZR500 and adapting it for me to ride, MotoAmerica for helping make the entire project fly, and The Duke of Richmond for really making this a reality. I can’t wait to meet the fans who come from all over the world for the Goodwood Festival of Speed.”
And Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing said
“The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an amazing event that is a showcase for two- and four-wheel motorsports legends – both human and mechanical. Wayne Rainey is a true motorcycle racing legend who achieved three 500cc World Titles with Yamaha before his career-ending accident and injury. The thought of Wayne riding the legendary 1992 Factory YZR500 bike that he rode to his final championship victory is something truly amazing that I for one never imagined could be possible. I know it will mean so much to Wayne, and it will be something truly special for all the fans at Goodwood and all around the world. We are proud to be able to support Wayne make his dream come true.”
The Goodwood Festival of Speed will run from the 23rd to the 26th June, and you can get hold of tickets on the Goodwood website. If you’re a fan of any type of motorsport, you’ll absolutely love it, I can almost guarantee it.