Wayne Rainey

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Wayne Rainey
Wayne Rainey at Hockenheim (1989).jpg
Wayne Rainey on the Yamaha YZR500
Nationality United States
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Active years 1984, 1988 - 1993
First race 1984 250cc Nations Grand Prix
Last race 1993 500cc Italian Grand Prix
First win 1988 500cc British Grand Prix
Last win 1993 500cc Czech Republic Grand Prix
Team(s) Yamaha
Championships 500cc - 1990, 1991, 1992
Starts Wins Podiums Poles F. laps Points
95 24 65 16 23 1270.5

Wayne Wesley Rainey (born 23 October 1960 in Downey, California, United States), is a former American Grand Prix motorcycle road racer.[1] During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he won the 500cc World Championship three times and the Daytona 200 once.[2][3] He was characterized by his smooth, calculating riding style.

Racing history[edit]

Rainey began his career racing in the A.M.A. Grand National Championship, a series that encompassed four distinct dirt track disciplines plus road races.[3] In 1981, he finished the Grand National season as the 15th ranked dirt track racer in the country.[4] Following his success in the Novice 250cc roadrace class, Kawasaki hired him to compete in the 1982 AMA Superbike Championship as a teammate to the then defending National Champion Eddie Lawson.[3] The following year, Lawson moved to the Grand Prix circuit and Rainey took over the role of leading rider, earning the 1983 National Championship for Kawasaki.[3]

In 1984, he accepted an offer to ride for the newly formed Kenny Roberts Yamaha squad in the 250cc class of the Grand Prix World Championship.[3] A less than successful season (1 podium and difficulty push-starting the bike) saw him returning home in 1985 to join the Maclean Racing team in U.S. 250 and Formula 1 classes, and then on to the American Honda team from 1986 to 1987 where he raced Superbike and F1.[3] It was during the 1987 Superbike National Championship that his intense rivalry began with Kevin Schwantz as the two battled it out for the title.[3] Rainey won the Championship, but the fierce rivalry between the two competitors was just beginning. So intense was their rivalry that they continued their battle during the 1987 Trans-Atlantic Match Races in which they were supposedly teammates competing against a team of British riders.[3]

Wayne Rainey on a Yamaha YZR500 in 1990

In 1988 Rainey returned to Europe, again joining Team Roberts Yamaha, this time in the premier 500cc division riding the YZR500.[3] His arch-rival Schwantz followed him to Europe, signing to race the 500cc class for Team Suzuki. The two would continue their rivalry on race tracks all across Europe, driving each other to higher levels of competitiveness. In 1988, Rainey and his Team Roberts Yamaha teammate Kevin Magee won the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race in Japan.[5] In the 1989 campaign, Rainey finished second overall. From 1990 to 1992, Rainey hit his stride earning three consecutive 500cc crowns for Yamaha.[2] Rainey was well on his way to his fourth-consecutive title in 1993. He was leading the championship points and leading the GP when he suffered his career-ending crash at the Italian Grand Prix in Misano.[3] He slid into the gravel trap at high speed, breaking his spine against the raked surface designed as a safety feature for car racing. The injury handed the title over to his great rival, Schwantz.[2] Rainey's injuries rendered him permanently paralyzed from the chest down.

After turning to Williams team owner and quadriplegic Frank Williams for advice, Rainey later became the team manager for Marlboro Yamaha for a few years.[3] After the 1995 season, Schwantz retired from the Grand Prix circus, partly due to nagging injuries and partly because losing the one great rival that had fired his competitive intensity made him view his own mortality much more clearly.[6]

Rainey has refused to give up racing despite his disability and now races a hand-controlled Superkart in the World SuperKart series based in Northern California. He lives in Monterey, California in a house which was built overlooking the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit shortly before his career ending accident. The nearby circuit has named a corner in his honor, the Rainey Curve, a medium-speed, acute left-hander that follows the famous Corkscrew. Rainey was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.[3] the FIM named him a Grand Prix "Legend" in 2000.[7] He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007.[8]

In 2003, he was one of the subjects of the motorcycle racing documentary film, Faster.

Grand Prix career statistics [2][edit]

Points system from 1969 to 1987:

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Points 15 12 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1

Points system from 1988 to 1992:

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Points 20 17 15 13 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Points system from 1993 onwards:

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Points 25 20 16 13 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Class Team Machine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Points Rank Wins
1984 250cc Roberts Yamaha TZR250 RSA
NC
NAT
3
ESP
10
AUT
NC
GER
6
FRA
6
YUG
4
NED
12
BEL
NC
GBR
14
SWE
13
RSM
NC
29 8th 0
1988 500cc Lucky Strike Roberts Yamaha YZR500 JPN
6
USA
4
ESP
6
EXP
2
NAT
3
GER
2
AUT
3
NED
7
BEL
5
YUG
3
FRA
5
GBR
1
SWE
5
CZE
3
BRA
6
189 3rd 1
1989 500cc Lucky Strike Roberts Yamaha YZR500 JPN
2
AUS
2
USA
1
ESP
2
NAT
DNS
GER
1
AUT
3
YUG
2
NED
1
BEL
3
FRA
3
GBR
3
SWE
DNF
CZE
3
BRA
3
210.5 2nd 3
1990 500cc Marlboro Roberts Yamaha YZR500 JPN
1
USA
1
ESP
2
NAT
1
GER
2
AUT
2
YUG
1
NED
2
BEL
1
FRA
3
GBR
2
SWE
1
CZE
1
HUN
DNF
AUS
3
255 1st 7
1991 500cc Marlboro Roberts Yamaha YZR500 JPN
3
AUS
1
USA
1
ESP
3
ITA
9
GER
2
AUT
2
EUR
1
NED
2
FRA
1
GBR
2
RSM
1
CZE
1
VDM
3
MAL
DNS
233 1st 6
1992 500cc Marlboro Roberts Yamaha YZR500 JPN
DNF
AUS
2
MAL
2
ESP
2
ITA
DNF
EUR
1
GER
DNF
NED
DNS
HUN
5
FRA
1
GBR
2
BRA
1
RSA
3
140 1st 3
1993 500cc Marlboro Roberts Yamaha YZR500 AUS
2
MAL
1
JPN
1
ESP
2
AUT
3
GER
5
NED
5
EUR
1
RSM
3
GBR
2
CZE
1
ITA
DNF
USA
-
FIM
-
214 2nd 4

Tribute[edit]

Turn nine at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is named the Rainey Curve.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wayne Rainey profile". crash.net. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Wayne Rainey career statistics". motogp.com. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Wayne Rainey at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame
  4. ^ Wood, Bill (August 1983). "Wayne Rainey's road to stardom". American Motorcyclist (Books.Google.com). Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  5. ^ 1988 Suzuka 8 Hours results at Moto Racing Japan
  6. ^ Scott, Michael. (1997). Wayne Rainey: His own story. Newbury Park, CA: Haynes Publications, Inc.
  7. ^ Moto GP Legends at MotoGP.com
  8. ^ Wayne Rainey at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Eddie Lawson
AMA Superbike Champion
1983
Succeeded by
Fred Merkel
Preceded by
Fred Merkel
AMA Superbike Champion
1987
Succeeded by
Bubba Shobert
Preceded by
Eddie Lawson
500cc Motorcycle World Champion
1990–1992
Succeeded by
Kevin Schwantz