Randy Mamola

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Randy Mamola
2005 0408 Randy Mamola.jpg
Randy Mamola
Nationality United States American
Born (1959-11-10) November 10, 1959 (age 56)
San Jose, California, U.S.
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Active years 1979 - 1992
First race 1979 250cc Venezuelan Grand Prix
Last race 1992 500cc South African Grand Prix
First win 1980 500cc Belgian Grand Prix
Last win 1987 500cc San Marino Grand Prix
Team(s) Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, Cagiva
Championships 0
Starts Wins Podiums Poles F. laps Points
151 13 57 5 11 1050

Randy Mamola born (1959-11-10) November 10, 1959 (age 56) is an American former professional Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and current television sports commentator.[1][2] He was one of the most charismatic Grand Prix motorcycle racers of his generation, becoming a favorite because of his interaction with race fans both on and off the track, as well as his aggressive, spirited riding style.[2] After his racing career, he became involved in philanthropy, helping to found the Riders for Health charity organization. Over the span of his thirteen-year 500cc world championship road racing career, Mamola accumulated four second-place finishes and ranked in the top ten 11 times, making him one of the most accomplished competitors never to have won a 500cc world championship.[1][2][3] He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.[2]

Motorcycle racing career[edit]

Born in San Jose, California, Mamola grew up interested in a career as a musician, playing in a band at the age of 10.[2] However, when he turned 12 his interests turned to motorcycle racing, idolizing fellow Northern Californian motorcycle racer, Kenny Roberts.[2] He began competing in dirt track racing in Northern California and earned sponsorship from Yamaha when he was 14.[2] Mamola then focused on road racing with coaching from former racer, Ron Grant.[3] He gained his first international exposure in 1977 when Grant took him to compete in the New Zealand Marlboro Series where, Mamola made a positive impression.[3][4]

In 1977, Mamola graduated from high school and began competing professionally in the AMA 250cc road racing championship, finishing as runner up to David Emde in the final standings.[3][5] In his second year, he won the 1978 AMA 250cc road racing title and began drawing similarities to Kenny Roberts, earning the nickname, "Baby Kenny".[3][5] His performance earned him a place on the American team for the 1979 Trans-Atlantic Match Races.[3] The Trans-Atlantic Match Races pitted the best British riders against the top American road racers on 750cc motorcycles in a six-race series in England. As a 250cc rider, Mamola wasn't expected to be a challenger on larger 750cc motorcycles however, he surprised observers by finishing the series as the second highest points scorer behind Mike Baldwin and ahead of former world champion, Barry Sheene.[6]

Mamola entered the 1979 250cc Grand Prix road racing world championships competing on a Yamaha powered Bimota race bike but, after having a difference of opinion with his Italian sponsors, he switched to a Yamaha TZ-250 sponsored by Serge Zago.[3][5][7][8] When Zago's 500cc rider, Mike Baldwin became injured, Mamola took over the team's Suzuki RG 500 at mid-season.[8] Despite competing in only half of the 500cc races, he scored a second place at the Finnish Grand Prix then, led the French Grand Prix for five laps before being passed by Barry Sheene and finishing in second place just ahead of his boyhood idol, Kenny Roberts.[5] He ended his rookie season ranked fourth in the 250cc class and eighth in the 500cc class.[1] His exceptional rookie season earned him a full sponsorship from the Suzuki factory for the 1980 season, filling the position vacated by Barry Sheene who departed to race a privateer Yamaha.[3] Mamola won his first 500cc Grand Prix race at the 1980 Belgian Grand Prix.[1] He won again at the British Grand Prix and ended his second season in an impressive second place in the final standings behind Kenny Roberts.[1] In 1981 he started the season strongly with two victories and two second-place finishes to take the lead in the championship but then, Marco Lucchinelli took command with four victories in the next five races to claim the world championship.[9] Mamola finished in second place once again however, he was only 21-years-old and many observers felt that it was only a matter of time before he would win a world championship.[1][3]

Randy Mamola in Barcelona (2006)

A miserable start to the 1982 season saw Mamola struggling to score points however, he recovered to score two second places and a victory in the last three races to finish sixth in the final championship standings.[1][10] The 1983 season was dominated by Honda's Freddie Spencer and Yamaha's Kenny Roberts.[8] While Spencer had the new Honda NS500 and Roberts had a new YZR500 with a V4 engine, Mamola soldiered on with the once dominant Suzuki RG 500.[8] The RG 500 had begun to show its age as, Suzuki's pursuit of a lightweight and compact machine had led to a myriad of handling problems associated with the flexing of the thin aluminum frame tubing.[8] Spencer and Roberts each won 6 of the season's 12 races as Mamola rode to a respectable third place in the championship standings.[1][8]

When Spencer suffered an injury during the pre-season 1984 Trans-Atlantic Match Races, Honda contracted Mamola to join their racing team.[8] He rode the Honda NS 500 to a second-place finish behind Eddie Lawson at the Spanish Grand Prix in his Honda debut.[8] Despite a late surge that saw him win three of the last five races of the season, Mamola finished second in the championship behind Lawson.[1] It marked the third time in his career that he was runner up in the 500cc world championship.[1]

Mamola had a disappointing season in 1985 when Spencer and Lawson dominated however, he did manage to win one race at the Dutch TT.[1] 1985 was also the year in which Mamola performed one of the most miraculous saves in motorcycle Grand Prix history at the San Marino Grand Prix.[2][3] After his rear tire lost and then suddenly regained traction, Mamola was thrown forward over the handlebars.[3] In an impressive display of strength and perseverance, Mamola firmly gripped the handlebars while both legs hung off the right side of the motorcycle.[3] He held the motorcycle upright while it careened off the track before he was able to swing his left leg back onto the machine and regained control.[3]

Mamola aboard the Cagiva GP500 in 1989

Mamola joined the newly formed Kenny Roberts-Yamaha team in 1986.[3] Riding a YZR-500, he won the Belgian Grand Prix and scored six podium results to finish the season in third place behind Eddie Lawson and Wayne Gardner.[1] Mamola began the 1987 season with a victory at the Japanese Grand Prix but then Gardner went on a streak, winning four of the next five races to take command of the championship.[3] Despite scoring two more victories at the French and San Marino Grands Prix, as well as nine podium results, he ended the season in second place behind Gardner.[1] During the penultimate round at the French Grand Prix, Mamola was lying in second place on the final lap when he performed a stoppie just prior to crossing the finish line.[11] At a time when motorcycle racing was entering an era of increased professionalism with high dollar sponsorships, Mamola's act incensed Roberts who viewed the act as irresponsible.[11] Roberts decided to shake up his team for the 1988 season by replacing Mamola and Baldwin with younger riders, Wayne Rainey and Kevin Magee.[3]

Mamola then joined Cagiva to help them develop their GP500 race bike. He stayed with the Italian team for three years, but lack of funds hampered the team's success. After sitting out the 1991 season, he returned in 1992 for one last year on a privately supported Yamaha.[3] He scored his final podium finish with a third place at the 1992 500cc Hungarian Grand Prix and finished the season ranked 10th in the world championship.[1][3]

Mamola won a total of 13 Grands Prix, and finished second in the championship four times: in 1980, 1981, 1984 and 1987.[1][2] During his Grand Prix career he rode for Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and Cagiva.[1]

Life after racing and charity work[edit]

Mamola piloting the Doubleseater Ducati at Barcelona

After retiring from competition, Mamola remained involved in motorcycle racing by helping Yamaha develop their race bikes by working as a test rider.[2] He later became a television commentator for motorcycle Grand Prix races as well as working as a columnist for several motorcycle magazines.[2]

Mamola began his charity work while he was still racing in 1986 when, he became involved with the global charity program Save the Children.[3] This experience led him to become a co-founder of Riders for Health, an organization that provides motorcycles, ambulances and other four-wheel vehicles used to deliver health care to remote locations in seven countries across Africa.[12][13] The organization also provides training in vehicle maintenance to help insure the delivery of medical assistance.[12] Mamola is the figurehead for the charity at motorsports events across the globe, helping raise money by soliciting donations from MotoGP racers of items such as helmets, gloves and other items to be auctioned off.[3][13] His fund-raising activities also include providing passengers an opportunity to experience a fast lap of a race track aboard a special two-seater Ducati MotoGP bike.[3][13]

Grand Prix career statistics[1][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

(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
1979 250cc Bimota-Adriatica Bimota VEN
5
GER
2
NAT
2
64 4th 0
Zago-Yamaha TZ250 ESP
8
YUG
10
NED
7
BEL
-
SWE
-
FIN
-
GBR
2
CZE
5
FRA
4
500cc Zago-Suzuki RG500 VEN
-
AUT
-
GER
-
NAT
-
ESP
-
YUG
-
NED
13
BEL
DNS
SWE
6
FIN
2
GBR
-
FRA
2
29 8th 0
1980 500cc Heron-Suzuki RG500 NAT
NC
ESP
3
FRA
2
NED
5
BEL
1
FIN
4
GBR
1
GER
5
72 2nd 2
1981 500cc Heron-Suzuki RG500 AUT
1
GER
2
NAT
NC
FRA
2
YUG
1
NED
NC
BEL
3
RSM
4
GBR
3
FIN
2
SWE
13
94 2nd 2
1982 500cc HB-Suzuki RG500 ARG
NC
AUT
7
FRA
-
ESP
-
NAT
-
NED
5
BEL
5
YUG
7
GBR
5
SWE
2
RSM
2
GER
1
65 6th 1
1983 500cc HB-Suzuki RG500 RSA
5
FRA
NC
NAT
2
GER
8
ESP
4
AUT
3
YUG
2
NED
4
BEL
3
GBR
3
SWE
7
RSM
5
89 3rd 0
1984 500cc HRC-Honda NS500 RSA
-
NAT
-
ESP
2
AUT
3
GER
3
FRA
3
YUG
2
NED
1
BEL
2
SWE
NC
RSM
1
111 2nd 3
NSR500 GBR
1
1985 500cc Rothmans-Honda NS500 RSA
5
ESP
NC
GER
8
NAT
4
AUT
4
YUG
NC
NED
1
BEL
NC
FRA
3
GBR
5
SWE
5
RSM
3
72 6th 1
1986 500cc Lucky Strike-Yamaha YZR500 ESP
4
NAT
2
GER
6
AUT
3
YUG
2
NED
2
BEL
1
FRA
2
GBR
5
SWE
8
RSM
3
105 3rd 1
1987 500cc Lucky Strike-Yamaha YZR500 JPN
1
ESP
6
GER
2
NAT
NC
AUT
2
YUG
2
NED
3
FRA
1
GBR
3
SWE
3
CZE
4
RSM
1
POR
2
BRA
3
ARG
2
158 2nd 3
1988 500cc Cagiva GP500 JPN
NC
USA
-
ESP
-
EXP
-
NAT
7
GER
NC
AUT
NC
NED
NC
BEL
3
YUG
4
FRA
6
GBR
11
SWE
10
CZE
NC
BRA
NC
58 12th 0
1989 500cc Cagiva GP500 JPN
16
AUS
NC
USA
NC
ESP
NC
NAT
DNS
GER
12
AUT
NC
YUG
7
NED
11
BEL
23
FRA
11
GBR
-
SWE
-
CZE
11
BRA
11
33 18th 0
1990 500cc Cagiva GP500 JPN
NC
USA
7
ESP
-
NAT
7
GER
9
AUT
10
YUG
NC
NED
18
BEL
NC
FRA
7
GBR
6
SWE
NC
CZE
11
HUN
NC
AUS
-
55 14th 0
1992 500cc Budweiser-Yamaha YZR500 JPN
5
AUS
8
MAL
7
ESP
8
ITA
10
EUR
9
GER
NC
NED
5
HUN
3
FRA
8
GBR
NC
BRA
10
RSA
NC
45 10th 0

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Randy Mamola career statistics at MotoGP.com". motogp.com. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Randy Mamola at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame". motorcyclemuseum.org. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u DeWitt, Norm (2010). Grand Prix Motorcycle Racers: The American Heroes. MBI Publishing Company. p. 203. ISBN 1-61060-045-2. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Riggs, D. Randy (1977). Race Watch. Cycle World. Books.Google.com. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d Ulrich, John (1980). Alone In Europe. Cycle World. Books.Google.com. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "Underdog Yanks Blitz British". Google Books. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "Mamola Second in 250cc Points". Google Books. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Dennis, Noyes; Scott, Michael (1999), Motocourse: 50 Years Of Moto Grand Prix, Hazleton Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-874557-83-7 
  9. ^ "Marco Lucchinelli career statistics at MotoGP.com". motogp.com. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  10. ^ "Parade Lap". Google Books. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  11. ^ a b "Don Morley's Exposure - Paul Ricard French GP". visordown.com. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  12. ^ a b "Riders for Health - What We Do". riders.org. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  13. ^ a b c "Randy Mamola at Riders for Health". riders.org. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 

External links[edit]