Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wayne Rainey: The way it used to be…

Wayne Rainey Wayne Rainey
Wayne Rainey, three-time 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ...
Wayne Rainey Wayne Rainey Wayne Rainey

For us, here at Faster and Faster, Wayne Rainey is one of our Gods. With three 500cc motorcycle grand prix road racing world championships (1990, 91 and 92) to his credit, Rainey is up there with the best of the best, in the same league as men like Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Gardner, Kevin Schwantz and Mick Doohan. His career-ending crash in 1993, which left him paralyzed from the chest down, was one of the saddest things ever to happen in motorcycle GP racing.

Motorcycle-USA recently carried an exclusive interview with Wayne Rainey, which is a must-read for fans of 500cc GP racing. It provides a tantalizing glimpse of how things used to be back in the 1980s, the one decade we miss most. Here are a few excerpts from Rainey has to say about motorcycle racing and about his Yamaha YZR500:

On motorcycle racing

‘We didn’t have to have our sunglasses on. We didn’t have to have our hats put on sideways, or wear baggy pants. We were just raw bred racers. That’s what we wanted to do. We were only concerned about beating each other – not what we looked like. My whole life was about racing. The easiest part of my job was the actual race. It was everything else – preparing for that race – where all the work was.’

‘We were like warriors out there. We didn’t like to get beat and if somebody was a tenth of a second quicker than the other guys didn’t sleep very well. That’s just the way it was. We all wanted something that only one guy in the end could have – and that was the world championship. If you were second or third, it didn’t matter, it didn’t count. It wasn’t in the vocabulary. It was all about winning.’

On his Yamaha YZR500 GP racebike

‘When I raced bikes, we had 500cc V-Four two-strokes and nothing whatsoever from the computer to help us. The computers we had onboard back then were very crude compared to what they have now. Basically all they did was measure suspension travel and things of that nature. Power wise, the bikes we rode then had 190 horsepower but the powerband was from 9,000 to 12,000rpm. So you had about 3,000rpm that you were riding that beast in.’

‘When you come to a turn and started to accelerate, you’d have a sudden rush of 130 horsepower on a tire contact patch the size of your fist. The only thing keeping you from wheeling over backwards or high-siding is your right wrist – there was nothing else controlling that. It was just the seat of your pants, your brain, and your right wrist and how you dealt with that. They were bad-ass bikes back then and that’s what made those things so exciting and sometimes scary to ride – they could be very scary at times. But that was the excitement of it. That’s what I always looked forward to. Every Grand Prix that I won, I knew that there was nobody in the world that could have ridden that bike better than me at that particular time. It’s not the same anymore.’

For the full interview, please visit Motorcycle-USA

Wayne Rainey Wayne Rainey Wayne Rainey
Wayne Rainey - one of the greatest motorcycle racers ever...
Wayne Rainey Wayne Rainey
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Anonymous said...

That was real Ode Skool

Anonymous said...

It's funny how I always dreamed of having a bike that would "flip over backwards" if you didn't know what you were doing and I thought I was pretty close with my GSX-R 1000 but I don't think of GP bikes as dream bikes I'll never own anymore. It would be nice to have traction control - for riding in the rain, to me I'll be happy when I can back that 1 liter into an asphalt corner and live to tell about it :)

Anonymous said...

I miss him. I wish that he would somehow be on facebook or talk to his fans daily. Let us know how he is doing or if he needs anything. I want to see him...just hangout with him......

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