Wayne Rainey to ride 500cc Yamaha for first time since career-ending crash

Motorcycle News

Wayne Rainey will ride up the hillclimb at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed on an adapted Yamaha YZR500 — the first racing bike he had ridden for 29 years


Rainey, here in 1991, has not ridden a racing bike since his 1993 Misano crash


Wayne Rainey will ride a racing bike for the first time in 29 years this summer, when he is reunited with his 1992 championship-winning Yamaha YZR500.

The three-time world champion will ride up the hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, using adapted handlebar controls.

Rainey’s career was ended in 1993 after a crash at the Italian Grand Prix that left him paralysed from the chest down.

The thought of him once again riding a racing bike was described as “truly amazing” by Yamaha Racing’s managing director Lin Jarvis, who added that he never imagine it would be possible.

One of racing’s all-time greats, Rainey returned to riding on an adapted Yamaha R1 street bike in 2019 at the Sound of Engine festival in Japan.

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Yamaha has now reconfigured his YZR500, so he is able to ride it 30 years after his final title victory.

“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,”
said Rainey. “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 [Goodwood owner] 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.”

Rainey was leading the world championship with three races to go when he crashed at Misano, leaving the path clear for rival Kevin Schwantz to take the title.

He returned to the paddock as the team manager of the Marlboro Yamaha Team before retiring in 1998.

“I am absolutely delighted that Wayne and his family are able to join us at this year’s Festival of Speed and that we will see him take to the Hill on the bike with which he won his last World Championship 30 years ago,” said the Duke of Richmond. “Every year the Festival showcases spectacular stories from the world of motorsport, and we are privileged that Wayne is sharing his with us this summer.”

The Festival of Speed takes place on June 23-26.