Three-time 500cc World Motorcycle Champion, Wayne Rainey, will make his first appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 23 to 26 June.
Across the weekend, fans will be able to watch Rainey take to the iconic Goodwood hill climb on the Yamaha YZR500, with which he won the 1992 World Championship 30 years ago.
Rainey will unite with a racing bike for the first time in 29 years, following an accident at the 1993 Italian Grand Prix that left him paralysed from the chest down. Rainey’s exploits at the Festival of Speed will follow his first return to riding in 2019 at the Sound of Engine Festival in Suzuka, Japan.
Yamaha Motor Company has reconfigured the 30-year-old bike so it can be ridden using handlebar controls alone.
“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 [bike] 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.”
Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing Srl, Lin Jarvis, described Rainey as a true motorcycle racing legend. “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,” added Jarvis.
The Duke of Richmond said he is delighted that Rainey and his family will be at this year’s Festival of Speed. “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.”
From 82 500cc grand prix starts, Rainey won 24 races and took 64 podiums while his battles with arch-rival Kevin Schwantz became motorcycling legend. At the time of his accident, Rainey was leading the World Motorcycle Championship and was just three races away from winning his fourth title.
Following the accident, Rainey became team manager of Marlboro Yamaha Team before retiring in 1998. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007, named a FIM Grand Prix Legend in 2000, and a corner of the Laguna Seca Circuit is named in his honour.