Doohan, Roberts, Schwantz to join Rainey for his poignant Goodwood ride

Wayne Rainey's spectacular Goodwood Festival of Speed debut will see him ride alongside Mick Doohan, Kenny Roberts and Kevin Schwantz

Wayne Rainey

Goodwood Festival of Speed organisers have announced Mick Doohan, Kenny Roberts and Kevin Schwantz are to accompany Wayne Rainey when he makes his much anticipated hillclimb debut in June.

The 500GP World Champion in 1990, 1991 and 1992, Rainey’s racing career came to an abrupt end at the height of his success when an accident during the 1993 Italian Motorcycling Grand Prix left him paralysed from the waist down

Though he has remained an active figure in motorcycling - including presiding of the MotoAmerica series - Rainey’s outings on two wheels have been limited to a handful of laps riding specially adapted hand-controlled roadgoing motorcycles.

However, in what will no doubt be an emotional and poignant appearance, Rainey will headline this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed by tackling the hillclimb aboard the Yamaha YZR500 he rode to 1992 500cc world championship glory for the first time since his accident.

Made possible by Yamaha adapting the classic machine to be controlled by hand, Goodwood FoS organisers have now revealed he will be accompanied by three of his fiercest rivals from that time in Doohan, Roberts and Schwantz..

“I never thought I’d have a chance to throw a leg over a Grand Prix bike again,” said Rainey. “And I certainly never thought I’d have an opportunity to share a track with Kenny, Mick and Kevin. This could only happen at the Festival of Speed. 

“Obviously, Kenny played a major role in my racing career and my life so having him with us at Goodwood is going to make an incredible experience even more so. And many fans know Mick and Kevin were a couple of my greatest rivals during my Grand Prix career, and it means so much to me that they are making the trip to the Festival of Speed for what will be a very special time. 

“We all share so many memories of competition, it will be fun to experience a new sense of camaraderie with them. This will be my first time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and I can’t wait for June to get here.”

With a remarkable 12 World Championship titles between them, the trio were proud to be present for Rainey’s spectacular comeback

Mick Doohan: I’m really looking forward to getting back to Goodwood - it’s been a few years since my last visit. It will be a very memorable moment to see Wayne back on two wheels – I believe it’s the first time on a race bike since his accident in 1993. To have raced against him for several years, plus having got close to wrestling a title from him on a couple occasions, in the early 90’s, were very special memories in my career. He and I had a great rivalry, especially ’91 and ’92, unfortunately for me, Wayne came out on top. To be able to ride with him at the Festival of Speed is sensational and it will be a real spectacle to see him back on a bike.”

Kenny Roberts: After having spent most of my life traveling the world it takes a lot for me to want to leave the house these days. But having heard that Wayne Rainey will be riding his championship-winning 1992 YZR500 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I just had to be there to witness this amazing occasion alongside Shae and Rex. Great credit has to go to Yamaha Motor Company and Lin Jarvis in particular for making this project fly and all the engineers back in Japan who have got the bike running and adapted for Wayne to ride. 

"Wayne’s determination to make this all happen is no surprise. When he has something in his head that he wants to do, it’ll happen and it's testament to him that two of his greatest rivals, Kevin Schwantz and Mick Doohan will be present at the festival this year to live this dream with him. I can promise there will not be a dry-eye in the house. It’s gonna be some party.”

Kevin Schwantz: “To ride a 500cc Grand Prix bike alongside Wayne Rainey is something that has really underpinned my whole life. To be able to have that experience again - it being so long since Wayne has been on his race bike - for me, is going to be unbelievable. I’m so looking forward to the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year and getting to see Wayne, Shae and Rex and taking my family there; it’s something that I’m really excited about.”