Wayne Rainey to ride Yamaha YZR500 at Goodwood 29 years after paralysis

Wayne Rainey will ride a modified version of his 1992 500GP title-winning Yamaha YZR500 at Goodwood, 29 years after he was paralysed in a crash

Wayne Rainey - Yamaha YZR500 500GP

Wayne Rainey has been announced as the headliner for the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed with a staggering riding return aboard the Yamaha YZR500 he took to the 1992 500GP World Championship, 29 years after he was paralysed from the chest down.

Considered one of motorcycle racing’s veritable legends, the American rider suffered life-changing injuries during the 1993 Italian Grand Prix at Misano, bringing a cruel end to his sporting career while he was at the height of it.

A 23-time GP race winner, Rainey swept to the 1990, 1991 and 1992 500GP titles with Yamaha and was on course for a fourth consecutive crown in 1993 in what had become a famous duel between himself and countryman Kevin Schwantz.

Though he has gone on to become one of the sport’s most prominent figures off track - not least in his role as President of MotoAmerica - Rainey’s on-track outings over the ensuing three decades have been limited to a handful of outings on a heavily-modified Yamaha R1 road bike.

However, in a sensational comeback, Rainey will not only tackle the Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb for the first time in 2022 but do so on the very machine he clinched his 1992 500GP title on.

The demonstration has been made possible by Yamaha itself after employing new innovations to allow the YZR500 to be controlled entirely by hands.

“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. 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 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.”

“The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an amazing event that is a showcase for two and four-wheel motorsports legends – both human and mechanical,” Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing added. 

“Wayne Rainey is a true motorcycle racing legend who achieved three 500cc World Titles with Yamaha before his career-ending accident and injury. 

“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.”

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