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Wayne Rainey to Ride Again at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Wayne Rainey in his wheelchair with his championship winning bikes behind him

Three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey will ride his iconic Yamaha YZR500 at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed, commemorating 30 years since he won his final Grand Prix title. 

If you were a fan of the sport in the early 90s, you’d know how significant this moment is going to be. This is the first time Rainey will be riding his race bike in 29 years, following the dreaded accident at the 1992 Italian GP that left him paralyzed below the chest. 

Wayne Rainey's Yamaha YZR500

With 24 wins to his name, Rainey was at the height of his career when he suffered the career-ending injury. He’d won the 1990, 1991, and 1992 500cc World Championship titles and was well on the way to making it a 4th consecutive win before the incident. As VisorDown reports, he became one of the sport’s most prominent figures off track in the years that followed and is currently President of MotoAmerica.

Commenting on the announcement, Rainey said, “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 hill climb. 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.”

A shot of Wayne Rainey racing his Yamaha YZR500 in 1992

Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing, also shared his thoughts on the occasion: 

“The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an amazing event that is a showcase for two and four-wheel motorsports legends – both human and mechanical. 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.”

A shot of Wayne Rainey racing his Yamaha YZR500 in 1992

The ride will be made possible thanks to the team at Yamaha, who will be modifying his bike with hand-operated controls. The 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed is scheduled to take place from June 23rd to June 26th, and we’re excited about seeing a racing legend make what will most certainly be an emotional reunion with his motorcycle.