Wayne Rainey MotoAmerica VideoFrom 1978 through 2006, we – the Americans – had a stronghold on Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
We achieved 15 premier-class titles throughout those years, achieved by Eddie Lawson (four), Kenny Roberts (three), Wayne Rainey (three), Freddie Spencer (two), Kevin Schwantz (one), Kenny Roberts Jr. (1) and Nicky Hayden (1). John Kochinski also earned the 1990 title in the former 250 class, making for 16 titles across all classes.But since Nicky Hayden’s title in 2006 aboard the Repsol Honda, we have diminished from the GP grids. With the retirement of Colin Edwards this season and the dropping of Josh Herrin from the Moto2 class, Hayden remains the sole American in GP racing.This needs to change, and one former GP Champion from America’s GP heyday has decided to take on the task – Wayne Rainey.The 54-year-old Californian, who became paralyzed following a crash at Misano during the 1993 Italian Grand Prix, spearheaded the new North American road-racing series, aptly titled MotoAmerica.The creation of the series was a huge effort completed by the KRAVE Group that includes Rainey, a two-time AMA Superbike Champion; Chuck Aksland, a former racer and 20-year manager of Team Roberts who most recently served as Vice President of Motor Sport Operations at Circuit of The Americas; Terry Karges, a former motorsports marketing executive and team owner who spent 17-years at Roush Performance before being named Executive Director of the Petersen Museum; and Richard Varner, a motorcycle manufacturer, energy sector entrepreneur, philanthropist and businessman.Working closely with Dorna, the FIM (International Motorcycle Federation) and AMA, the KRAVES Group will steer American road racing in a new direction, and clean up the mess left by the Daytona Motorsports Group – the former commercial and promotional rights holder.A successful series in America will help us get back on the world scene of Grand Prix motorcycle racing. And after watching the attached video recently released by Yamaha, there’s no doubting Rainey is the correct man for this mission.For more on the series, visit MotoAmerica.
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at email@example.com and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!