100 Pictures Challenge #51: Sport.
Such was the awe in which the Roberts/Rainey/Marlboro/Yamaha combination was held that the team soon earned the nickname 'The Evil Empire' which seemed to sum up quite well their world dominating reign.
Crash.Net MotoGP Driver Profile
At the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey California, past the famous Corkscrew - one of motorsport world's most challenging turns - is a medium-speed, acute left-hander called Turn 9: The Rainey Curve. It is named in honour of 500cc motorcycle racing World Champion Wayne Wesley Rainey.
A native of Downey, California, Rainey is probably best remembered in AMA Superbike history as having pulled one of the biggest upsets in the 1983 season. Honda had the money, the equipment, the riders, the brand new liquid-cooled, V-four-powered VF750; Rainey, on his inferior Kawasaki, took the title.
Rainey went on to win both the AMA Superbike Championship and Daytona 200 in 1987 (on a Honda, this time), before graduating to the premier 500cc World Championship, on "King" Kenny Roberts' Yamaha team. He was 3rd in 1988, 2nd in 1989 - and World Champion in 1990.
And again the next year, in spite of breaking his leg in Malaysia before the final race of the season.
And again the following year, in spite of breaking his ribs and being minus a finger.
A fourth World Championship title might have been his, but for the horrendous crash at Misano on 5th September 1993 that shook the racing world, which broke his spine at the 7th vertebra, and brought his reign to a premature end. He was still far enough ahead to place 2nd.
Despite being paralysed from the chest down, Rainey has never quite left the racing world. He managed his own Marlboro Team Rainey from 1994 to 1998, and today still occasionally races go-karts on a specially designed machine that was a present from friend and long-time rival "Steady Eddie" Lawson. An AMA Motorcycle and International Motorsports Hall of Famer, FIM Grand Prix "Legend", Rainey was also recently inducted into the Legends of Laguna Seca Walk of Fame in July 2007, with Turn 9 renamed after him.
Wayne Rainey, you still rock.
If you were born after 1984, you will probably not have heard of him. I forgive you.
But seriously, I was really into 500cc racing back in the days when he was Raineying champion. [Forgive the pun] It was the first sport I'd ever followed, and I pursued it with a vengeance. I had scrapbooks with clippings of race results, and I caught just about every race telecast on TV -
Ironically, the one race I managed to miss was the '93 Misano disaster.
I pretty much stopped watching the races after that. When your favourite racer's permanently retired from the sport, there seems to be very little point in continuing. The next year, I switched to Formula One - ironically, during the race that killed Ayrton Senna.NOTES
Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of Rainey's crash. I would've uploaded it then, only I couldn't finish this fast enough. LOL.
I've decided that I've had it with pore-precise realism. It's never done anything for me other than add to my repetitive stress injury. I hit upon a pretty nifty, more painty-y combination of "hard round brush - custom skin brush (made with my own) - squiggly custom brush" while doing the Dawkins picture - and I think I'll be sticking to that from now on.
A friend and I came up with multiple possible titles that ranged from corny - "Raineying Champion" - to downright painful - "The Wayne in Rain[ey] races mainly in the"... uh, you get the idea. I ultimately decided to spare my viewers the grief.
If you managed to read all this, I congratulate you.