The 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed saw one of Yamaha’s most iconic champions return to the saddle of one of the most legendary Yamaha race machines as Wayne Rainey rode up the famous hill climb aboard a specially modified version of his 1992 championship-winning YZR500.
It was the first time Rainey, who won the 500cc Grand Prix World Championship for Yamaha three-times back-to-back between 1990 and 1992 before his career-ending crash at Misano in 1993, has appeared at the legendary Goodwood Festival of Speed – a celebration of everything motorsport held on the picturesque Goodwood Estate near Chichester, England – and the Californian did it in style, marking his first time riding a race-specification motorcycle in almost 30 years.
The 1992 YZR500 was specially adapted by Yamaha Motor Company engineers in Japan, who modified the gear shift system so Rainey could change up and down the gears by controls on the left handlebar.
After a private test session earlier in the week, Rainey rode up the hill for the first time to rapturous applause on Thursday alongside his compatriot, fellow Yamaha champion and his Marlboro Yamaha Team Roberts boss Kenny Roberts Snr, as well as former 500cc rivals Kevin Schwantz and Mick Doohan. Rainey will complete two runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to Goodwood’s bustling crowd.