Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Trivia: Epic battles - Lawson, Schwantz, and Rainey - 1989 500GP season

The 1989 season featured the most talent-laden 500cc grids of the two-stroke era -- and the pre-'big bang' 500 motors were too much for tires and chassis to handle, setting the stage for some truly epic battles. In an era when men were men, Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson and Kevin Schwantz were all at the height of their powers. Mick Doohan was an impressive rookie and even though Wayne Gardner was thinking of retiring, he could still win on his day. Randy Mamola was in the mix – perhaps the most talented rider who never won a world championship. Even Freddie Spencer made a comeback attempt that year.

This video clip of the Suzuka (opening) round of the '89 season really captures the feel of that season. Schwantz and Rainey immediately reprised their fierce battles from the AMA Superbike series. Early in this clip, Kevin slams the door on Wayne and I swear that in spite of being swathed in helmet and leathers, even on this low-res video, you can still see Wayne get mad!
Schwantz won the most races that year but Lawson once again proved that his “Steady Eddie” nickname was well-chosen. His consistency earned him his fourth and final world championship.

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