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Monday, August 15, 2011

Rivalry Adds So Much To The Charms Of One's Conquests


Hopefully, our readers are already familiar with Ayrton Senna's career or have had a chance to see the Senna movie this weekend. If neither apply for you, then I hope the following paragraph doesn't give too much away.

After watching Senna for the second time, I left the theater realizing that Senna's true strength did not lie in his driving skills. His superhuman ability allowed him to pilot his Lotus beyond its design limits for sure, but Senna's greater talent lies in his ability to defeat his enemies. During qualifying, as soon as Senna exits the pit to attack a flying lap, drivers moved aside. If they hadn't, fans would only recognize them as the bastard that ruined Senna's grid position. Whether it was Alain Prost and Jean Marie Balestre or Fabio Briatore and Michael Schumacher later on, Ayrton Senna's aura, and his strong will, eclipsed them all.

Really, that's what makes sports great. Every superhero needs an archenemy... and that brings me to one of the greatest rivalries of them all. Wayne Rainey/Kevin Schwantz.

A passage from superbikeplanet.com describes that during the 1987 international Match Races, Schwantz and Rainey just did not care that they were teammates and rode against each other, tooth and nail. Neither money nor team politics could slow them down. Their rivalry made beating the heck out of each other more important than anything else.  

Wayne Rainey was one of the smoothest riders on the grid. Oftentimes when celebrities were invited for a lap on Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson would explain that if their lap looked slow on camera, it's going to be a quick lap. People often described that Rainey's speed was so deceptively undramatic that it could only be revealed with a trained eye and a stopwatch. Kevin Schwantz was the complete opposite, riding his Suzuki like he was wrestling a lion with his bare hands. Rainey explained, 

"It was one of those rivalries where you'd race so hard you never leave the other guy any room and you're always running into them. I never did that with anyone except Kevin Schwantz. He was the only guy I'd run into, and he was the only guy who'd run into me. We raced so hard that we didn't know there were people watching us ... we would ride each other right into the grandstands. I just didn't care. And he didn't care if he rode into me going into the pits."


Rainey in the Lucky Strike Yamaha #3, Schwantz in the Pepsi Suzuki #34


Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

5 comments:

  1. "Faster" is a great Motogp documentary and covers the rivalry in the rider's own words.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEMmKyR11yM

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  2. This reminds me of a friend, who is also motorcycle racing enthusiast. I am glad that he rivalry is healthy between Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey. Thanks for sharing the wonderful video.

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