Looking Back: Schwantz vs. Rainey

Cycle News Staff | April 12, 2012

As the Brits or Aussies would say, Kevin Schwantz has a cheeky grin on his face after winning the German Grand Prix in June of 1991 and earning his way on to the cover of that week’s Cycle News.

Cycle News cover from June 12  1991 picturing Kevin Schwantz after his victory at the German Grand Prix.

You probably recall the race. After all, it’s the video everyone refers to over and over and over again from the Wayne Rainey/Kevin Schwantz era of 500cc Grand Prix racing – with Schwantz diving up the inside of Rainey, his Suzuki “snakin’ under brakin'” as the pair entered the stadium section of Hockenheim on the final lap.

Schwantz held off Rainey in the final few corners to win the race – a battle neither of them will ever forget for different reasons.

That race will also be remembered for its tire wars. With Rainey and Schwantz’s Dunlops falling apart during practice on Hockeheim’s fast straights, the tire company was forced to airdrop new rubber on Friday night. Ironically, in Sunday’s Grand Prix, Schwantz and Rainey finished first and second and it was Mick Doohan and his Michelins that had tire problems. Despite his rear tire disintegrating, Doohan still managed to finish third.

As for the 250cc Grand Prix that day… it was won by Helmut Bradl, the father of current MotoGP rider and non-defending Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl.