From the time Wayne Rainey started racing motorcycles to the time his career was cut short by injury in 1993, he woke up every single day of his life with a goal of being the best. And it was that determination and desire to be the best that drove him to two AMA Superbike titles and three 500cc World Championships.
Now, 21 years after his final race in the San Marino Grand Prix, he’s waking up every day feeling the same way. He’s determined to bring his new MotoAmerica road racing series back to where it belongs and he longs for the day when an American road racer can graduate through the ranks of MotoAmerica to reach the goal of being a World Champion.
When it was first rumored that the road-racing portion of the Daytona Motorsports Group (DMG) was in the process of being purchased by a group led by Rainey, there was instant, albeit cautious, optimism. Nobody wanted to get his or her hopes too high. Nobody wanted the letdown of things staying status quo for another season. So when the deal was announced as signed, sealed and delivered with Rainey’s KRAVE Group purchasing the promotional and marketing rights to U.S. road racing, there was a collective celebration.
Simply put, if you race in the AMA series, own a team in the AMA series, sponsor a team in the AMA series, are a fan of the series, or you are a manufacturer involved in the series in any way, this was what you’ve been wanting since things when south almost right away when the DMG took over AMA Pro Racing in 2008.
It’s a bit much to label anyone a savior at this point, but Rainey is the closest thing to it when it comes to revitalizing road racing in this country. And with KRAVE he’s been able to put together a group that’s as passionate about this as he is. What he brings to the table is the fact that he is one of those that he will lead: He’s a racer. Through and through. He’s come from nothing, cut his teeth racing dirt trackers four days a week in California and across the country; he’s been a privateer, he’s been a factory racer. He’s been a champion here and he used the skills and knowledge gained from racing in the U.S. to reach his ultimate goal of being a World Champion. He’s also been a team manager.
He gets it.
Now that the lengthy negotiations, etc. with DMG has been completed, it’s time for Rainey to roll up his sleeves and get to work. And so far that work is already reaping rewards.
We caught up with Rainey 21 days into the KRAVE Group being in the road racing business to ask him how it had gotten to this point and what the group had accomplished thus far.
Let’s start from the beginning: What made you one day wake up and decide you wanted to take this on?
The process started over a space of maybe a year or so before we even got to that question. I guess about three years ago, Dorna came to me in California when they were there for a track inspection or some meeting. They asked me if I could help them help America… if I had any ideas that I could come up with where we could try to find a way to get Americans back into the World Championship. The riders who were currently there were getting older and there weren’t many of them.
In my era, that 15-year span or whatever it was, Americans dominated. Now they had a concern about it. There were plenty of Spanish and Italian riders coming up and they had a few Grands Prix in the States and they wanted American riders. That’s how it started.
To read more of our exclusive interview with Wayne Rainey in this week’s issue of Cycle News, click here