With Yoshimura set to celebrate its 60th anniversary it’s only fitting that they field a team in this year’s Suzuka 8 Hour. It’s even more fitting that they are putting 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz on the bike.
Schwantz, who came out of retirement to compete in the 8 Hour last year, will ride alongside his former teammate Satoshi Tsujimoto in what is arguably the most prestigious round in the World Endurance Championship.
“Competing in the 2013 Suzuka 8-Hour with Team Kagayama reminded me of what racing with a great team is all about,” Schwantz said in a ream release. “I am really looking forward to celebrating Yoshimura's 60th anniversary of being in business by competing in the 2014 Suzuka 8-Hour on a ‘Pops Yoshimura’ Suzuki. Pops was a very influential man in my career; I first met him mid-way through the 1985 season riding for Yoshimura. Riding for Pops taught me a lot and helped groom me to be the competitor that I am. He was a real motivator and got the best out of everyone that worked around him.
“In 1994, I presented Pops with my winning Suzuka Grand Prix trophy - the fourth Japanese win of my career - in the Suzuki garage. That photo is still one of my favorites of all time. Before his passing, he told me I was his only rider to ever win a 500cc World Championship, or as it is known today as MotoGP, and since his passing his words still hold true. To be teamed with my teammate from 1986, Satoshi Tsujimoto, is a real honor. Thank you to the Suzuka circuit and everybody at Yoshimura Japan for the opportunity.”
Yosh will also field a second team that will consist of Aussie Josh Waters and All-Japan Sueprbike rider Takuya Tsuda. Schwantz’s team will be the Yoshimura Legends team with Waters leading the Yoshimura Shell Advance team.
Schwantz, who will turn 50 prior to the race, finished third last year in the 8 Hour riding for the Team Kagayama team. He also finished third in the race with Tsujimoto in 1986, with Graeme Crosby in 1985 and with Doug Polen in 1988.