34 to 1

Philip Island testing after the end of the 1993 season. It was Kevin's first ride after a break of several months. time during which he even wondered briefly whether he still wanted to go racing. "I said to myself, `just go out and ride the bike, if you don't feel comfortable on it, if you don't feel motivated to do it then maybe then think about packing it in.' "

"It would have been tough, it really would have. Wayne was on a mission, he was definitely out to prove a point there. It will remain one of the big unknowns, if he bad finished the race I don't know that I could have beaten him. He was just under two seconds in front of me the lap that he fell. I had actually closed up on Luca a little bit but I think we had lost a little ground to Wayne."

"I don't know what the outcome would have been."

Wayne's lap ten crash eradicated the speculation. Mick caught and passed Kevin. Luca was inspired in front of his home crowd and Kevin chased him and Mick home to take third. Kevin had the championship lead back but there was no celebrating that evening. The situation was unclear, if Wayne was not that seriously hurt he might still race at one or more of the final rounds and the championship was not over, if the rumours of paralysis turned out to be true well, no one wanted to think about that.

The worst rumours were true and by the next day it was fairly clear that Wayne would not race again, facing his future in a wheelchair. Kevin's emotions were in turmoil and his thoughts often with Wayne, it would be many weeks before he could sort out just how he felt about the disaster that had befallen his greatest rival and good friend and somehow find how those feelings were placed with those he felt about winning the championship.

"I got to Laguna but it was tough, people were congratulating me, 'Great you've won the championship how's Wayne.' It is always going to be part of winning the championship. It is always going to be difficult to look back on it and say, yeah that was a great year because..some aspects weren't."

Months later, as he started the off season testing he had accepted that the effects were deep seated. "It has changed my attitude to racing, it was a pretty long winter's break. I didn't have that much time off but not riding at Sugo and having surgery on my hand when by the time I got back on the bike at the beginning of December I had had plenty of time to think about it."

"It was strange getting on the bike again at Phillip Island, saying to myself, 'Do I really want to do this?"'

"I had spent a lot of time thinking about it.

It could so easily happen to anybody, for an accident like that to happen to Wayne just proves it, especially to myself, its not just the other guy it happens to."

"Stopping crossed my mind a couple of times but that was all. I said to myself, just go out and ride the bike, if you don't feel comfortable on it, if you don't feel motivated to do it then maybe think about packing it in.' "

"Once I did get back on the bike, my hand being better and with everything going well I definitely had the motivation."

"I discussed it with Wayne and he said that if be had to have his life all over again and had the chance to win the championships that he has won and do all that he has done that even knowing how he would end up he would still do it all again."

"I don't think I would. I love motorcycle racing. I enjoy everything that has ever come from the sport. There really haven't been any negatives, the people, the travel, getting to see everything. But if I had to do it all over again and I knew that at the end of my career something was going to happen like that I think I'd go for just a happy good life and working nine to five, five days a week, doing whatever I had to do."

"It might cut back on a few of the silly stupid risks that I take. Like the pass I made on Alex and Itoh at Hockenheim. I'll shut off and go around them next time won't I, I wont stuff it between them. I'll think twice before I do anything like that, 'like this'll be funny.... All that it would have taken was one of them moving over and boom, down all three of us would have gone."

"I don't think that it will effect the way that I race. I still feel like once I get out there and start racing the desire to win will always be there and the motivation comes from that."

Previous PageNext Page

© Schwantz/Clifford 1994 No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted, in any for or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or
otherwise without prior permission in writing from Peter Clifford or Shirley Schwantz.

All rights reserved © 2000 Brand 34, Inc