blurred past

"I kind of feel that it was Hockenheim that caused it to happen, I know that's all Wayne was thinking about, that he wasn't going to let me do the same thing I'd done to him in Germany. I think had he taken a quick glance over his shoulder anywhere round that last lap he would have realised it wasn't down to an outbraking manoeuvre at the chicane, he had me beat."

Just as important as the wild, letting off steam celebrations are the deeply satisfying moments, something that Kevin spoke of following his Hockenheim win. "After watching some of the Indy 500 that evening at the hospitality unit I went down to my motorhome and Wayne and Mick were there. We kind of sat down and laughed about the race, the funny points. Like after Mick messed up one of the corners. We got in front but he came back past getting both of our drafts and he came by so fast that he almost sucked Wayne off his bike."

"We chit-chatted quite a bit and it is kind of neat that you can sit down after such a close race like that and still be good friends and have lots of resect for each other."

He would also occasionally meet Wayne socially away from the circuit. Kevin was very friendly with Carlos Cardus at the time, Cardus lived in Sitges, south of Barcelona, where Wayne and Kenny Roberts also lived during the season. He talked of an evening when he and Amy, Wayne and Share, Kenny and Pam were out on the town in Sitges until a quarter to five in the morning. "we had a good time. We tend to concentrate on talking about anything but racing. Every now and then Wayne and I will get together on a Sunday night, sit down and talk about what's happened but for the most part we leave the racing to the track. Once we get away from the track we leave it alone. I think that if we talked too much about racing maybe we couldn't be friends like we are." " If we talked more about the race it would turn into more of a rivalry everywhere whereas we play golf, we have a good time and go out at night. It's not a big competition to see who can win. Sure there and yonder but its not important, the races are on Sunday and I think it's better that way.

Sweetness & light is not the universal state between those angelic beings that populate the Grand Prix rostrums. After their close encounter towards the end of the Austrian Grand Prix Kevin and Wayne Gardner had a few words to say to each other as he recorded in his column at the time.

"I got ahead of Gardner but not clear away and two lap of the hill. If I hadn't grabbed a handful of brake I'd have been in the guard rail. I got by him and closed the door on him in the same place on the last lap so he got the message."

"We had a `discussion' about it after the race. He said `What the problem,' I said `What do you mean, `What's the problem,' what you did to me two laps form the end I don't think is called for, not in any way, in any type of racing. That is probably on of the fastest little kiks that there is in racing and you didn't leave me any track at all. You left me what's between the white stripe and the dirt which is basically dirt and I didn't think that was fair.' "

"He goes, "Well what about the next lap?' I said, `Shame on you for doin' what you did the lap before to me. The only reason I did that was because of what you had just done to me.' "

So he goes, `I didn't even see you and I was past you when you did it to me.' He just turned the story round 360 degrees and blamed it on me."

"And then he goes, ` And what really pisses me off is that you go straight to the press and tell everybody. ' I said, `Well I finished third and everybody asked me about it, asked me what it was I waved at Wayne. I told them it was this middle finger. I think that's just like anyone who does something they're not real proud of, you want to turn it round and blame the other guy.' "

"Then he said, ` What about the bottom corner, I could have shut the door on you but I didn't.' I said, Wayne honestly.... I think you got in a little hot and you couldn't shut the door. You tried and you couldn't, and when I went underneath you it was a surprise.' "

It was back to problems at Paul Ricard and the ignominy of being beaten out of third place by Lawson on the Cagiva. Thankfully the following round was at Donington and Kevin found his usual form there and scored another win after the usual full length tussel with Wayne As he commented at the time it was hard work all the way. "It seems like through the middle of the corner onto the front straightaway I'd get out right with him and then Wayne's bike just grabs an extra 400 or maybe 500 revs in each gear."

"I was doing everything I could. I tried spinin' it I tried being easy with it, I was flat out head down, on the tank the whole race just hopin' that something good was goin' to happen. There was a couple of times that Wayne got over a second and a half in front of me, I got caught by a few backmarkers. I probably could have backed off and said, 'to hell with it, I'm going to finish second.' I kept trying and he got caught by a backmarker here and there. You've just got to keep on trying.... never say die."

The points he made back on Rainey there he lost at Mugello when the engine lost power and he had to finish second, Rainey's championship lead stood at thirty two points with three races to go and sixty points at stake. Hopes of the title just about evaporated at Brno where Rainey won and Kevin had awful front end chatter.

A good win at Le Mans after a great battle, this time with Doohan, was not enough to keep the championship hopes alive as Rainey was third. The year had not finished with Kevin though. The final round in Malaysia helped to do him out of the '92 World title as well.

Neither Wayne or Kevin made the race, both were on their way home after practice crashes, Wayne with a broken leg and Kevin a smashed hand that needed six pins.

Lucky Strike victory parties became an established tradition but the celebrations did not always end in the restaurant. Following the Dutch TT win in 1991 the fun continued when Kevin and Amy got back to the paddock. "we knew that there would be a party going on in Wayne's motorhome because Sky Sports was showing the first Razor Ruddock v Mike Tyson fight."

"Wayne's motorhome was just packed full of people. Apart form Wayne and Shae there was Carlos and Sylvia Eddie, Kenny, John Kocinski and a few others, more people than should fit in one motorhome."

"they had been partying hard by the time we arrived and we sat down to join in and have a good old time, Talking about racing an laughing. Wayne was saying, `I can't believe I let you beat me.... I can't believe I made that mistake...' "

"I just said. `Well Wayne just don't let me forget that I owe you a Christmas present this year,' and a few things like that. We were enjoying ourselves and things were getting louder. Carlos got hold of the fire extinguisher, he pulled out the pin, was waving it about all over the place. I think he was just trying to fake everyone out but a slip of his finger and it went off....... right in John Kocinski's face...."

"It filled the place and everyone was laughing and choking at the same time. I mean we got out as fast as we could. No one was ready to stop having fun and I remembered I'd got some fireworks from this Spanish guy who brings them to the races. Kocinski and I and some of the others started lighting those."

" I mean these are loud!!! but that is what race nights are for. The thing to remember with them is that they have a real short fuse, I was lighting them and tossing them. I was in a real hurry to get rid of one and didn't aim it too good. It landed on top of Wayne's awning and blew a hole in it the size of a basketball. With that and the motorhome full of fire extinguisher we reckoned we had done enough for one night. It wasn't completely over though. We went to bed with the windows open and were just getting to sleep when Eddie came falling in on top of me wearing Wayne's helmet."

"We ordered another awning the next day and Dad fitted it for Wayne when it arrived from the States so we felt a little better about it."

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