blurred past

The points gap was still twenty seven but there were sixty points still at stake as the teams headed for Sweden. "I got a fairly bad start last or next to last, something like that. In two laps I got back up there to fourth behind Doohan, Lawson and Rainey. I must have drug the fairing because it lifted both wheels. I was top of second gear at about 160-170 K so we were into the hay bales pretty quick."


Czech Grand Prix, Kevin slid off and Wayne won the championship, but what can you do about it, cry?

"I was feeling pretty sore the next day and knew that the World Championship had gone. Just to round off a perfect weekend I was about to have one of those trips home that just make you adore international travel."

"I spent about twenty minutes on Sunday evening packing bags and realised that I didn't know where my passport was."

"After two hours of me and Mom and Dad turning the motorhome upside down we still couldn't find them. We phoned the US embassy to see if I could get a new passport. The guy who answered the phone had my passport in front of him. Somehow I had lost them at the airport on the way into Sweden, I guess I must have tossed them on the ground. "


"So the next morning I had to get up at about five o'clock, get on a plane to Stockholm, go to the US embassy, pick up the passports, go back to the airport in time for a one o'clock flight to the US. We were on time into JFK and then had time for dinner before our evening connection to Dallas."

"So the next morning I had to get up at about five o'clock, get on a plane to Stockholm, go to the US embassy, pick up the passports, go back to the airport in time for a one o'clock flight to the US. We were on time into JFK and then had time for dinner before our evening connection to Dallas."

"We backed away from the gate right on time but then proceeded to sit there for thirty minutes. Then the captain came on and said, 'I've got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that there is a bunch of weather coming in and we've got to wait. The good news is that they're going to let us take off eventually.' "

"We sat there for five hours, missed our Dallas to Austin midnight connection and checked into a hotel at three thirty in the morning. I had a six thirty flight in the morning, thank goodness not all the trips are like that."

"We sat there for five hours, missed our Dallas to Austin midnight connection and checked into a hotel at three thirty in the morning. I had a six thirty flight in the morning, thank goodness not all the trips are like that."

Niall finished fourth in the World Championship but was dropped from the team in favour of Didier de Radigues for the 1991 season. There was a degree of confusion over the team make up as Kevin Magee had recovered from his horrendous Laguna Seca crash and was intent on racing for the Lucky Strike Suzuki team. He did some preseason testing, raced in Japan and Australia but that was it. He and Suzuki disagreed, it was the end of their relationship. Another unsettling factor for the team during testing was the switch from Michelin to Dunlop tyres.

"We tested the Dunlops against the Michelins in Malaysia at the end of 1990 but I thought i would get to make the tyre decision. When I got to Australia for the test in early '91 I found that the factory had done the deal with Dunlop."


Concentration "The mental concentration can be the toughest side of racing. When the bike is working right, when everything is peaches and cream there is not really a lot to it physically, it is 60% mental. The physical part of it comes getting the bile set up, making yourself go out there and push the thing to figure out what it's going to do when it gets into a race situation. If everything is working during the race then it seems like it is not too tough. Everything kind of happens in slow motion. It is when things aren't working that it really can be physically demanding, you seem to start fighting the thing instead of going with it."

"Even when the bile is right the mental side still takes it out of you and a Grand Prix is long enough that by the en of the race most everyone is pretty well hammered if not physically then mentally. that is about all you can do, forty five minutes to an hour on a bike. Every little thing is jus important. One little mistake and you're and your back."

There was another big change in that the weight regulations had been changed, the minimum weight increased from 115 to 130 kg. With the change of weight and tyres, there was a lot of work to be done.

Kevin was beginning to realise what it would take to win the World Championship and frustrated that Suzuki did not seem to be putting the effort into testing that he felt they should. When they went to Jerez at the end of February his comment at the time was that Suzuki had not taken enough equipment. "We went there about half loaded, I mean we only took one bike, no spare fairings, a couple of rear shocks. We thought that both shocks would work but with the bike being heavier neither of them worked."

It was a demoralising period of preseason testing. Twice, at jJrez and Laguna Seca, Suzuki shared track time with the Roberts team and on both occasions Wayne was faster. At the Laguna Seca test Kevin was trying to fight resignation. "We've still got problems and we haven't narrowed it down to whether its suspension, geometry or engine. Wayne is going faster and it has got to the situation where I try not to think about it. I've got to spend time thinking about how to make improvements on my bike and not thinking about what they are doing."


By the end of the Laguna Seca test Kevin felt that at least they knew what direction they should head in, he had got closer to Wayne's times even though he was still three quarters of a second off and they had run out of the parts they needed to make geometry changes to the bike.


"After the Laguna test he went to Daytona to do some PR work for Suzuki before heading for Japan in time for a final test and the first Grand Prix of the season. He put his Japanese Grand Prix down to something that happened at Daytona. "I watched the Supercross and saw the two Macs, MeElnea and Mackenzie riding. Simon Tonge was with me and after dinner and a few drinks we went round to Rob's place. It was past midnight by the time we got to his hotel, we'd had a couple of beers and were ready to go. Rob hadn't had a good time at Daytona and didn't feel like partying, I was the last person he needed to see. I wasn't about to let him get away with that so slapped him around a couple of times He beat me into the ground. I have to thank him for that because it gave me the extra edge going to Japan."

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