early GP years

""That ended up not costing me as bad because of the screw up over the three leg race. The result went back to the leg before and I got the points for second but it was still a mistake."

"I don't know really why the things that broke in the engine failed. In Sweden the top off the piston. Holland and Germany were crank failures Holland was a bit more extreme than Germany in that you could see the crank shaft between the cylinders. The engine had sawed itself in half. Hockenheim was basically the same, big end bearing with a lap and a half to go. I'd just put about a second and a half on Wayne.

"In Sweden we were only 8 or so laps into it and feeling pretty confident. At least we had come a long way in a season. The year before when Rob Mac and I rode we were like twelfth and thirteenth there, the highlight of our year."

"That was when Rob had 'Black Butt', he crashed off the end of the back straightaway in practice. As he accelerated through that little right hander it fired him way up in the air, he said it must have been fifty feet in the air and landed on his left cheek. My mom has a picture of him stood on top of his motorhome, the whole of his left cheek is solid black, like its almost one big blood blister, it was nasty."

Kevin found it easier to deal with the three mechanical failures than he did his three errors. "When things were going wrong and it wasn't my fault it wasn't too bad. When it was my fault I used to chew pretty hard on myself. One time I ran back in the motorhome, sat down, cursed 'That's it... I quit ' I think it was Jerez. My mom got all upset, started crying, I said, 'what the hell are you crying about,' "

"I was so mad I couldn't understand what I had done wrong, I was feeling sorry for myself; 'why are all the bad things happening to me,' It seems like whenever something bad happens I usually ask myself; 'what did I do to deserve this, I haven't done anything wrong.' "

Even the total of six failures does not make 1989 a totally black year in Kevin's memory. "I think there were enough good things in '89 to outweigh the bad things, six wins and nine pole positions or whatever it was. Seven track records, it was a great season but a season full of mistakes and mechanical failures. There were just too many bad things happening between the good things. I think we sat down and calculated it out that had we just done without all the mechanical failures or all my mistakes we would have won the championship."

"At least we ended the season well, winning in Brazil," recalls Kevin and that Grand Prix in Goiania almost marked a dramatic turning point in his career following a week of behind the scenes negotiations. "I almost went to ride for Agostini. I went as far as to sign a letter of intent that I would ride for him as long as he could provide me with factory bikes equal to what the Roberts team was getting.

"I was looking at Ago's team and their bikes had always been reliable, I felt like that was what I needed at the time." I was looking at Ago's team and their bikes had always been reliable, I felt like that was what I needed at the time. They had Kel and I felt that would have been a big plus. There were a lot of promises Agostini was making. I trusted him, I had no reason not to and was prepared to go ride for him."
"I don't think I made it known why I was leaving," recalls Kevin and he dropped the bombshell to Mr. Itoh just as he was leaving to catch the plane home. "It was just after the race in Brazil that I told him that they needed to look for somebody else to fill my spot as I probably wouldn't he back."
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