Sell-out crowds witness Wayne Rainey reunited with his YZR500 at Goodwood Festival of Speed

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The Goodwood Festival of Speed returned last weekend, with 200,000 motorsport enthusiasts descending on the four-day hillclimb celebration ready to applaud the highly anticipated return of three-time 500GP champion, Wayne Rainey.

Twenty-nine years after his career was ended by a crash at the Italian GP in Misano, that left him paralysed from the chest down, Rainey was reunited with his titlewinning Yamaha YZR500 GP bike.

The spectacle drew emotional applause from the crowd, and he was followed up the 1.9-mile Goodwood hill climb course in a plume of blue haze by fellow former champions Kenny Roberts, Kevin Schwantz, and Mick Doohan, all riding 500cc two-strokes.

“It felt like an old friend,” Rainey said afterwards. “It was always a challenge to race the bike at that level, fighting for race wins and championships, but being here 30 years later, being able to get on the bike and ride it up the hill in a nice, easy gentle setting is fantastic.

“The bike was there for me back then and it’s there for me today, so I’m thrilled.”

Rainey’s bike was his 1992 world championship winning machine, specially adapted with handlebar controls for the gearshift and rear brake, and bicycle style clip-in pedals. A raised tank pad allowed him to feel the bike beneath him through his chest.

It was taken from Yamaha’s museum and specially prepared for the festival. First runs were understandably tentative, but by the end of the event, during which Rainey did two runs a day, he admitted that he’d popped his first wheelie in 30 years.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” he continued. “I had no idea what it would feel like but when I put my helmet on and they started the bike, I was like ‘it’s on’. “Being able to ride up the hill and through the corners, looking down and seeing that I was on my Grand Prix bike again after all those years felt like I was in a different world, and to do it alongside those guys, Kenny, Kevin and Mick… I could not have asked for more than sharing this experience with them.”

These comments were added to by Roberts, who was interviewed from the balcony of Goodwood House during Saturday’s action.

“There’s no words that can describe what this guy’s done,” Roberts said. “It seems like now, riding on a racetrack with him, the last 30 years have just disappeared.

“It’s hard to describe the emotions, and I’m not really emotional,” the three-time world champion continued. “Watching Wayne ride a motorcycle, with these guys, it can’t get any better than that, really.”

But they weren’t the only racing stars to grace Goodwood’s iconic climb, with around 70 road and race motorcycles on hand to dazzle the massive crowds.

As well as the GP two-strokes, the race paddock featured Grand Prix bikes from as early as 1927, with the Norton CS1, to a 2021 KTM RC16, ridden by MotoGP star turned test rider Dani Pedrosa.

Alongside them was 1960s Grand Prix ace Stuart Graham, a former Honda and Suzuki works rider, who rode the 500ccc AJS Porcupine on which his father Les won the 1947 World Championship.

A celebration of 100 years of the Ulster Grand Prix also included JPS Norton rotaries, Honda RC45s and veteran superbike racer Michael Rutter aboard his dad’s F2 World Championship winning 600cc Ducati.

Peter Hickman was also at the event aboard his TT winning BMW M1000RR.


Goldie returns at Goodwood

The once ubiquitous BSA marque have returned to action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2022, with their new Gold Star model making its riding debut up the iconic motoring event.

First seen as a pre-production bike at the Motorcycle Live show last November, the Gold Star uses a reengineered 652cc single derived from the Rotax motor found in the BMW F650 single, which was discontinued in 2009.

It’s now Euro5 compliant and styled to mimic the looks of the classic model from which it gets its name. BSA were once the world’s biggest bike manufacturer, but last produced bikes in significant numbers in 1972.

BSA Gold Star

They’re now owned by Indian engineering giant Mahindra, and it’s hoped the new model will see the name bounce back.

At the Motorcycle Live reveal the company claimed the new machine would be in dealers for March, but it’s now anticipated that it will be available in August 2022, with a price of between £6500 and £7000.

To find out if it’s going to be worth the wait, MCN grabbed the keys for a run up the track. Whilst the 45bhp output makes it A2 licence compatible, it isn’t going to set any speed records – especially when the bike has a claimed weight of 213kg with fuel.

But the package is convincing, with a balanced feel, neutral handling, smooth throttle response and intuitive controls. It looks authentic too, with retro styling inspired by BSA’s past glories and good detailing. The old-fashioned analogue speedo reads to 130mph, and the tacho to 10,000rpm, but claimed peak power is produced at 6000rpm, and the most we saw on the speedo, rushing up the final section of the Goodwood course, was 80mph.

BSA Gold Star clocks

Pedrosa set for Goodwood: Three-time world champion joins illustrious line-up for Festival of Speed

Originally published 15 June 2022 by Phil West

Former MotoGP star Dani Pedrosa is the latest motorcycle racing royalty to join the lineup at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. 

The former Honda star was one of the most successful riders of the modern MotoGP era, having won 31 GPs and racking up a total of 112 podiums in a 12-year stint with the team before retiring in 2018. 

The 36-year-old has since been a test and development rider for the Red Bull KTM Factory MotoGP squad and is set to ride the latest 2022 RC16 up the famous Goodwood hill climb. 

Joining Pedrosa is a roster of racing stars – making up what looks to be one of the most glittering bikesport rider line-ups yet at the West Sussex festival.  

Earlier this year, it was announced that three-time 500cc GP Champion Wayne Rainey would make his debut on his title-winning Yamaha YZR500 – riding a race bike for the first time since the 1993 career-ending crash at Misano which left him paralysed from the chest down.  

His YZR has been specially adapted with handlebar-mounted controls for the event. Joining Rainey are a total of four other 500cc world champions, TT stars including John McGuinness, Peter Hickman, and many more. 

Lining up alongside Rainey will be fellow American Yamaha star and three-time 500cc champion ‘King’ Kenny Roberts aboard his earlier YZR500 in its distinctive Yamaha US racing livery.  

They’ll be joined by Texan 1993 500cc world champion Kevin Schwantz – this time aboard his Suzuki RGV500. But that’s not all, the most successful GP rider of the 1990s, Australian Mick Doohan, who won five consecutive 500 crowns for Honda will also be in attendance, riding his NSR500.   

And if those latter-day 500 heroes aren’t enough for you, 15-time world champion (eight of them in the premier class) from the 1960s and 1970s, Italian Giacomo Agostini, will again be making a Goodwood appearance – this time on the four-stroke MV Agusta 500 with which he’s most associated. 

But there are plenty of other bikesport superstars appearing too. World Superbike star Scott Redding will be riding his BMW M1000RR, and multiple TT winners John McGuinness and Peter Hickman will be fresh from the Isle of Man.  

McGuinness is set to ride his special hundredth start Honda Fireblade and Hickman will be aboard his BMW M1000RR. Jeremy McWilliams will also be demoing his iconic Proton KR3 two-stroke and Michael Rutter, Stuart Graham, Phillip McCallen, Ian Simpson and Maria Costello are also set to appear (full line-up subject to change). 

This year’s event runs from Thursday June 23 to Sunday June 26, with tickets starting at £47. For more info head to goodwood.com


Goodwood’s all-star line up: Doohan, Roberts and Schwantz will join Rainey at the 2022 Festival of Speed

First published 20 April 2022 by Jordan Gibbons

Kevin Schwantz in 1992

This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed will be a celebration of grand prix royalty as Mick Doohan, Kenny Roberts and Kevin Schwantz will be alongside Wayne Rainey as he rides his race bike for the first time in 29 years.

Together they dominated the grand prix scene in the 70s, 80s and 90s with Roberts ushering in a style of riding from a dirt track background that the others followed.

Doohan, Schwantz and Rainey are, of course, no strangers having duked it out together for three world championships and collected 12 championships between them, including 1990-1998 consecutively. Seeing them return to two wheels together will be a delight and quite possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Mick Doohan in 1994

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Goodwood – it’s been a few years since my last visit,” says Doohan. “It will be a very memorable moment to see Wayne back on two wheels – I believe it’s the first time on a race bike since his accident in 1993. To be able to ride with him at the Festival of Speed is sensational and it will be a real spectacle.”

Roberts, too, is full of praise of Rainey’s return: “After having spent most of my life travelling the world it takes a lot for me to want to leave the house these days but having heard that Wayne will be riding his championship-winning 1992 YZR500 at Goodwood, I just had to be there to witness this amazing occasion… I can promise there will not be a dry-eye in the house. It’s gonna be some party.”

Kenny Roberts in around 1980

Also keen not to miss out on the action, Schwantz said: “Riding a 500cc GP bike alongside Wayne Rainey is something that has really underpinned my whole life. To be able to have that experience again – it being so long since Wayne has been on his race bike – is going to be unbelievable.”

This year’s Festival of Speed runs from Thursday-Sunday, June  23-26, with tickets starting from £47. For more info, or to book, head to the Goodwood website.


Rainey ready to ride again! GP star to ride championship winning bike at Goodwood Festival of Speed

First published 23 February 2022 by Jordan Gibbons

Wayne Rainey with two of his Yamaha YZR500 race bikes

Wayne Rainey is to ride his final world championship winning bike at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, 30 years after his last victory and 29 years after the accident that left him paralysed from the chest down.

Rainey dominated GP racing in the early 1990s, winning three world championships on the bounce and was on the way to his fourth consecutive championship when he crashed at the Italian GP. Apart from a brief spin on an R1 three years ago, Rainey has barely touched a bike since.

“I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be at Goodwood this June and I won’t just be attending – I will be riding my 1992 Yamaha YZR500,” Rainey said. “When Goodwood presented the idea of me riding one of my GP bikes, it got me excited, and the wheels started spinning. I thought, ‘Wow, that would be amazing if we could make this happen.’

Wayne Rainey racing in 1992

“I want to thank the Yamaha Motor Company for preparing my 1992 YZR500 and adapting it for me to ride, MotoAmerica for helping make the entire project fly, and the Duke of Richmond for really making this a reality and giving me the opportunity to ride my GP bike at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one I couldn’t pass up. I can’t wait to meet all the fans who come from all over the world for the Festival of Speed.”

The Goodwood Festival of Speed runs from June 23-26, with tickets available from £44. For more info, or to book, head to the Goodwood website.


British built and customised machines steal the show as Goodwood Festival of Speed returns

First published on 13 July 2021 by Jordan Gibbons

Langen Two Stroke makes its way up the famous Goodwood Hillclimb

British built, designed and customised bikes dazzled at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, which was given a last-minute go ahead as a coronavirus ‘pilot event’.

Thousands flocked to the open-air event to see a huge array of two and four-wheeled machinery take on the famous hillclimb – but it was the Brits that really wowed the crowd.

One of the most exciting bikes to make its way up the hill was the Langen Two Stroke – a fully Euro5 compliant, British-built, road-going two-stroke that’s heading into production later this year, with a £34k price tag. Powered by a 249.5cc V-twin two-stroke, weighing 114kg and producing a claimed 75bhp at 11,500rpm.

Japanese-bōsōzoku inspired R18 built by Untitled Motorcycles

“It was amazing to be there,” said Langen founder Christofer Ratcliffe. “We were originally supposed to unveil it at Goodwood last year, so it’s great to be able to finally get it here. Seeing Jenny Tinmouth ride it up the hill was great and she just loved it. All the racers did – Foggy was really taken with it.”

Also taking to the track over the weekend was the ‘World’s Fastest Bobber’ built by Buckinghamshire-based Thornton Hundred and ridden by creator Jody Millhouse. The bike is a Triumph Bobber that’s been rebuilt by the Thornton team with a Rotrex C15 Supercharger, NOS injection, TTS machined cases, forged pistons, a custom cam and updated clutch. The result is 165bhp at the wheel without the nitrous and 202bhp with.

“The reaction has been incredible,” said Millhouse. “As soon as I fire it up and people hear the noise of the supercharged engine a crowd gathers instantly. It was touch and go to get here as I had to replace the engine last week after I made a mistake and broke the oil pump. But we made it and it’s performed flawlessly.”

BMW also had a trio of custom R18s all worked on by British brands. The Pier City PC.18 is a stripped-back bobber that took to the hill for many raucous runs, while on BMW’s stand there was a wild Japanese-bōsōzoku inspired machine built by Untitled Motorcycles, as well as a near factory finished sidecar outfit made by Watsonian.

All of the machines that impressed at Goodwood will be making their way around the UK at various events over the summer, so keep a look out.


MCN Rewind – A look back at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed

First published on 13 July 2020 by MCN news desk

Michael Neeves wheelies the Moto2 Triumph

We would have been at the Goodwood Festival of Speed over the weekend (July 9-12) but it was cancelled for obvious reasons.

So, here’s a look back to last year’s event when over 200,000 people descended on Goodwood for four days of high-octane motorsport action – but it was the battery-powered motorcycles grabbing all the headlines.

Last year’s event celebrated ‘Speed Kings – Motorsport’s Record Breakers’ and saw 85 motorcycles take to the 1.16-mile hill climb course from Thursday to Sunday, as part of a 650-strong vehicle lineup, ridden by a roster of current and former racing stars, including Casey Stoner, James Toseland and Giacomo Agostini.

Giacomo Agostini gets a push start on his MV Agusta

The crowd was treated to two daily high-speed runs from a selection of racing machines, as well as a number of road bikes – headlined by the debut of Harley-Davidson’s Livewire, which was officially launched the following week.

Also riding up the world-famous Goodwood hill was the £90,000 Vector, the debut offering from British electric bike firm, Arc. While various prototype Vector models have been in circulation for years, this was the global debut for a moving Arc – and it looked great.

Elsewhere, the festival also celebrated 60 years of Honda motorcycles and saw a variety of current and former factory riders take to the track aboard some historic racing metal. Amongst them was Tadayuki Okada, who piloted Marc Marquez’s 2018 championship-winning MotoGP machine up the hill.

Ian Hutchinson

He was joined by Mick Doohan, and TT stars John McGuinness, Ian Hutchinson and Conor Cummins, as well as the great Sammy Miller, speed record addict Zef Eisenberg, and MCN’s own Michael Neeves riding an immaculately restored 1974 Suzuki RG500, an ex-Schwantz RGV500 and Triumph’s Moto2 test mule.

Last year also saw sidecar outfits blast up the hill, with the Birchall brothers and Maria Costello wowing festival goers with their antics. The Ducati Desmosedici GP12 pillion bike was also on hand to terrify ‘lucky’ guests up the hill, piloted by Randy Mamola and Franco Battaini. Bike fans craving off-track action could also enjoy stunt shows, trials displays, aerobatics and freestyle motocross throughout the weekend.

The Ducati team ready their GP12 pillion bike

Keep reading for our live coverage from 2019

Final Sunday bike run

Despite a wet final day of the festival, plenty of bikes still made it up the famous hill climb for one final run on Sunday.

Harley-Davidson and Arc talk electric

MCN caught up with Harley-Davidson and Arc who have both brought cutting-edge electric motorbikes to the festival.

Saturday’s race bikes #1

An eclectic mix of past and present racing motorcycles have made their way onto the Goodwood hillclimb circuit for the first run of the day.

Amongst them was 12-time TT winner, Bruce Anstey, who took to the run aboard a Padgetts Honda RS250 two-stroke.

Anstey sadly missed the 2018 racing season, as well as all events so far this year, as he focusses on recovering from a long-term illness.

Other competitors taking to the hill also included double World Superbike champion and Triumph ambassador, James Toseland, who returns to Goodwood after an eight year hiatus.

Riding the Triumph Moto2 prototype bike, the former racer spoke to MCN between autographs and said: “I’m riding up the hill this afternoon as well. The bike is a proper piece of kit and it feels like a little superbike compared to the 600s I used to ride.

John McGuinness wheelies to the crowd

“The last time I was here was eight years ago and after my retirement I had to go cold turkey, which was difficult. It’s nice to come back and still get such a good reception.”

These positive sentiments were shared by 23-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness, who said: “I haven’t missed a year since 2004, except 2017 when I had my accident.

“After all those years, I still don’t quite know where I’m going! I just try to wheelie and wave and show off to the crowd.”

MCN also caught up with 15-time world-champion, Giacomo Agostini, who has been visiting the Goodwood Festival of Speed for over a decade.

“It’s a lovely event which draws in lots of bikes, lots of people and lots of cars and drivers. You get to meet a lot of top riders, and I get to catch up with racers I don’t often see any more.

“Lord March is very happy with me because I always bring some sunny weather with me from Italy, which helps with the crowds.”

Giacomo Agostini at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Riding pillion on a MotoGP bike

Check out Dan’s experience on the Ducati Desmosidici GP12 – a two-seat MotoGP bike he rode pillion on at Goodwood on Friday. More here.

Ducati two-seat MotoGP bike

Friday’s race bikes run #2

Chief Road Tester, Michael Neeves managed to get on camera this time, and celebrates with a massive wheelie!

Video of the bikes running up the hill in batch one today:

A few of our star testers will be riding bikes up the hillclimb, so keep an eye out for exclusive videos of their runs as the weekend unfolds. It’s starts at 10:00am today with Michael Neeves riding a Triumph Moto2 prototype bike…

We’ll also be taking a close look at electric motorbikes – a subject that’s causing a lot of conversation on our social media channels as fossil fuels fall out of favour.

To start with, take a look at our gallery above of some of the unusual bikes we’ve spotted so far, and take a listen to this beast below:


Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019: Honda revealed as headline biking theme

First published June 7, 2019

The Goodwood Festival of Speed will be celebrating 60 years of Honda motorcycles in 2019 as the headline biking theme.

The famous hillclimb and motoring get-together will take place this weekend, with Honda getting their own class at the event in order to show off its rich history in motorbikes.

Honda's Naomi Taniguchi

Bikes range from a 1959 TT animal (above) right up to Marc Marquez’s 2018 MotoGP championship-winning missile.

Riders include Mick Doohan (five-time consecutive 500cc series winner) and two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner. MCN columnist John McGuinness won 16 TTs on Hondas, and will be aboard the bike that took him to the first 130mph lap of the Isle of Man course.

John McGuinness celebrating his 10th TT victory with Honda

Ian Hutchinson will ride his 2010 Senior TT-conquering Padgetts Racing CBR1000RR, and the team will also be sending their current superbike up the hill with Conor Cummins on board.

Sidecar fans are catered for too, with the Birchall brothers atop their LCR unit, fresh from winning this year’s TT on Monday.

With a theme of ‘Speed Kings – Motorsport’s Record Breakers’ for this year’s Festival of Speed, a number of record-setting bikes will be in attendance, ranging from 1920s Brooklands beasts up to modern competition Grand Prix monsters.

It's not just Honda motorcycles at the Festival of Speed. Image credit: Stephanie O' Callaghan/Goodwood

For 2019 road bikes will be on display alongside the Michelin Supercar Paddock, with the BMW S1000RR, Norton V4RR, Ducati Panigale V4 S Corse and Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory already confirmed, alongside the dynamic debut of the £90k Arc Vector – the British-built electric motorbike being crowdfunded right now.

Phil West

By Phil West

MCN Contributor and bike tester.