Thirty years ago today, MotoAmerica President and three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey could have taken the cautious approach. After all, he only needed to finish third in any of the final three races to earn the first of his three 500cc World Championships. But that’s not the Rainey way.
Instead, he took the lead from Rothmans Honda’s Wayne Gardner on the 11th lap and sped away to victory at the Brno Circuit in what was then Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), crossing the finish line 2.003 seconds ahead of Gardner with that first world title in his pocket.
“I can hardly describe the feeling on the last lap,” a champagne-drenched Rainey said in the post-race press conference. “As I crossed the line the tears welled up in my eyes. I knew when I crossed the line I had it. I knew it was done.”
Rainey would go on to win two more 500cc World Championships in 1991 and 1992.