Posted: 02 Aug 2013
To mark ten years since 500cc bikes disappeared from the world championship grid, we’re putting your questions to some of the most memorable GP legends.
Wayne Gardner is best known for winning the 1987 500cc Motorcycle World Championship, becoming the first Australian to win in the premier class. After retiring from motorcycle racing in 1992, he tried his hand at touring cars and then later the V8 Supercars Championship and Le Mans, before completely retiring from motorsport in 2002. Fifty-three-year-old Gardner now focuses his attention on the racing careers of his two sons – Remy and Luca – who compete in the CEV and CMV Championships respectively.
What was the proudest moment in your motorcycle racing career?
This is a difficult one to answer! I’ve had many great moments over the years. I guess winning my last GP at Donington Park when I announced retirement would be up there, as well as winning at the Phillip Island GP, of course.
Do you have any regrets from your racing career?
I think you can always make things better. I suppose I should have changed to Yamaha when Kenny Roberts asked me to race in 1989/90.
Who was your motorcycling hero?
When I first started out, ‘King’ Kenny Roberts was definitely someone I looked up to from a riders’ perspective. Barry Sheene was also great from a marketing perspective.
Star Trek or Star Wars?
<Laughs> Star Trek!
How fast are you allowed to go when racing on a track?
As fast as you can go. There is no limit.
If you could change one thing to the rules or set-up of MotoGP, what would it be and why?
I’d take all the electronics off the bikes and let the riders work harder! I think taking the traction control off the bike and making the riders do all the work would be more spectacular to watch.
What has been your scariest ride?
Probably when I raced at Fuji Raceway in Japan – in thick fog! You literally couldn’t see anything three-feet in front and when you’re racing at the kind of speeds we were… that’s scary!
It’s been a while since we last had a British champion in the premier class. Why do you think this is?
I don’t think there is enough grassroots training in Britain. When you compare it to the Spanish junior system – there is no comparison.
Would you rather race today’s bikes against today’s riders or the riders from your era?
I have no regrets. I was racing in the ‘Golden Era’ – the 1980s. Of course I wish I was still racing… but I can’t, I’m too old!
What's the next move for your sons Remy and Luca? How long before they go into Moto3/2?
Remy is 15 years old and I reckon he’ll be ready to step up to GPs in 2015. Luca is still only 13 years old and quite cautious, so he’s got a little bit to go yet.
Which did you prefer: bike racing or car racing?
Motorcycle racing by a long shot. Bike racing is more thrilling… and more rewarding.
We're giving away 500 tickets to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone! More info here: http://bit.ly/1bJfAaz
Photo courtesy of Keith Martin Photography.