Kevin Schwantz may be turning 50 this summer, but he doesn’t plan on letting that end his racing career.
Schwantz plans to celebrate his birthday by racing the Suzuka 8-hr later in the summer, on a Suzuki GSX-R 1000 as part of the “Legends of Yoshimura” team. His teammate, Satoshi Tsujimoto, is even older – he’s 54. Schwantz and Tsujimoto finished third at the Suzuka in 1986, one of four times Schwantz managed a third at the race.
This isn’t just a lame publicity stunt; Schwantz proved he still has plenty of game by finishing third at the Suzuka last year, on a team with Noriyuki Haga and Yukio Kagayama. Schwantz said a big part of this year’s race is taking the opportunity to honour legendary race tuner “Pops” Yoshimura; Yoshimura formed his race tuning company in 1954, making this the firm’s 60th anniversary.
““In 1994, I presented Pops with my winning Suzuka Grand Prix trophy – the fourth Japanese win of my career – in the Suzuki garage. That photo is still one of my favourites of all time,” Schwantz says.
“Before his passing, he told me I was his only rider to ever win a 500cc World Championship, or as it is known today MotoGP, and since his passing his words still hold true. To be teamed with my team-mate from 1986, Satoshi Tsujimoto, is a real honour.”