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An Age of Superheroes: A tale of Grand Prix racing’s golden era 1988-1993

Submitted by on September 6, 2010

I have just visited Hell for Leather Magazine and read a great excerpt from Mat Oxley’s new book “An Age of Superheroes”

The book tells the tale of Grand Prix racing’s golden era, 1988-1993, from a rider’s perspective.

Here are three of more than 20 snippets from the story.

“GARDNER ON LE MANS AND HONDA’S BIG SECRET: ‘It was real hot and Suzuki had their awning rolled up, right over the way from where my motorhome was parked. I told the Japanese, “Hey, you should take some photos”. So one of them came in with a big lens and spent all day there behind the mirror windows taking rolls and rolls of film. Then they went back to Japan, blew up the shots and laid them over shots of an NSR. After that the penny dropped, they realised they had too much weight low down. The Suzuki engine was much higher in the frame, so they realised maybe they should go that way. All of a sudden Honda worked out how to make a bike handle and it took off from there. To cut a long story short, they didn’t have a fuckin’ clue until then.’

SCHWANTZ ON CRASHING PORSCHES: ‘After the race in Austria, Eddie and I decided to do a lap and honest to God, we didn’t do it fast. We just drove around and talked about the race, but when we were done there was this security guy, about eight feet tall, and he’s like “What are you doing? You’re not supposed to do that”. He goes to pull me out the car but I had the seatbelt on, so he couldn’t. Eddie’s laughing now and that pissed the guy off, so he’s slammed my door, shattered the window and the glass cuts my face. There’s blood gushing out, so we both unclip and go after this guy. He’s running, because there’s two guys half his size out to kick his ass and Eddie kicks him in his nuts as hard as he can. After that we went into town. We came back to the paddock at three in the morning, we’d probably had just a little bit too much to drink, and Eddie stuck his Porsche in the ditch, with my coaching.’

DOOHAN ON HIS LEFT HAND: ‘When I crashed at Phillip Island I could see the bone, and the tendon had been torn away. By Laguna the fingers were just starting to grow a film of meat when Gardner ran into me; then at Jerez I tried changing up another gear through the fast rights behind the paddock. The thing just spun up and sent me straight into the hay bales. That didn’t do the hand any favours. First time I met Eddie he told me a lot of people can go fast on a 500 straight away. Then they have one crash, two crashes, three crashes and they take a big backward step. I’ve never heard a truer word. My confidence had been knocked about and I actually feared hopping on the motorcycle.’

“An Age of Superheroes” is a 240-page hardcover coffee table book packed with Schwantz, Rainey, Lawson, Kocinski, Doohan and Gardner telling the story of their golden age in their own words. The forward is written by another man who needs no first name: Valentino Rossi, who describes his awe at watching his heroes tame the evil two-strokes. “Superheroes” is packed with stunning period photographs of both the racing and the playboy lifestyle.”

The book’s available to buy on Amazon right now

Read the full excerpt at hellforleathermagazine

Images: hellforleathermagazine



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