1 March 2014
Kevin Schwantz signs-up for 2014 Suzuka 8 Hours
"I am really looking forward to celebrating Yoshimura's 60th anniversary of being in business by competing in the 2014 Suzuka 8 Hours on a Pops Yoshimura Suzuki" - Kevin Schwantz.
Following last year's Suzuka 8 Hours podium, at the age of 49, 1993 world champion Kevin Schwantz has signed up for the 2014 event.
The Texan was tempted out of retirement by ex-grand prix racer Yukio Kagayama, who joined Schwantz and former WSBK star Noriyuki Haga in riding duties.
Just as during his epic grand prix career, Schwantz was riding a Suzuki in the prestigious Japanese event, which also forms part of the FIM Endurance World Championship.
The result marked Schwantz's first World Championship podium in almost 20-years and he will now return as part of a special Yoshimura Suzuki 'Legends Team'.
To mark the 60th anniversary of Pop Yoshimura's racing business, Schwantz will be paired with 1985-1986 All Japan Formula-1 Class champion Satoshi Tsujimoto. Tsujimoto, 54, was team-mate to Schwantz in the 1986 Suzuka 8 Hours, when the pair claimed a third place finish.
“Competing in the 2013 Suzuka 8 Hour with Team Kagayama reminded me of what racing with a great team is all about,” said Schwantz. “I am really looking forward to celebrating Yoshimura's 60th anniversary of being in business by competing in the 2014 Suzuka 8 Hours on a Pops Yoshimura Suzuki.
“Pops was a very influential man in my career, I first met him mid-way through the 1985 season riding for Yoshimura. Riding for Pops taught me a lot and helped groom me to be the competitor that I am. He was a real motivator and got the best out of everyone that worked around him.
“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 is one of my favorites of all time. Before his passing, he told me I was his only rider to ever win a 500cc Championship, or as it is known today Moto GP, and since his passing his words still hold true.
“To be partnered with my team-mate from 1986 Satoshi Tsujimoto is a real honour. Thank you to Suzuka circuit and everybody at Yoshimura Japan for the opportunity.”
Schwantz has finished a best of third at Suzuka on four occasions: 1985, '86, '88 and 2013.
The other Yoshimura Suzuki entry will be for Josh Waters and All Japan Superbike rider Takuya Tsuda. Former Australian champion Waters is racing for Tyco Suzuki in BSB this year, while Tsuda was runner-up for Yoshimura in last year's Suzuka race.
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