Wayne Wesley Rainey (born October 23, 1960) is an American former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he won the 500cc World Championship three times and the Daytona 200 once. He was characterized by his smooth, calculating riding style. In 1984, he accepted an offer to ride for the newly formed Kenny Roberts Yamaha racing team in the 250cc class of the Grand Prix World Championship. A less than successful season (1 podium and difficulty push-starting the bike) saw him returning home in 1985 to join the Maclean Racing team in U.S. 250 and Formula 1 classes, and then on to the American Honda team from 1986 to 1987 where he raced Superbike and F1. It was during the 1987 Superbike National Championship that his intense rivalry began with Kevin Schwantz as the two battled it out for the title.
In 1988 Rainey returned to Europe, again joining Team Roberts Yamaha, this time in the premier 500cc division riding the YZR500. His arch-rival Schwantz followed him to Europe, signing to race the 500cc class for Team Suzuki. The two would continue their rivalry on race tracks all across Europe, driving each other to higher levels of competitiveness. In 1988, Rainey won his first world championship race at the British Grand Prix. Also in 1988, he and his Team Roberts Yamaha teammate Kevin Magee won the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race in Japan. In the 1989 campaign, Rainey finished second overall behind Eddie Lawson, winning three races and placing on the podium in every race that he finished.
From 1990 to 1992, Rainey hit his stride earning three consecutive 500cc crowns for Yamaha. Rainey was involved in a hard-fought campaign with Kevin Schwantz while seeking his fourth-consecutive title in 1993. He was leading the championship points by a margin of 11 points over Schwantz and leading the GP when he suffered his career-ending crash at the Italian Grand Prix in Misano. He slid into the gravel trap at high speed, breaking his spine against the raked surface designed as a safety feature for car racing. The injury handed the title over to his great rival, Schwantz. Rainey's injuries rendered him permanently paralyzed from the chest down.
Activity: 1984 - 1993 Grand Prix: 95 Championships (500cc): 3 (1990 - 1991 - 1992) Victories: 24 Podiums: 65 Pole Positions: 16 Fastest Laps: 23 Career Points: 1270,5