Former 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz has certainly been in the news a bit these past few months, mostly for his involvement and falling out with the Circuit of the Americas and the Americas GP, but also more recently for his comments regarding Dani Pedrosa — we also sat down with Mr. Schwantz in Austin, and the Texan gave us some sobering insight into the future of American road racing.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Schwantz is making a return to two-wheeled racing, and has entered the prestigious Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race with Team Kagayama. One of three riders on the team’s Suzuki GSX-R1000, Schwantz will race with Noriyuki Haga and team owner Yukio Kagayama during the eight-hour event.
Teaching these past years at his very own Schwantz School, it’s not like Kevin has been sitting on his duff during his racing retirement, and his teammate Haga should need very little introduction considering the Japanese rider’s impressive career in the MotoGP, WSBK, and British Superbikes.
Less-well-known to our non-Japanese readers though is Yukio Kagayama, who is a regular in the Japanese Road Race Championship, and is a previous Suzuka 8-Hours winner (Haga too is a previous Suzuka winner).
Having raced in World Superbikes with Troy Corser on the Alstare Suzuki team and British Superbikes with Worx Suzuki, Kagayama finally returned to Japan and started his own road racing team in 2011. While Team Kagayama has had a hard time of things in the national circuit the past few years, for 2013 the team is off to a good start with a slew of top-six finishes.
Also member of the 2012 Suzuki Endurance Race Team (SERT) at Suzuka, Kagayama is a highly regarded rider at the famous Japanese circuit, and with Schwantz and Haga on-board for 2013 race, Team Kagayama has a serious claim to a race podium, and even a race victory if things go their way.
Win, lose, or draw, with all the “Free Kevin” love that has been going around, we think this is a great reward for the World Champion’s devout fans — we bet the FIM Endurance World Championship just got an uptick of American viewers for this next round as well. Good stuff.
Source: Team Kagayama