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

  • pooch

    I hope he does well. But has he done any serious racing in recent years ? Let alone Endurance racing ???

  • Jack Myorff

    Way to go grandpa!

  • @Pooch: Schwantz raced an 8 Hour at Texas World Speedway in March & said it went great & he had a good time.

  • MP

    I went to schwantz race school recently….. Schwantz has pace. He’s still very, very fast.

  • Gutterslob

    All 3 riders have a special place in my motorcycling heart. Haga for his sheer entertainment value. Schwantz for that and much more, all on a 500cc stroker. Kagayama for the best looking helmet I’ve ever owned (the Shoei replica from his BSB days).

  • Damo

    That is an awesome team!

    Haga and Yukio have already won it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they do really well.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    Wish I could watch this on TV somewhere.

    cable tv sations I get insist I see “world’s dumbest criminals” or “Nascar preview” or “Lockup Raw” or “Pawn Stars” or “Mecum’s Musclecar Auctions”…or you get the picture.

  • L2C

    The Schwantz/Pedrosa/Puig conflagration was unfortunate. But Schwantz started it. It was like amateur and idiot hour for the man. With his age and experience, he should know better. And Puig’s response to Schwantz’s nonsense had to hurt much more than a little bit. It was practically a death blow.

    Have to say, I lost a bit of respect for Schwantz myself. Not entirely, but it’s a real pity just the same.

    Sorry for going off topic, but…

  • Big D

    @Chaz: I agree…we have no selection of quality TV.

    Is there any way we can watch the 8 hours? Any website that has it?

  • Sean

    Agree with you L2C, Schwantz seems desperate to be relevant in Motorcycle racing. He’s like the Nicholas Cage of the two wheeled world!

  • Phil

    Good on him. I just hope they show the event on British TV. Hope he does well.

  • buellracerx

    Those who pay attention know that Kevin Schwantz wouldn’t be Kevin Schwantz if he didn’t rectally extract douchebag comments from time to time.

    Aside from all that, best of luck to Team Kagayama at Suzuka!

  • Dave

    I just read Schwantz’s comments about Pedrosa and Puig. I too have lost much respect for him. Puig laid down some serious facts and it make Schwant’z look foolish. Pedrosa is a great rider and with a couple of breaks probably could have a MotoGP championship under his belt.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    The Puig smackdown was pretty brutal. Probably too harsh. I think he took it too hard.

    I recall a certain Nicky Hayden was being batted around pretty good by people letting opinions fly for not winning a title on the Honda after only his second season with them. …and then Hayden almost actually didn’t win the title because of the careless act of a certain young up-start named Dani Pedrosa.

    Puig and Pedrosa need to grow some thicker skin. Pedrosa’s term with Honda is actually getting pretty stale.

    Prove Schwantz wrong and win a MotoGP title. Don’t go all conquistador just because he says what a lot of people are thinking.

  • arimichael

    Puig can suck it. He won a single 500 race & that’s just because Doohan crashed out & Schwantz had already retired that season.

  • Gritboy

    More excited about Haga than Schwantz, but we’ll have to see. Hopefully between all their team they’ll prove they can ride the balls of those Suzuki’s.

  • “Pedrosa’s term with Honda is actually getting pretty stale.”

    I know! With only 7 wins last season, the guy’s definitely a has-been. Jeeze. /sarcasm

    “Puig can suck it. He won a single 500 race”

    Terrible! Meanwhile, the guy obviously had enough talent to run 125 GP starts. You just gotta love the guys who think that unless you’ve won everything for an era, you’re nothing. Guys like Norick Abe, Garry McCoy and Alberto Puig may not have won championships or all that many races, but they added SO much to the racing.

    Meanwhile, a clue … “& that’s just because Doohan crashed out & Schwantz had already retired that season.”

    He won it because he put himself in the position to do so. Saying somebody won a race just because somebody else crashed is frickin’ retarded. To win, you gotta finish. That particular race in history, Doohan didn’t and Puig did. Get over it.

  • Meanwhile, I hope The Schwantz kicks royal booty @ Suzuka!

  • Gutterslob

    Don’t really get what the fuss is about. Just some middle-aged men flinging handbags at each other.

    It’s not like either of them blasphemously insulted the Isle like that Gardner fellow did. That would deserve stoning.

  • Damo

    I am a huge Pedrosa fan and he is obviously alien fast, BUT I sadly agree he will never win a premiere class championship. It is a sad truth.

    He does had a grip of records to his name though. The most embarrassing/impressive being “Most number of race wins, without having won a championship” that was previously held by Randy Mamola.

  • meatspin

    3 of my favorite racers. Its hard to see Haga not on a Yamaha.