Former racing mechanic Marshall Rautmann was kind enough to send yet another batch of photos he snapped at the races back in the 1980s and early ‘90s. I love this kind of stuff and I hope you enjoy them as well. Marshall tuned for some fast WERA riders back in the day such as Brian French, Dean Joas, David Klosterman, and John Eidenberger. Thanks again Marshall for letting us share these great photos.
In June of 1989 Team Viceroy Yamaha superstar John Kocinski showed why his fellow competitors were more than ready for him to leave the country for the GP circuit. Kocinski shattered the AMA 250 Grand Prix lap record of 2:24.97 set by teammate Thomas Stevens last year, by turning a 2:22.48 on his way to an 8.5 second victory over Rich Oliver. Kocinski’s average race speed of 99.834 mph, not only broke Oliver’s 1988 average of 98.222 mph, but was also the fastest race average of the weekend, beating even the Superbikes speed – an amazing accomplishment on the four-mile circuit with long straightways.
Making that weekend even more impressive was the fact that Kocinski was riding with a broken wrist. The Modesto, California rider was pitching the Viceroy Yamaha into the turns with great zeal, decisively lifting his knee to avoid the corner indicators. Comparing Kocinski’s riding style to a high-speed ballet was not accurate; it was more like seeing Sugar Ray Leonard in a boxing match. Kocinski’s riding like Leonard’s boxing technique was quick, decisive and precise.
Kocinski’s only anxious moment of the race at Elkhart Lake was when he was lapping Mark Long. Long was shaken by the abruptness of Kocinski’s pass and rode off the track at turn 12.
Kocinski took the checkered flag after 31 minutes of some of the best riding that the 20,000 race fans had ever seen at this track. The crowd acknowledged their pleasure with a standing ovation on his cool down lap. Kocinski many times didn’t respond much to the crowd’s cheers, but on this day when he came around turn seven and saw the multitude cheering and waving their approval, he lifted his hand and waved back. It was a wonderful moment and I was happy to capture it on film.