Wayne Rainey Colorful Addition To Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Massive painting of three-time 500cc world champion installed on Monterey hillside

wayne rainey stand up painting at laguna seca
New artwork created by John Cerney celebrates three-time 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Wayne Rainey. “Knowing Rainey’s story makes the painting mean more to me,” Cerney said. “I treated it with care knowing he is a racing legend who was brought down early in his career and is still active in the field.”Courtesy of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

For motorcycle racing fans who recall the era of American domination of 500cc Grand Prix racing bookended by the championship-winning performances of Kenny Roberts and his oldest son, Kenny Jr., a new giant red-and-white mural located on a hillside bordering Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, needs little explanation.

Roberts protégé Wayne Rainey won three straight 500cc titles from 1990 to 1992 and scored three consecutive USGP victories at Laguna Seca between 1989 and 1991. Now, nearby Salinas resident John Cerney has painted a mural of longtime area resident Rainey astride his factory Yamaha YZR500.

According to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) commissioned Cerney to make the Rainey cutout and another soon-to-be-revealed design that will also decorate the County of Monterey-owned Laguna Seca Recreation Area.

Cerney created the artwork, which can be seen while traveling the Monterey-Salinas Highway (State Route 68), from a still photograph taken by Mike Doran. Painted on plywood sheet, the motorcycle is 18 feet long and 12½ feet tall—a sizeable splash of color against a gold and blue backdrop—and spot-on down to the last detail.

“I wanted to do it right and be cognizant of every little thing going on in the picture,” Cerney said. “For example, there was something on his glove that was a little fuzzy in the picture, so I did some research online to find that it was his autograph. I wanted to catch all the little details I could to remove any doubt that it’s him.”

Rainey, of course, now serves as president of MotoAmerica. His championship-winning 1990 Yamaha YZR500 will be part of the "Racing Through the Decades" feature display at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion on August 17-20 that includes prominent racing machines tied to the 60-year history of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.