1998 - The Full Story
Graves Racing - with - Yamaha
was a sensational racing season for Pete Graves Racing and Yamaha. Pete
left hospital after
finishing Leukaemia treatment at the end of January, and by the end of
March had won the
first round of "The People Privateers Cup" in the MCN British Superbike
Championship. He went on to win 6 more rounds of the series: more than
any other rider, but did not win overall
after breaking down five times while leading. He also humbled multi-million
teams, by beating their riders on his two year old private race bike.
Yamaha won their third successive British Superbike Championship with their
YZF75O. Pete also
rode a new YZF 1000 R1 Yamaha in the new Powerbike British
the end of the year the team were third overall in the British Championship
with two wins. They
were best Yamahas, best non-factory bike, and the team to beat in the
second half of the
and the team also attracted huge coverage for Yamaha and their R1. Full-page
articles in the
Daily Express and the Telegraph
previewed Pete’s comeback to racing, and race
throughout the season. After the last round Motor Cycle News tested the
team R1, declaring
it the fastest R1 in the UK, and giving it a four-page colour spread.
a season such as this there is only one place further to go, and that is
No. 1. Pete and the team
propose to continue their winning association with Yamaha in 1999, by winning
600 British Championship with the new Yamaha YZF600 R6.
The Results - British Superbike & Powerbike Championships
Hatch: - Won the first race back, and broke down while leading the
Park: - Retired from the first Powerbike race with a trapped fuel line,
while lying 5th.
Park: - Crashed
in the rain in race 1. Retired from race 2 with flat tyre, while lying
a close 2nd privateer.
- Third Privateer in both races, but beat all but one of the factory
- Double win in the
Superbike Privateers, and fourth on the Powerbike R1.
Park: - Missed practice, so started from the back row of the grid.
Took the lead in race 1, then broke down. 2nd
in race 2.
Park: - British
Grand Prix. Fourth again in the Powerbikes, but the Yamaha R1 is improving
Park: - Won race 1 in the dry, but rode to a steady 4th’ in the wet
Hatch: - World
Superbikes. Won the British Powerbike Championship race, setting a new
- Leading Privateer
in race 1 when the fuel filter came loose and caused a huge crash. Could
not start race 2. In
Powerbike race 1 Pete broke the lap record to catch the leader, but broke
down on the last lap. Could not start race 2.
Park: - The
frame was still bent from Knockhill. Pete only managed 5th and 4th privateer
in the two Superbike
Park: - Passed
all the championship contenders to take the lead in race 1, when the engine
failed. In race 2 Pete
was leading again when he crashed, colliding with a factory rider two bends
from home. Remounted
to finish 3rd privateer.
- With problems in
Superbike race 1, finished 3rd Privateer. Second privateer by just 0.04
of a second in race 2. In
the Powerbike race Pete led over the line, but took 2nd in an aggregate
result by 0.4 of a second.
Hatch: - Back
to normal with a double victory in the Superbike Privateers Cup.
Park: - 3rd
Privateer in the damp first race, but could not start race 2 with mechanical
- Pete was 3rd in
his first ever Aprilia 250cc race, then resoundingly won the Powerbike
The 1998 British Powerbike
Championship - Roundup
a late start to the season, caused partly by Pete’s 6 months in hospital,
the RI was barely
finished for the first race. With the development well behind, the best
the team could manage
in the early races was a pair of 4th places at Snetterton and Donington
Park. They also
suffered a DNF in the first round, missing out on a probable fourth place.
However all this
changed for the second half of the season.
the Oulton Park round of the championship the major problems with the RI
had been ironed
out, and it was a fully competitive machine. Pete qualified it third at
Oulton Park, before
finding that the two factory Hondas had been running illegal air-boxes.
was the quickest legal rider on the grid, the race was a wet-weather disaster,
the next round at Brands Hatch was a resounding win, at the World Superbike
event, and in front
of 83,000 people. It also marked a year to the day since Pete started
chimotherapy in 1997.
For the rest of the season we were the team to beat, but as luck
would have it only
able to take one further win.
Knockhill we broke the lap record and caught the factory Honda on the last
lap, before the
clutch broke and destroyed the engine. This meant we were unable to start
the second race, the following day.
Yamaha’s considerable support the bike was re-built for the Silverstone
led over the line as the flag came out, but as the race had been stopped
an aggregate result
was declared, and we were awarded second place by a fraction of a second.
final round of the series at Thruxton was declared a two-part race to fill
the grid. In addition
to Powerbikes the race was open to 1300cc and Superbikes. The Honda team
won the series, so they elected to tune their machines beyond the scope
of the Powerbike
rules, in the hope of winning the overall result. Our Yamaha continued
trim, and still we beat the Honda team to win the final round of the Powerbike
the Powerbike International race outright.
left us third overall in the championship, best private team, best Yamaha,
with two wins.
Although equal on points to one other rider we were third after two wins
to the other team’s
none. We beat them in every round of the championship where we both finished.
These results are
with particular thanks to Yamaha for the use of the RI, and their support
with spare parts
and the engine rebuild after Knockhill.