Racing History: The Day They Greased Kevin Schwantz’s Brakes–And He Went Faster

Racing History: The Day They Greased Kevin Schwantz’s Brakes–And He Went Faster

© 2018, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.


Inexperienced but talented, young Kevin Schwantz struggled to get used to a Superbike’s rear brake during a tryout for a spot on the Yoshimura Suzuki squad at Willow Springs in December, 1984. Dave Wolman (now director of the Americas region for Motul’s Center Of Excellence for PowerSports) was his mechanic for the day and had a hunch about what to do.

          “…The team first tried more conventional methods of reducing rear braking power. And so I remember that we first tried to change the rear brake lever spring. We mounted a valve spring on it and thought, ‘Go, ahead, try to push this.’ And he just pushed it like crazy! OK, he came back in. I thought, ‘OK, maybe I can cut the lever and shorten it,’ something, you know? He went out again and no matter what I did–lever, spring—I realized, this just ain’t working. And I’m thinking, ‘He’s completely out of shape because of the rear end jumping all over the place.’ So I tried taking the rear brake pads out and taking a hacksaw and started to trim down the pad, making the square smaller and smaller. I thought, ‘Maybe this will help.” He came back in and it didn’t really help.” 

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Wolman took desperate action…

– Racing History: A Teenager’s Big Break, in the October 2018 issue of Roadracing World

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