Wayne Gardner was born in Wollongong, New South Wales on October 11, 1959.
Gardner’s current career roles are as a Director of his family motorcycle import and distribution business, Wayne Gardner Enterprises; he is currently working on a number of commercial and residential property developments and investments; and he owns, and runs a cattle breeding farm on the South Coast of New south Wales. Wayne also works with a group of different charity organisations, with his main focus as a Governor of the APEX Foundation of Australia.
He developed an early passion for bikes, competing in his first race on a well loved mini bike in 1972.
After leaving school, Gardner became an apprentice fitter and turner although this profession was soon discarded in order to pursue his dream.
Who would believe that this kid from Wollongong would one day reach the pinnacle of his profession to become the first Australian to win the prestigious 500cc World Motorcycle Championship.
Wayne competed in his first Grand Prix in Holland, 1983.
By 1985 Wayne had scored a coveted factory Honda ride finishing a credible fourth in the 500cc Championship.
1986 was the year that saw Wayne finish second, the title of World 500cc Motorcycle Championship close enough to touch.
In 1987 the nation cheered when Wayne Gardner won the title of 500cc World Motorcycle Champion after some of the most spectacular racing ever seen in the series. He won seven races, with ten pole positions and eight lap records.
He was named ABC Sportsman of the Year, awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) and named the Sport Australia Sportsman of the Year for 1987.
Wayne once again finished second in the 1988 Championship, only losing first place due to machine failure.
An acknowledged highlight of Wayne’s career was his win at the inaugural Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island in 1989. This race captured the heart of the nation as the titanic battle between four of the worlds top riders resulted in a thrilling victory for one of Australia’s favourite sons.
Against almost impossible odds, Wayne repeated this victory in 1990, riding with a broken wrist bone as well as a broken fairing which had worked loose.
Gardner announced his retirement from Grand Prix racing in 1992, ending his illustrious career with a win in the 1992 British Grand Prix.
His career record includes 18 Grand Prix wins and an unequaled four victories in the Suzuka 8 hour Endurance event.
Wayne commenced his four wheel racing career in 1993 with the Holden Racing Team, competing in the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) (now Australian Supercar Championship).
He established a two-car team, Wayne Gardner Racing (WGR), in 1994, with his major sponsor being the prestigious Coca-Cola Amatil.
From 1994-97, Wayne competed successfully in the ATCC and Australian Endurance events, however, in October 1997 he announced that the team would compete in only the high profile events for 1998 and 1999. These events were the Melbourne Grand Prix, Indy Car, Sensational Adelaide 500km endurance and the 1000km Bathurst endurance.
1998 saw Gardner competing for the first time at the Le Mans 24 Hour race in a Riley and Scott LMP1 Ford. The engine failed at the 13th hour mark, running in 12th position at the time. Gardner proved to be a very competitive team driver amongst veteran 24 Hour specialists.
In 1997 and 1998 Gardner drove for the FET Toyota Team in the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC) driving a Toyota Supra. And in 1999 he joined the well known Esso sponsored Team Le Mans, driving a works (TRD) Toyota until the end of the 2000 season. From 2001 to the end of the 2002 season Wayne was invited to drive for the number 1 Toyota factory team, Tom’s to work on tyre development and direction. Team Tom’s was the only team on Michelin tyres (relative newcomers to the Championship at the time).
In January 2003 Wayne Gardner retired from motor racing completely and is now enjoying new career challenges.
Gardner and his partner Toni have two sons, Remy aged 8 and Luca aged 6. He is now enjoying more time with the family and teaching Toni and his sons to ride their own motorcycles on the farm. The family spends weekends and school holidays at the property. It has always been Gardner’s dream to be able to ride alongside his children, and yet another dream is now being realised.
This is just a quick note to thank you very much for all your assistance during the launch of the Nissan 350Z at Darlington Park. Everyone at Nissan was really happy with the launch, and was ... keep reading very impressed with the way you spoke of the vehicle and also your lunch presentation. I especially would like to thank you for the way you interacted with the dealers and certainly gave them some great rides. Wayne, once again, thanks a heap and I will certainly keep you in mind for any similar function we have coming up, and especially good luck with your future ventures. Glenn Ridge
Wayne Gardner was very entertaining and was well received by our audience, keeping them engaged throughout proceedings.