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Rabbit's Big Adventure

Wayne Bartholomew. Photo: Martin Tullemans
Wayne Bartholomew. Photo: Art Brewer
Photo: Dan Merkel
Photo: Jeff Divine
Wayne Bartholomew, Kirra. Photo: Steve Core

Of the four IPS tour events in Japan in 1979, Mark Richards won the opener, Wayne Bartholomew took the third event, and Shaun Tomson rode to victory in the fourth. No surprises. These were the three headlining stars from Free Ride, which was still playing to full houses in beach towns everywhere. Tomson had won a world title two years earlier, Bartholomew was defending champ, and Richards was a few months away from winning the first of his four world titles.

There were other exceedingly talen...

Rabbit turned the competitive psych-out ploy into a black art. He'd go catatonic before a big match. Or launch into a frenzied round of shadow-boxing. “He created this drama about himself," a rival later said, “and it just overwhelmed a lot of guys.”