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Yamaha Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Motorsports Division at U.S. Headquarters

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Left to right, standing: Rich Oliver, Mike Bell, Broc Glover, Rick Burgett, Eddie Lawson, Jason Raines and Bill Ballance. Left to right, seated: Wayne Rainey, Bob Hannah, Ty Davis and Yamaha Racing Manager, Keith McCarty

Earlier today, MD attended Yamaha’s celebration of its 60th Anniversary in the motorsports business (marked by the first Yamaha motorcycle introduced in 1955, the YA-1). Yamaha threw a big party at its Cypress, California headquarters, invited most of its employees, the media and several distinguished guests.

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As part of the celebration, Yamaha added the following racers, each present for the event, to its “Wall of Champions”:

  1. Wayne Rainey: 3-time 500cc GP World Champion
  2. Bob Hannah: 7-time AMA Motocross/Supercross Champion
  3. Eddie Lawson: 4-time 500cc GP World Champion
  4. Broc Glover: 6-time AMA Motocross Champion
  5. Rich Oliver: 5-time AMA 250cc GP Champion, including 3 undefeated seasons
  6. Mike Bell: 1980 AMA Supercross Champion
  7. Ty Davis: 1990 AMA 125cc Western Region Supercross Champion, and winner of numerous off-road National championships
  8. Jason Raines: 6-time AMA National Hare Scrambles Champion
  9. Rick Burgett: 1978 500cc AMA Motocross Champion
  10. Bill Ballance: 9-time GNCC ATV Champion
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Rainey’s championship winning 1990 YZR500

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Rainey’s championship winning 1990 YZR500

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Yamaha showed several videos chronicling its history, as well as separate videos highlighting the career of each inductee. Additionally, several bikes were on display, including the two pristine 500GP championship bikes pictured.

As you probably know, Yamaha is experiencing great sales success with its current model lineup. MD congratulates Yamaha, and wishes it continuing success. Enjoy the photos from the event – as usual, click on any photo for a larger version.

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Lawson’s championship winning 1986 YZR500

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Lawson’s championship winning 1986 YZR500

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Broc Glover chatting with Eddie Lawson

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Mike Bell and Wayne Rainey

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Motocrossers Pierre Karsmakers, Bob Hannah and Rick Burgett.

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A portion of the huge crowd of Yamaha employees and media representatives.

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MD Editor with two World champions, Lawson and Rainey.

29 Comments

  1. takehikes says:

    Too bad Rollin “Molly” Sanders passed away….all those colors and designs were his……they all have on his original design.

  2. kjazz says:

    My first bike….. was a Yamaha. Will always love ’em no matter what.

    And I’m glad they choose to festoon themselves in the timeless, always fashionable….yellow & black bumble bee colors….!! That IS Yamaha to me.

  3. Spike says:

    Better question yet….where’s McGrath?

  4. Spike says:

    New inductees. Kenny is already on the wall.

  5. Gary says:

    It’s a little scary that even these guys seem fixated by their smartphones. They weren’t doing that 30 years ago …

    • Hot Dog says:

      Very few of us flip phone users left. When I was a kid, we used to pay 5 cents to see the Tattoo Man at the circus. Now he can’t get a job because every one has cartoon skin. I wonder if the circus would entertain a side show staring a old fat white guy, sporting only freckles on his hide, talking two stroke trash on his flip phone?

      Rainey and some dude named Schwantz, scared me for life when I first rode over the track at Brainerd and they were sliding their bike sideways under the bridge I was on. I’ll never forget that moment.

  6. Scotty says:

    Would have been nice to see Kel Carruthers in that pic!Though he won his World Championship for Benelli, he was a fantastic mentor to Roberts and Rainey.

  7. Gham says:

    Wow,Bob Hannah still looks young.Hard to believe it was 33 years ago I saw him win at the Astrodome!! He was something.

  8. Gary says:

    What a great story and a great group of gentlemen who were (and are) all my heroes. The only thing that could make it any better is if they were to fire up one of those two-stroke YZRs.

  9. bikerrandy says:

    First 20 years of riding were on Yamahas: YTD-1 250, single carb, 4 spd., pre-mix, YDS-2 250 twin carb 5-spd pre-mix, YM-1 305 oil inj., `78 XS650 Std. After those I’ve ridden Moto Guzzis since, but do have a `00 MuZ 660 single w/Yamaha w/c 5 valve motor. Yamaha still has part of my heart.

  10. I would be completely happy if VR46 and Jorge were still riding machines like Rainey’s YZR-500.

  11. TURBOMAN says:

    Where is John Kosinski??I had the pleasure of meeting him at the 1990 Yamaha dealershow and had a nice chat with him.Kenny was there but really wouldnt give anyone the time of day..Wayne Rainey was awesome.. After winning the championship that year and is as nice of a guy you will ever meet..

  12. Tommy D says:

    I love the yellow-black speed block pattern. Get’s me every time I see it. The 06 50th models… Yes please.

  13. Jan Drenth says:

    Where is the King Kenny Roberts

  14. mickey says:

    Congrats Yamaha. My first job in the MC industry was at a Yamaha dealership. I have owned many Yamahas LT-1, LT1 MX, AT1MX, RD350, TX650, XS650, XS650 Special,(2) YPV 400s, (2)FZ-1s..all proved to be excellent motorcycles.

    Who knows may own another one before I’m done. Going to ride an FZ-07, FJ-09 and R3 this afternoon as my local dealership has the Yamaha Truck in for free test rides.

    • Hot Dog says:

      Mickey, I’ll be curious to hear your opinion on the FZ-07.

      • mickey says:

        Here you go Hotdog
        FZ07
        Small
        When riding you are looking over front end like on a Ducati Monster..could not see headlight at all
        Better ride and seat than the FJ-09 IMO
        Gear indicator was nice
        Same wonky mirrors
        Even wonkier switches
        Vibration easily felt from 3500 rpms up
        Front brakes good
        rear brake good
        stupid moving bar graph tach which for me is hard to read
        better seat and ergos than my son’s Ducati Monster 696 but not as much power
        Riding it/engine reminded me a lot of my 69 CB 350 actually

  15. Rusty says:

    Congrats Yamaha for many accomplishements in the field. And thanks for building finely tuned stuff. (see what I did there?). I have an FJR and an FJ-09 in the garage, a Yamaha stereo, a Yamaha guitar and a Yamaha electric piano. Shouldn’t I qualify for one of those nifty yellow shirts? Nice to see Dirck w/o a helmet on.

  16. Andy says:

    congrats Yamaha. DT2, XL500, XS650, XV920RH Such fond memories of riding these bikes.
    King Kenny must of been really busy to miss this party.

  17. The Spaceman says:

    My first bike was a Yamaha, my current and favorite bike so far is a Yamaha, with God knows what in between. Congratulations on your 60th!

  18. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Nice pics.
    How time flies.

  19. notarollingroadblock says:

    Thanks for the great pics of the Yamaha family gathering, Dirck. Check out the spindly forks on Eddie’s 500!

  20. Hal says:

    Where is King Kenny Roberts? So many I think of as hero’s, and part of my personal motorcycle relationship with history. The only Yamaha’s I ever actually owned, out of at least 20 bikes, was an IT 175, and a 250 enduro.