Yamaha showcases legendary British racers and bikes at Donington Park
The Yamaha Racing Heritage Club (YRHC), which was founded to honor and preserve the manufacturer’s illustrious racing history, accomplished this at Donington Park from July 30 to July 31, 2022. At Yamaha Racing Heritage Club events in Donington Park, a star- A range of big-name British riders took part, including multiple Grand Prix champion Phil Read, Chas Mortimer, Alan Carter and Niall and Tarran Mackenzie, among others.
The YRHC stand was one of the main draws at Donington Park, with some of the biggest names in British racing making appearances over the weekend. The impressive range of motorcycles on display spanned Yamaha’s 65 year history, from their very first factory race bike, the 1957 250cc YD-A, to the first Yamaha to race in the UK, the Sonny Angel 1960 YDS-1R, all the way to Tarran “Taz” Mackenzie’s McAMS Yamaha R1, which won the 2021 British Superbike Championship.
The undisputed headliner of the show was Phil Read, Yamaha’s first-ever Grand Prix World Champion, eight-time Isle of Man TT champion and most decorated rider in terms of championships. Throughout his illustrious career, Read won 52 GPs, finished on 121 podiums and made history by becoming the first individual to win the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc Grand Prix titles.
He went on to win four more world championships for Yamaha, including the 250cc World Championship in 1971, when he rode a very unique, custom TD2-B of his own design and competed as a privateer. The Team Read Castrol Yamaha was a modified version of the standard bike with a redesigned frame, dry clutch, front and rear disc brakes and an extensively modified engine built by former Yamaha race engineer Ferry Brouwer.
50 years after winning the first-ever Yamaha 500cc Grand Prix at Barcelona’s Montjuic street circuit in 1972, Chas Mortimer joined fellow YRHC luminaries for Sunday’s autograph session with Read. World Championship races in the 125, 250, 350, 500 and 750 classes have all been won by Mortimer, who is the only rider in motorcycle racing history to have done so. He won eight TT games, much like Read, and was delighted to be at Donington Park this weekend.
The first year of the YRHC has been a great success, and for 2023 a full calendar of events is planned, with several already announced and more to come. Visit the official Yamaha Racing Heritage Club website, which is linked below, if you own a vintage Yamaha race bike and would like to join the organization to enjoy special benefits like advanced technical support and the ability to include your machine in the official database.