Classic Racer - - IN DETAIL -

With the ti­tle win,yamaha Europe had ended up em­bar­rass­ing the head hon­chos back in Ja­pan, by build­ing their three-cylin­der spe­cial and re­gain­ing the world cham­pi­onship with it – and the not made here prin­ci­ple meant this was not ap­pre­ci­ated back at head of­fice. “I re­mem­ber we had the 1978 ver­sion of the 350 triple al­ready run­ning on the test dyno atyamaha Am­s­ter­dam, where the works 500GP team was also based,” says Ferry Brouwer: “And one of their engi­neers came into the dyno room to look at it. He was im­me­di­ately called back by his boss and told off, be­cause ‘this is notyamaha project!’ – they ob­vi­ously felt up­set we’d beaten their fac­tory twin to win the ti­tle. “It was a pity they felt this way, be­cause Mr Uratomo liked the project very much, and there were plans to build a com­plete new en­gine with mag­ne­sium cast­ings for which the draw­ings had al­ready be­gun. But then a mes­sage came from Ja­pan that they were not to do it – so sud­denly ev­ery­thing was can­celled. “We had al­ready built the new bike with even more power and a smoother de­liv­ery, and­takazumi won the first race of the 1978 sea­son with it in Venezuela – but then it all fell apart, and he wasn’t al­lowed to ride it any­more.” Kent An­der­s­son reck­oned he knew why. “The fac­tory got very up­set be­cause they’d just launched the new RD350LC road bike,” he said. “Here they’re sell­ing a racer with lights for the street, and now we’ve gone and won the world cham­pi­onship with a bikeyamaha don’t even make them­selves. I’m sure this was the rea­son we were stopped from rac­ing it again in 1978.” What­ever the case, that short­sighted de­ci­sion meantyamaha would never again win a 350cc world ti­tle be­fore the class was scrapped at the end of 1982.

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