The Yamaha Racing Heritage Club (YRHC), which was founded to honour and preserve the manufacturer's illustrious racing history, accomplished this at Donington Park on 30 July to 31 July 2022. At the Yamaha Racing Heritage Club events at Donington Park, a star-studded lineup of renowned British racers participated, 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 an appearance over the course of the weekend. The impressive array of motorcycles on display covered all 65 years of Yamaha's history, from their very first factory race bike, the 1957 250cc YD-A, to the first Yamaha to compete in the UK, the Sonny Angel YDS-1R from 1960, all the way up 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-modified 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 the Montjuic street circuit in Barcelona in 1972, Chas Mortimer joined the other YRHC luminaries for the Sunday autograph session with Read. The 125, 250, 350, 500, and 750 classes World Championship races have all been won by Mortimer, who is the only rider in the history of motorcycle racing to have done so. He won eight TT matches, much like Read, and was delighted to be at Donington Park over the weekend.
The YRHC's first year has been a great success, and for 2023, there is a full calendar of events 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 are interested in joining the organisation to enjoy special perks like advanced technical support and the opportunity to have your machine included on the official database.