c1969 Yamaha TD2 250cc Race Motorcycle
Result: PASSED IN
A relative latecomer to the motorcycle market, Yamaha’s first bike – the YA-1 – was launched in 1955 and the company quickly established itself through competition success, both at home and abroad. Based on the road going YD-1 (and its more sporting YDS-1 sibling) 250 twin, the TD1 was a seriously quick but somewhat fragile production racer first seen in 1962. Updated to become the TD1B with improved timing and larger crankshaft, continued development saw Yamaha announce a revised TD1C model in 1967, using the engine casings from the YDS-5 road bike. With a bore and stroke of 56 by 50mm, the TD1C’s air-cooled parallel twin developed a remarkable 38bhp at 9500rpm, fed via twin Mikuni VM30SC carbs and driving through a five-speed gearbox with revised ratios. The frame was a steel tube backbone and cradle design, using an external spring telescopic fork at the front and a gusset swingarm at the rear. Brakes were effective cast alloy drums either end, with a 200mm twin-leading shoe up front and similarly sized single-leading shoe at the rear. Perhaps the most significant development concerned the clutch, relocated from the crankshaft to the transmission output shaft, eliminating much of the fragility that had hampered earlier TD1s. Yamaha began reaping the rewards, with riders all over the world winning multiple races on their new screamers, more than matching the competition from Ducati and Aermacchi, earning the Japanese company an enviable giant killer reputation. In Australia Ron Toombs scored a memorable victory at Bathurst on his yellow and red Shell-backed TD1C, a bike on loan to the National Motor Racing Museum. An improved successor, known as the TD2, arrived in 1969 with more grunt (it was rated at 44hp at 10,000rpm) from the engine. By this stage Yamaha had withdrawn from racing and it was left to privateers like Rodney Gould and Kel Carruthers to carry the torch, the former clinching the 1970 250cc World Championship on his TD2 with six wins. Yamaha’s production racers were only ever built in small numbers, the few genuine survivors now in private collections around the world and rarely offered for sale.