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The history of the Yamaha YZ250 is the history of motocross in America. No other machine was the platform for so many world-shaking innovations. The list of firsts goes on and on: reed valves, single-shock suspension and power valves all started with the Yamaha. There’s no telling what the history of motocross would look like if not for the YZ250 and the people behind it. But it certainly would be very, very different.On top of all the firsts, there’s a very significant last on the YZ’s resume. Today it stands as the last 250cc two-stroke from Japan. That makes it the longest-running production dirt bike in the world–maybe even the longest running motorcycle model of any kind outside of Milwaukee and Russia.Perhaps more than anything, the YZ250 is known for the legendary riders who used it to win. The list includes Gary Jones, Bob Hannah, Mike Bell, Ricky Johnson and Jeremy McGrath, to name a few Americans. In Europe, Hakan Andersson, Hakan Carlquist and even Danny LaPorte gave the YZ its early championships. THE RECORDSPerhaps one reason the YZ is so indelibly mixed with the history of American motocross is because it was developed here. The very first YZ didn’t come out of a well-lit R&D room at a Japanese factory. It was built in Southern California by Don Jones for his son Gary. Yamaha let the Jones clan go wild on the existing DT-1 two-stroke. The bike that resulted won the first AMA motocross championship, then was shipped back to Japan to become the first production YZ. Jones won two titles for Yamaha, the first ofwhich was taken from the Inter-Am series. In the meantime, the Monoshock rear suspension system was being developed in Europe by Hakan Andersson, who used it to win the 1973 250 World Championship. Pierre Karsmakers won the inaugural Supercross series for Yamaha in 1974, but the next American YZ250 champion didn’t come along until 1977, when Bob Hannah moved up to the 250 class and utterly dominated motocross for the next three years. In that time he won three Supercross titles, two outdoor championships and had a 22-moto win streak. This was, of course, the height of the works bike era, when factories were spending hundreds of thousands on exotic factory bikes. But Yamaha made a point to race production-based bikes at certain times in this period, both with Hannah and later with Rick Johnson. After Hannah broke his leg at the end of the 1979 season, Mike Bell won his lone Supercross title in 1980, Broc Glover raced and won on the 250 from time to time, although he was more closely associated with the YZ125 and YZ490.Rick Johnson’s success was legendary, but only the early years of it were with Yamaha and theYZ250. After he left, there was a void left that didn’t get filled until Damon Bradshaw came along. The most striking thing about Bradshaw’s career was his ability not to win championships despite winning races. He still sits in eighth place on the all-time Supercross win list, but doesn’t have a single national title to his credit.Jeremy McGrath is probably better known for his years at Honda, but in 1998, 1999 and 2000 he won Supercross titles on a YZ250. In that time his closest rival was fellow Yamaha YZ250 rider David Vuilliman. The last National Motocross Championship to be earned by the YZ was the 2004 Supercross title with Chad Reed. OFF-ROADThe Yamaha YZ250 was and remains a bike held in high revere by both the motocross and off-road communities. In fact, no other bike has proven so capable in both worlds. It has won three GNCC championships with Ed Lojak, Fed Andrews and Barry Hawk. It won two National Enduro titles with Randy Hawkins and Ty Davis; three WORCS championships with Davis and Nate Woods; seven National Hare Scrambles Championships with Jason Raines and Doug Blackwell, and it even contributed to a National Hare and hound title with Ty Davis, who rode the 250 in select events.If you go strictly by the numbers, the YZ is more of an off-road bike than a motocrosser. It has 15 off-road championships and only 14 motocross titles. Add them all up and the YZ is the winningist cross-platform racer in America. Own a piece of history!
Where This Motorcycle Is Located
Port Orchard » Washington » 98367