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The Yamaha YZ125 might be the number one motocross bike in the world. Actual production numbers are hard to estimate, but the YZ125 and 250 have had the longest production runs of any dedicated dirt bikes, starting in 1974 and continuing to this day. And in that time both sold well, making them the prime contenders for the title of earth’s biggest selling MX bikes.Even more amazing is the YZ125’s current run as king of the 125s, which has continued for about 15 years. To this day, the YZ continues to get the nod as the best bike in its class. With a light make-over in 2015, the little YZ sits in Yamaha’s line as the perfect bridge to the big leagues, as well as being an excellent final destination in anyone’s moto career. Few bikes have made such a great impact on the careers of so many riders as well as on motocross itself. THE HISTORY BOOKDespite being the sole survivor of the once flourishing Japanese 125 class, the YZ has never been dominant on the pro level. In its earliest years, Yamaha’s effort was concentrated on the bigger bikes. While Gary Jones, Pierre Karsmakers, Jimmy Weinert and Marty Tripes rode works versions of the YZ250 and YZ360, the 125 was seen as more of an amateur bike. That changed in 1974 when the AMA gave the 125 class its own official championship. The only problem was a high school kid named Marty Smith who absolutely dominated the new class on a Honda for the first two years. In that period the highlight for Yamaha was Tim Hart, who gave the works version of the YZ125 its first national win in the final race of 1974, then followed it up by winning the soggy season opener in 1975. That was the only race in 1975 that Marty Smith didn’t win. Everything changed in 1976 with the coming of Bob Hannah. He was hired, along with Danny Turner, to take on Smith, and what resulted was one of the most epic battles in the history of American MX. Hannah was supplied with the OW27, a water-cooled works Yamaha 125, and he used it to dominate the first races of the year. Smith came back with his own exotic works Honda, but never recaptured his form from ’75. When it was all over, Yamaha earned its first 125 National Championship. Even better, the production bike was beginning to see some influence from Yamaha’s racing success and was improving rapidly. The years between 1976 and 1979 saw Yamaha’s greatest success in the 125 Pro class. Next it was Broc Glover’s turn to fly the 125 flag. He won three straight 125 National Championships for Yamaha before moving up to the bigger bikes. Then came a long period when Yamaha was pushed to the background in the 125 class. From 1981 until 1992, the YZ125 and its works cousins had little impact in pro racing. In that period Ron Lechien, Keith Bowen, Damon Bradshaw and Doug Henry gave Yamaha a handful of wins but no championships. Jeff Emig put an end to the drought by winning six of the 11 races in 1992 to take the title. Own a piece of history!
Where This Motorcycle Is Located
Port Orchard » Washington » 98367