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Yamaha Classic Racing Team commit to TT Centenary celebrations

Author: Department of Tourism and Leisure
Posted on: Tuesday, Mar 20 2007

The Yamaha Classic Racing Team have confirmed their attendance and participation in all of the 2007 Isle of Man TT Nostalgic events, and with a mightily impressive array of both riders and machines, their inclusion adds even further interest to the already excellent attendees.

The extremely well known and highly respected Ferry Brouwer owns the Team and the Dutchman will be bringing with him his vast array of highly prestigious and valuable collection of Yamaha machinery, all priceless items from the 1960’s and 1970’s. The bikes are some of the finest two stroke machines from their generation and took countless riders to both individual and championship glory. In all, Ferry will have eight of his machines out in the Parades and he has also assembled an incredible line-up of racing talent to pilot them.

Chas Mortimer (GB – 1969 350cc RR08A Yamaha)
Son of a former Brooklands racer, Chas Mortimer was one of the most successful British riders of the 1970’s, not only at the TT but also in the World Championships, both as a works Yamaha rider and a fledgling privateer. His career begun in 1965 when just a teenager but by 1969 he had already taken his first British title. He immediately progressed into the World Championships and took his first GP win in the 1971 Lightweight 125cc TT race, a year after his first victory on the Mountain Circuit, the 1970 250cc Production TT.

Between 1970 and 1976, he never finished outside the top 8 in at least one of the 125cc, 250cc or 350cc World Championships and he continued to have success on the Isle of Man including victories in the 1974 Formula 750cc race, 1975 250cc race and 1976 350cc race. His final victory at the TT came in the 1978 Junior 350cc race, a year in which he also clinched his second British Championship, the 250cc title.

In all Mortimer took 9 TT wins, 7 GP wins and 38 GP podiums, in a fine career, which finally ended after the 1984 TT. However, now, 56 Mortimer is a regular on the Classic scene and can still be seen racing his Manx Norton at various events.

Rodney Gould (GB – 1972 250cc YZ635 Yamaha)
Oxfordshire’s Rodney Gould begun racing in 1961 and after establishing himself on the British Championships he made his TT debut in 1967. Just a year later he placed 5th in the Lightweight 250cc race and took his first podium two years later, finishing 2nd in the same race. 1970 proved to be his most successful year of racing as he took no less than 6 GP wins on his way to the 250cc World Championship. He finished runner up a year later and went on take 4th in the 1971 250cc TT race and 2nd in 1972.

After finishing 4th in the 1972 250cc World Championship, Gould retired from racing and took up a position at Yamaha’s headquarters where he was responsible for their racing operations and all aspects of public relations. The 64-year old, who won 10 GP’s and took 34 podium finishes, now resides in Spain.

Dieter Braun (Germany – 1972 350cc YZ634 Yamaha)
German rider Dieter Braun was a regular on the Grand Prix scene between 1968 and 1977 and was one of the most successful riders ever from his homeland. After taking second in the 125cc World Championship in 1969, he took his first crown the following year after racking up 4 wins. This included the Lightweight 125cc TT race, the only year that he raced on the Isle of Man. Top class finishes ensued in all classes over the next 6 years and 4 wins in the 1973 250cc series helped him clinch his second World Championship. He also took 2nd in the 1974 250cc and 350cc titles and 3rd in the 1975 250cc championship.

Braun’s last GP win came in 1976 when he took the 250cc race at Opatija in Yugoslavia, the scene of many of his successes. After two world titles, 14 GP wins and 49 podium finishes, Dieter’s career ended at the age of 34 after a serious accident at the 1977 Austrian GP at Salzburgring. He did eventually make a full recovery and returns to the Island after a long absence.

Kel Carruthers (Australia)
Kelvin Carruthers had his first race back in 1954 at Bathurst and for the next 11 years he contested the full range of 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc Australian Championships, taking no less than 7 titles. In 1966 he came over to Europe and finished 18th on his TT debut in the Junior 350cc race. Just two years later he took his first podium when he finished 3rd in the same race on his Aermacchi and he attracted support from the Italian Benelli factory for his 1969 championship challenge.

The move paid dividends as he took 3 GP wins, including the Lightweight 250cc TT race, on his way to clinching the 250cc World Championship. He repeated his TT win in 1970 but despite 4 wins in the title chase he was forced to settle for 2nd behind Gould, also finishing 2nd in the 350cc championship. He then quit the European scene and spent the next three years racing in America eventually retiring at the end of the 1973 season.

Carruthers then concentrated on running the factory Yamaha team and returned to Europe in 1978 with Kenny Roberts, the duo going on to take three successive 500cc World Championships. He was also chief mechanic for the Marlboro Yamaha team and took three more World Championships with Eddie Lawson in 1984, 1986 and 1988. Now 69, Kel continues to live in California and is a popular returnee to the TT.

Michelle (Mike) Duff (Canada – 1965 125cc RA97 Yamaha)
Canadian rider Duff set sail from Montreal to Liverpool in 1960 and had his first race on European soil at the North West 200 race. A month later he made his TT debut and although out of luck in the Senior race he became a permanent fixture on the results sheets until he returned to his homeland in 1968.

Duff soon established himself as one of the leading privateers on the Continental Circus and his first leaderboard finish at the TT came in 1962 when he placed 5th in the Junior race on his AJS. Fourth and sixth in the Senior and Junior followed the next year and he was then snapped up by the works Yamaha team for the 1964 season as the Japanese marque stepped up their campaign. His first GP win came in the 250cc Belgian GP that year and he ended the season 2nd overall in the 350cc series, 4th in the 250cc and 4th in the 500cc. 1965 saw a similar season and he scored two more GP victories at Assen and Imatra, ending the year 2nd in the 250cc Championship and 6th in the 125cc.

Duff remained with Yamaha for 1966 but after a disappointing year he switched to privateer machinery for 1967 before returning to Canada for two more seasons of racing. Duff retired at the end of 1969 with 3 GP wins and 23 podiums to his name along with 4 TT podiums. Now living life as a woman, 67-year old Duff is a regular on the Classic parade scene.

Three other riders make up the Yamaha Classic Racing Team, these being Dutchmen, Jan Kostwinder (2nd in the 1973 Lightweight 125cc TT race, 6th in 1974) and Jos Schurgers (3rd overall in the 1971 50cc and 1973 125cc World Championships, 1 time GP winner and 11 times podium finisher) and former 5 times Danish Champion Svend Andersson.

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