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Mamola remembers Yamaha's first win at Le Mans

Mamola remembers Yamaha's first win at Le Mans

Mamola remembers Yamaha's first win at Le Mans

Whilst the Le Mans circuit and the rain were two of Yamaha's most challenging obstacles last season, a combination of both proved to be anything but a problem in the factory's first win at the Bugatti circuit almost two decades ago. The eighth round of the 1987 500cc season saw Randy Mamola streak to a convincing victory over Honda's Pier Francesco Chili by some 34 seconds, his second wet weather win that season after taking the opening round at Suzuka by an even bigger margin.

"The YZR handled really well and it was always fast through the chicanes, so it was perfect for Le Mans," remembers Mamola, who went on to finish second in the championship that season to Wayne Gardner. "I'd been on the podium twice before for other factories at Le Mans so to get my first win there with Yamaha was a special honour.

"Because of its history it is hard to think of another track so synonymous with racing as Le Mans and in the modern day nobody works harder than them to create an event around the Grand Prix. The fans there are incredible and the feeling you get as they cheer you into turn one is an unforgettable experience – especially if you are leading the race!"

Mamola raced for no fewer than 14 years at the top level of Grand Prix racing and admits that signing for Yamaha's factory squad, run by his boyhood hero Kenny Roberts, was one of the highlights of his career.
"When I was a 14-year-old I earned a contract with Yamaha USA and my first race bike was a Yamaha TA125. At that time Kenny Roberts was the leading dirt-tracker in America and he was my hero. I used to ask him to sign posters for my bedroom. In 1986 I got the chance to ride for Yamaha in the World Championship and be a part of his team, so it was a dream come true for me."


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