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Yamaha's history from 1955 to 2005 – Part 1

Yamaha's history from 1955 to 2005 – Part 1

Yamaha's history from 1955 to 2005 – Part 1

1955 : Yamaha's glorious Mount Fuji debut

On the morning of July 12th 1955, a handful of Yamaha YA1s were kick-started into like on the foothills of Mount Fuji, Japan's holy mountain, ready to start the gruelling Mount Fuji Ascent race. These pretty little 125 two-strokes were the first Yamahas ever to compete in a race, hardly surprising since the Yamaha Motor Company had been officially in existence for less than a fortnight. Despite this, company president Genichi Kawakami was determined that they should succeed and thus provide vital publicity for the new-born company.

To be precise, Yamaha Motor Company had been established on July 1st 1955 by parent company Nippon Gakki, best known for the manufacture of Yamaha musical instruments. The first YA1s had rolled off the production lines in February 1955, the bikes' maroon and cream fuel tanks polished to perfection by workers from Yamaha's piano division. The five-horsepower YA1s were prepared in almost standard trim for their Fuji race debut, though they were equipped with knobbly tyres for the slippery dirt tracks, covered in compacted volcanic ash.

And the YA1s did more than just succeed on Mount Fuji. After a month's intensive training over the steep, muddy 27 km / 16.7 mile course, they ran away with the race, winner Teruo Okada destroying the old race record by more than four minutes. Okada's team-mates didn't do so badly either, the other YA1s finishing third, fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth. The first chapter of Yamaha's long and illustrious racing history had been written…

MotoGP, 2005

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