Archive for the ‘meet the rider’ Category

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Bruno Kneubuhler

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

1. What was, in your opinion, your single biggest achievement as a roadracer?
Most memorable for me is my Grand Prix win in Barcelona in 1972 during my first season

2. If you compare racing then and now, what has changed and what is still the same?
It was all more fun as one big family. Nowadays the salary is more important. Money has changed everything.

3. What was your favorite racing bike, favorite track and favorite public?
Honda RS500, Assen and also the spectators in Assen.

4. As a boy, did you had a role model? Who was you racing hero if any?
When i was 18 years old I had a Kreidler Florett. My hero was Bill Ivy.

5. Looking back, what was your biggest disappointment in racing?
Monza 1973, the terrible crash during the 2nd lap.

6. Why are you attracted to classic parading?
Because of my past as a GP Rider.

7. What was your all-time favorite racing bike then, and what classic racing bike now?
Yamaha TZ350.

8. Do you have a special bond with Yamaha and why?
In 1973 at the Yamaha headquarters in Amsterdam, I was a works rider together with Kent Anderson.

9. Why do you ride for the YCRT?
My longtime friendly relationship with Ferry, the old bikes, the sound and the professional treatment of the bikes.

10. What’s your opinion about the future, and your role in it, of classic parading?
I hope that I will be able to ride the bikes for a very long time, and that more and more spectators can enjoy these events.

Posted in meet the rider | 32 Comments »

PENTTI KORHONEN

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1. What was, in your opinion, your single biggest achievement as a roadracer?
Of course I (we) remember victories as -75, 350 ccm Yugoslavian GP. -74, 750 ccm Fim Price Finland. -77, 24 hour Barcelona Montjuich Spain … but roadracing gave me friends all over the world, I was able to travel different countries, see museums, culture etc. to understand different people and religions
2. If you compare racing then and now, what has changed and what is still the same?
Old good days we had time for each others having for example BQ and it was not so serious job as now days, we rent spare parts and we got help from “enemies”, on track big fights but after that we were very close friends. ( we really were a BIG family)

3. What was your favorite racing bike, favorite track and favorite public?
TZ 350 for sure, Assen was nice and fast and well organized, Dutch public because they are so keen of racing and they are interested in it and they know so much of technique of bikes and they know all riders very well

4. As a boy, did you had a role model? Who was you racing hero if any?
Jarno Saarinen, because he was fantastic rider, one of the few, who could design motorbikes being engineer Giagomo Agostini being sovereign rider and very good businessman, Mike Hailwood riding so fast and smooth

5. Looking back, what was your biggest disappointment in racing?
74 Spanish GP Barcelona Montjuich I was in 350 very fast in training and I was easily leading the race till last lap when just some hundreds of meters before finish line my Regina chains cut and I never finished

6. Why are you attracted to classic parading?
Feeling the old style atmosphere, sounds of real motorbikes without silencers, admiring the work of -60,-70s engineering’s 4,5 even 6-cylinder engines with 20.000 RPM. Our kids (daughter Nita and son Aku) have been very angry for us, why they were not born earlier so they could have been able to enjoy racing places and times. Now we can show also for them something from old times and feelings.

7. What was your all-time favorite racing bike then, and what classic racing bike now?
The first 350 TZ, it was very good to handle and technically so close to works bikes (exept weight)

8. Do you have a special bond with Yamaha and why?
I got really good help from Finnish Yamaha importer Arwidson, it was not sponsoring, it was help like from friend to friend

9. Why do you ride for the YCRT?
I never forget 4-cylinders (Yamaha) sounds of Ivy and Read in Imatra when I was (maybe 14 years old) spectator there and I have got in YCRT opportunity to drive 4-cylinder RR08A and other special works bikes. I thought earlier that paddock life is over, but I have got back the feeling, people and atmosphere again

10. What’s your opinion about the future, and your role in it, of classic parading?
I would be very happy, if I could be official member of YCRT still for many years. I feel that people in all over the Europe need YCRT, it is giving lot of memories for older people and it gives history information for younger fellows.

Posted in meet the rider | 34 Comments »

STEVE BAKER

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Steve Baker (born September 5, 1952 in Bellingham, Washington) is an American former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. Steve was the first American to win a road racing world championship when he won the 1977 Formula 750 title.
As so many succesful American road racers, Steve began his career racing on the dirt track ovals of the Pacific Northwest. He then switched to road racing and began competing in Canada, becoming a three-time Canadian champion. His good results earned him a factory sponsored ride with the Yamaha factory team for the 1977 season. He began the year by winning the prestigious Daytona 200 before travelling to Europe to compete in the world championships.
After Kenny Robert (1974) and Pat Hennen (1976), Steve was the third American rider to enter the Grand Prix World Championship in 1977 as a member of the Yamaha Moto Co. factory team, together with Johnny Cecotto.A third factory works bike was entered by the Team Api Marlboro with Gioacomo Agostini as star rider.That year Steve he won the Formula 750 title and finished second to Barry Sheene in the 500cc world championship. He was released by the Yamaha team after the season and competed in the 1978 championship on a privately supported Suzuki. At the end of that season, Baker suffered a devastating accident at the Mosport circuit in Canada that left him with a broken arm and shattered his left leg. Afterwards, he decided to retire from competitive racing, an end to a relatively short, but extremely intense racing career. Afterwards, he purchased a motorcycle dealership in his hometown of Bellingham. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.
In 2007 Steve Baker returned to the racing tracks as a regular team member of the YCRT and has since become, again, a strong favorite of the European public that has always retained a soft spot for the sympathetic American. Ten questions:

1. What was, in your opinion, your single biggest achievement as a roadracer?
Winning the 1977 750cc Championship.

2. If you compare racing then and now, what has changed and what is still the same?
So many things have changed!. One thing that stays the same: a rider and
his machine and a team to get most out of the machine for there rider.

3. What was your favorite racing bike, favorite track and favorite public?
My favorite racing bike is a Yamaha OW-31,my favorite track is
Imola, racing fans in Europe are fantastic!

4. As a boy, did you had a role model?
Who was you racing hero if any. I had an admiration for many riders in my younger years. They were dirttrack riders from the U.S., riders like Dick Mann, Gene Romero, GaryNixon I never expected to race against them but in a few years I was
next to some of them on the starting line.

5. Looking back, what was your biggest disappointment in racing?
Not winning a 500 Grand Prix.

6. Why are you attracted to classic parading?
The wonderful racing machines of the 1970′s and a chance to meet
people that share my passion for Yamaha racing motorcycles and the
excitement of riding those great bikes.

7. What was your all-time favorite racing bike then, and what classic racing bike now?
I am very fortunate to have raced 125,250,350,500,750,Yamaha race
bikes. My all time favorite is the Yamaha OW-31 however.

8. Do you have a special bond with Yamaha and why?
At 12 years old I my first bike was a Yamaha 50cc, my first race bike
for dirt track was a 100cc Yamaha. I worked for the local Yamaha
dealer, then at 18 years old I raced for Trev Deeley, a Yamaha Distributer
for Canada. Yamaha is part of me.

9. Why do you ride for the YCRT?
For me it is like a dream come true to ride those fantastic bikes and
be part of YCRT is a great gift.

10. What’s your opinion about the future, and your role in it, of classic parading?
In 2007 I attended my first classic event. It was fantastic the racing
bikes from the 60′s and 70′s again and riders from those times make a really
special event. I hope the public and promoters feel the same excitement as
I do. I hope to be parading for many years and be part of YCRT, thank
you Margriet & Ferry Brouwer!

Posted in meet the rider | 34 Comments »

JOS SCHURGERS

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Dutchman Jos Schurgers (born February 18, 1947, Haarlem) is a former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer from who had his most successful seasons in 1971 when he finished the 125cc season in third place behind Jan de Vries and Angel Nieto, and in 1973 when he won the Belgian Grand Prix and finished again in third place, this time to Kent Andersson and Chas Mortimer. His first GP was the 50cc round of the Dutch TT and on the same track Jos ended is racing career in 1975 in the 125 cc class.
Jos Schurgers was however especially known for his Bridgestone 125 racer, a machine he build him himself because it was to only way to get a competitive racer with a small budget. In 1971 Jos had a good season with the 50 cc Van Veen Kreidler racers. For the ’72 season no Van Veen was available to hum anymore, and Jos decided to start in the 125 class. He bought a Japanese 125 cc Bridgestone road bike which he tuned together with the legendary Jörg Möller. Jos build his own fairing and the result was the number nine position in the final GP standings. In 1973 he even managed to conquer the third overall position in the final ranking. Nowadays Jos has his own business, Schurgers Design, together with his son Jarno. Ten questions:

1. What was, in your opinion, your single biggest achievement as a roadracer?

To win the Belgian GP in 1973 on Francorchamps and the third place in the final ranking of the world championship that year with my Bridgestone 125 cc racer. No mean feat with a very limited budget that was compensated by an enormous passion, both in developing the Bridgestone and in racing it.

2. If you compare racing then and now, what has changed and what is still the same?

There has been a tremendous progress in technology, horsepower, torque, tires, compound and frame and suspension development. But also in telemetrics and data collecting, then there are the modern permanent tracks, very safe with excellent accommodations for teams, media and sponsors alike. But it is my strong opinion that the when you look at the sole performance of the top riders then an d now, there is no difference. The goal is still the same: to get the most out of the combinational machines and track!

3. What was your favorite racing bike, favorite track and favorite public?

As a rider my 125 cc Bridgestone, as my dream de fourcilinder 125 cc Yamaha used by Read and Ivy before my own racing career took off. I loved fast tracks such as Francorchamps and Sachsenring, but surely also Assen. The (East-) German public is by far my favorite one! Very passionate and true admirerers of technology and riders. Still I receive several request for photo’s every year from the former DDR.

4. As a boy, did you had a role model? Who was you racing hero if any.

As a ten years old boy I raced the sidewalks with my pedal bike, imaging I was Hailwood, Agostini, Read or Ivy because they were my heroes.

5. Looking back, what was your biggest disappointment in racing?

That must be in 1973, when I lost my third position I the very last lap because of some insignificant technical problem. Later I lost my certain second place in the final World Champion standings because I performed really badly in the Spanish Grand Prix because of a food poisoning I caught in the evening before the race. I still ended third, but it was all a hugh disillusion for me.

6. Why are you attracted to classic parading?

The racing passion has never left me. But the fire was really let because of the Centennial TT in 1998 that Ferry Brouwer organized. And I was certainly not the only racer, together with the massive crowd, who discovered that the passion was still there. I really have to thank Ferry for that! To be reunited and racing with your racing bike after 35 years, how much better can it get?

7. What was your all-time favorite racing bike then, and what classic racing bike now?

In general the multi cilinder fourstrokes like the MV Agusta three and four cylinders bikes. Also the sound of the Honda four, five and six cylinders has been ‘’burned’’ into my brain. That is why I like to parade the Yamaha 250 cc fourstroke so very much. Just the opportunity the revive that fantastic sound and riding the bike. The same goes for the 125 cc fourcilinder that Read and Ivy used, brilliant technology of the past and after 40 years still fascinating to ride!

8. Do you have a special bond with Yamaha and why?

In the seventies I used a 350 cc Yamaha twin for practice and I have made and incredible amount of racing kilometers with that bike. And in the Spanish 1973 GP I rode a 250 cc two cylinder Yamaha.

9. Why do you ride for the YCRT?

Because of my friendship with Ferry Brouwer, a relation that goes way back to the seventies. I was honored that ferry asked me to parade some of his machines, especially the 50, 125 and 250 cc racers.

10. What’s your opinion about the future, and your role in it, of classic parading?

If possible, I would love to continue parading these fantastic machines. And I always very much enjoy the enthusiasm of the public, when we take them back for a trip into racing memory lane!

Posted in meet the rider | 34 Comments »

SVEND ANDERSSON

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Danish rider Svend Andersson (born June 8, 1955) starting racing in 1975 with a Yamaha TR3. His Grand Prix debut was in 1976 on a 500 cc Yamaha and in total Svend started in eighteen Grand Prix races, all on Yamaha in the 250m 350 and 500 cc class. He conquered the Danish national road racing title no less than five times, three times in the 350 and two times in the 250 cc class. Nowadays Svend is a regular performer within the YCRT and a well known a popular face among the crowds.

1. What was, in your opinion, your single biggest achievement as a roadracer?
Winning my first national 350 cc championship, back in 1976 with very little experience and beating many of my childhood heroes in the process.

2. If you compare racing then and now, what has changed and what is still the same?

Quite a few things have changed. The two strokes are almost non- existing anymore and that is very sad indeed. All racing bikes are nowadays big capacity fourstrokes, with rider’s aid from computers. I can only guess what it is to ride such a bike, but I am pretty sure that the sensation when the visor is down is the same: when the flag drops you are on your own. No difference then and now!

3. What was your favorite racing bike, favorite track and favorite public?

My favorite racing bike is a TZ 350 A/B twinshock. It is very demanding bike to ride and brings a lot of satisfaction when you can handle it, which is not always easy! My favorite track is Mantorp in Sweden. It has a good variation of fast and slow corners and is a joy to ride on. A favorite public? I don’t really have one, I appreciate them all as they are very important.

4. As a boy, did you had a role model? Who was you racing hero if any.

My interest in road racing started at a very young age and at the time the big stars were riders like Phil Read, Bill Ivy and Giacomo Agostini and as such they were my role models and heroes along with my elder brother Erik, who was a very good rider in his days.

5. Looking back, what was your biggest disappointment in racing?

No real disappointments. With the amount of talent and the amount of money I could spent on racing I am grateful for what I achieved!

6. Why are you attracted to classic parading?

There are many aspects, like meeting old friends and make new ones. I also find a lot of satisfaction in restoring old Yamaha racing bikes and then, of course, riding them now and then is also a great pleasure.

7. What was your all-time favorite racing bike then, and what classic racing bike now?

Back then it was the Yamaha TZ350. Nowadays Ferry Brouwer let me ride several different works bikes which is very exiting. Maybe riding the RD50 and the 250V4 has been the biggest experience for me now that I am involved in classic racing. Therefore thousand thanks to Margriet and ferry for taking me into the team and for all the wonderful time spent with the YCRT!

8. Do you have a special bond with Yamaha and why?

I used to work at the Danish Yamaha importer back in the days when it was run by Franz Kroon. Franz was a very good rider and he took me under his wings when I started racing and those were wonderful days.

9. Why do you ride for the YCRT?

For anybody who wants to be involved with classic racing, being part of the YCRT must be the top of the pile and for me it is therefore fantastic.

10. What’s your opinion about the future, and your role in it, of classic parading?

Look at the enthusiasm from fellow riders, collectors and not in the last place the spectators, I think the future of classic parading looks very bright. Being at meetings remind me a little of the atmosphere in the good old days and therefore I think classic racing has all the ingredients to grow even bigger in the future. About my role in it: I can only hope that I can contribute with some hopefully good restoration jobs and riding.

Posted in meet the rider | 22 Comments »

DIETER BRAUN

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Dieter Braun (born February 2, 1943 in Ulm, Germany) is probably one the best know German Grand Prix riders of all times. He won the FIM world title twice: in 1970 he conquered the 125 cc title on Suzuki, in 1973 he rode a Yamaha TZ250 to the 250cc FIM world championship. What makes this performance even more astonishing is the fact that Dieter Braun did it without official factory support!

Dieter Braun is remembered for an incident that occurred immediately after he won the 1971 East German Grand Prix. As the West German national anthem was being played during the winner’s ceremony, the East German crowd began singing the words to the anthem. The East German government reacted by making the following year’s East German Grand Prix an invitation only race, and in 1973, the race was stricken from the Grand Prix calendar.
Dieter Braun’s active racing career ended after a serious accident at the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix at the Salzburgring. Nowadays Dieter is a highly appreciated member of the YCRT, pleasing the crowd wherever he rides.

1. What was, in your opinion, your single biggest achievement as a roadracer?
To be 250 cc World Champion in 1973, because I was riding a production machine.

2. If you compare racing then and now, what has changed and what is still the same?
The technology is much more expensive and complicated. The rider is still the most important part.

3. What was your favorite racing bike, favorite track and favorite public?
My favorite bike was and is the Yamaha TZ 350. Favorite Track was Opatija. Favorit Public was and is Sachsenring.

4. As a boy, did you had a role model? Who was you racing hero if any?
When I watched my first GP 1964, it was Mike Hailwood.

5. Looking back, what was your biggest disappointment in racing?
The crash 1977 in Salzburg on my private TZ 350, because the reason for it was not me, it was the Harley Davidson of Franco Uncini .My injury was so severe, so I couldn’t continue my career. At that time I had a contract signet with Kawasaki and the real works machine 250 cc was already waiting for me in the workshop in Inning. Unfortunately the 250 cc class was not scheduled for Salzburg, so I did my last race with my Yamaha’s.

6. Why are you attracted to classic parading?
I love to ride the classic machine’s, to please the public, to meet my old friends and the new friends in our team.

7. What was your all-time favorite racing bike then, and what classic racing bike now?
Yamaha TZ 350, the last edition with disc brakes.

8. Do you have a special bond with Yamaha and why?
Yes I have, because I had the most success and fun with my Yamahas!

9. Why do you ride for the YCRT?
Because I love and I appreciate the members of the team , the splendid preparation of the bikes and the fine the organization of everything.

10. What’s your opinion about the future, and your role in it, of classic parading?
Currently I hope to continue another year like we did already, but I am a little disappointed about the mixture of the machines in the events by the organizers. It should be separated in machines from 1972 and 77 and later. There are to big differences in suspension, brakes, power and so on.

Posted in meet the rider | 35 Comments »

RODNEY GOULD

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Rodney Gould (March 10, 1943) began racing in 1961 and made his first Isle of Man TT appearance in 1967. He won the 1970 FIM 250cc World Championship on a Yamaha . After finishing fourth in the 250 class in 1972, Gould retired from competition and took a position as Yamaha’s European racing manager. Today Rodney is highly appreciated team member of the YCRT. Ten questions:

1. What was, in your opinion, your single biggest achievement as a roadracer?
Naturally, when I became the 1970 250cc World Champion.

2. If you compare racing then and now, what has changed and what is still the same?
I can only speak for the 60’s & 70’s but at that time Grand Prix racing was very very dangerous, I lost many friends due to circuits that had not been changed from the 1930’s, we always raced with the knowledge that if a mistake was made or we had a mechanical problem we could pay with our life, and because a “GP Super license” did not exist here were many riders in GPs at that time who would have been better in club racing.

The controlling body, the FIM, were totally un-professional, had very little understanding of the sport, the circuit organizers, were greedy and totally un-responsive to any requests.

The greatest thing that has happened to Grand Prix racing is that it is now run by a professional organization, who have only two things in mind, what is good for the riders and what is best for “the show” (they also make a good profit), the FIM have little influence in Moto GP, the circuits have to comply with Moto GP requirements or they do not have a GP.

3. What was your favorite racing bike, favorite track and favorite public?
Naturally I would say Yamaha, however without the 500cc & 350cc Manx Nortons many riders, myself included could not have been so successful. Circuits, Mallory Park and Brands Hatch UK, many races each year with thousands of spectators at each meeting.

4. As a boy, did you had a role model? Who was you racing hero if any.
Geoff Duke

5. Looking back, what was your biggest disappointment in racing?
Not winning the 1971 250cc World Championship, lost by only 5 points, now I can’t understand why.

6. Why are you attracted to classic parading?
Two main reasons, firstly it is a unique opportunity for GP riders of the 60’s & 70’s to give something back to the public who supported them 40 years ago, with the “open pits” we can meet and sign many books and photographs that have been in collections for 40 years and secondly it enables the riders to “re-live” their youth, same bikes, same circuits, same people, not many of us have that chance.

7. What was your all-time favorite racing bike then, and what classic racing bike now?
Of course the Yamaha TD250, it is still a fantastic machine that gave many riders there chance to “go racing” on a small budget.

8. Do you have a special bond with Yamaha and why?
I first became involved with Yamaha when I rode a TD1C for Yamaha International at Willow Springs in California 1967, then Yamaha/Bultaco used in 1968 Gp,s, the first TD250 & TD350 in 1969, and then riding for Yamaha NV 1970/1&2, after which I retired from racing to join Yamaha Motor NV in Holland.

9. Why do you ride for the YCRT?
Thanks to Ferry, who invited me to join the team in 2007 I was able to ride the 250 & 350 Yamaha machines again (after 37 years) and the YCRT is unique amongst the classic teams because it can re-unite more World Champions and top riders with their winning machines than any other team. This, I am sure, is what the spectators want to see, the spectators also can “re live” their youth.

10. What’s your opinion about the future, and your role in it, of classic parading?
I would like to continue the classic parading as long as I am able (and as long as Ferry allows me) for all the reasons I have mentioned.
There are many classic racing machines available from the 80’s & 90’s but I do not think that many of the World Champions from that period will take part in Classic Parades, the events could turn into laps of very interesting machines ridden by riders that not so many people remember, which is not quite the same as now.

Posted in meet the rider | 34 Comments »

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