The fastest Yamaha YL1 ever!

Category: Stories from the UK
Published Date

Many people love the Yamaha YL1 as I can read from all your reactions. Here is the amazing story of the fastest Yamaha YL1 ever constructed and World Record Holder!


The brains behind Beeline Racing was the late Bill White (passed away 07.03.07). In the late 60’s he started tuning small 2stroke engines.

Bill White

Hereunder is an early 1960's sprinter with an Italian 50 cc Itom engine, one of the quickest engines then.

Itom 50 cc Sprinter by Bill White

In 1970 he decided to build a 100cc Yamaha YL1 machine to attempt British national and hopefully world records to be ridden by his son Keith White who was already riding in sprints on a BSA C15 in the late 60’s.Bill obtained an engine from a motorcycle breakers yard and set about designing a suitable frame, rough sketches were made and then transformed to a full size drawing. The top tube (backbone) of the frame was to carry the fuel to save the weight of a tank. The frame was made of Reynolds 531 aircraft quality tubing and was constructed by Charles Smart Engineering, it had Hagon front forks, a Honda 50 front hub and a Suzuki 80 rear hub built in to alloy 17inch rims. The engine was stripped and fitted with a works race kit that was very rare at the time, a crankshaft that was built by Yamaha UK and all other available racing parts fitted.

Here the Beeline Yamaha YL1 is on its first test run, with the head cowling fitted.

Beeline Yamaha YL1 Sprinter

By the time the machine was complete it was early 1971 and it was taken to Duxford airfield in Cambridgeshire to carry out initial run up and testing. The existing British national and world record for the standing start quarter mile was held by a Parilla and was mid 17 seconds. On the first run the Yamaha recorded a 17.50 just running in and getting used to the bike and checking the handling, and by then end of the day the bike was running a low 16 second quarter.

The Beeline Yamaha YL1 goes like a rocket!

The fastest Yamaha YL1 ever!


This was incredible at the time and set Bill and Keith up for the Elvington World records weekend later in the year. By the time the records weekend was approaching the machine was fitted with 22mm Mikuni carbs and was running mid to high 15 second quarters.On the 25th of September 1971 at the Elvington records weekend Keith broke the world record with a mean time (both directions within 1 hour) of 15.545 at and average speed of 93.181 KP/H and broke all the national speed records at all distances.

This Duckhams sponsored machine went on in following years to improve the records including averaging 100 MPH over the flying quarter and eventually pushed it up to 112mph with a dustbin fairing and more tuning by Bill.

With the dustbin fairing the sprinter looked more modern and went much quicker.

This machine continued to break records until 1985.Its fastest ever run was at Elvington in 1975 with a recorded time of 14.40 with a terminal speed of 90 mph.

It currently is being restored by Bills other record breaking son Howard and will be ridden in the near future by him in Bills memory.

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