Yamaha racing career of Kurt Swenson

Category: Stories from the US/Canada
Published Date

Kurt Swenson from Connecticut, USA, is telling us about his typical racing career.

I first began racing in 1981 with AAMRR on a ’75 RD350 while working at Cycle Works Yamaha in Stamford, Connecticut.  Those were great days and I was lucky enough to see many of my heroes of the era, Mike Baldwin, Rich Schlachter, Jimmy Adamo, Rino Leoni, Kurt Lentz, Dave Roper, Todd Henning, Dale Quarterly, and later Dave Sadowski, they all came from the northeast in the late seventies – early eighties and raced Loudon, New Hampshire.  My friend Hugh Delage was AAMR Formula 2 Champion in 1982 on a TZ250G with ½ a TZ750 top end.  Later that year I purchased the 1975 TZ250B that was a shop bike, formerly used by Mike Baldwin (the first photo “TZ250B” shows me on that bike in 2002 at a USCRA race at Loudon).

tz250b loudon uscra


A couple of years later I built an RD400 which I raced in the Ultra light Superbike class with the AMA/CCS. (The picture “RD400” shows me on that bike at Loudon in 1988.) That bike was a good machine; I used a Calfab aluminum swing arm, DG Head, TZ reeds, Motoplat Ignition.  In the late eighties, I gave the EX500 Kawasaki’s a pretty good run for their money.

rd400 1988 loudon


Also in that year, I bought a TZ250 C, D, E style bottom end with a pair of TR3 cylinders on it.

It was always my intention to own a TZ 350 and that bottom end was the basis for my collecting TZ350 parts over the next twenty years.

(The picture “TZ350 Pictures” shows the bike upon completion in the winter of 2008,


tz350 pictures 006



the picture ”vintagecurt” shows me on the bike at Mosport in Canada in 2009.) Over the years, I acquired parts from the UK, Australia, France and from around the USA.  A truly international machine.


In 2002, I purchased the 1991 TZ250 and continue to race that with CCS and LRRS.  Next year I will turn 50 years old so I’ll be able to race in the over 50 class.  I can’t wait.


5-classic yams photos 004 2


The 3 photos titled “Classic Yams Photos” are photos of my workshop showing the TZ’s as well as my restored RD350, YA6 and 1991 TZ250B V-Twin.  As you can see, the “75 TZ, YA6, and TZ350 are all apart.  The winters are long here in the Northeast so I am conducting rebuilds, tune ups etc…  Also in the picture are glimpses of my Bultaco's and Ducati race bike.

6-classic yams photos 001


7-classic yams photos 002


3-classic yams photos 004

While I’m certainly not a famous racing star, I love road racing and consider the Yamaha TZ’s to be the absolute best motorcycles ever made.  Ultimately, my goal is to own and race a TZ750 so if anyone has one for sale at a reasonable price, please let me know.


Thanks Ludy, if you have any questions or would like further photos, please let me know.


Kurt Swenson


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