Yamaha's of Frank Camillieri

Category: Stories from the US/Canada
Published Date

Frank Camillieri posted a few nice words on the “Guestbook” part of the website and I contacted him as I was curious about his motorcycles of course.

Dear Frank-San, we are all very interested in your bikes.  I understand you were already a racer in the 60’s, so we must be about the same vintage (I am 67). Especially the GYT kitted bikes are very interesting, as they were largely for US customers only.

Frank answered: Your site is very interesting. There is a lot of good information.

I'm 71 and got into vintage racing at 59. More fun than an old man should be allowed! My son is racing with me and that's great.

I have had all my old Yamaha GYT kit cylinders Nikasil plated and run PVL electronic ignitions.

I still have the Yamaha YA6 original GYT kit magneto which I will sell later along with the high exhaust pipe.

My YA6 now has 2 carburettors, the 26mm on the rotary valve and another 26mm on a reed valve that feeds into the crankcase.

I also made new gears for 4th so it only drops 1000rpm when you shift. I had a dry clutch but it ran with the original clutch gear which seems to be iron and it broke. I'm going to try to make some straight cut gears for my next dry clutch. I had Barnett Company make me some friction plates for my YCS1 dry clutch but I used some old aluminium plates on the YA6.

My Yamaha CT2 also has a dry clutch and I used RS125 plates but had to make a new clutch basket to fit them.

My next project is going to be a Can Am 400 in a frame that I hope will weigh about the same as my 200 but will have 50hp. should be fun!

I have to call Tony Murphy about some motor parts for it. I haven't spoken to him since we raced in the 60's, so we have to re-call some old stories!

My site has a picture of the frame I'll be making for the 400. I have an RS125 fork for it.

Lately I've also started thinking about my son's KTM 175. I already drew up a frame for it.

So many projects and so little time!

Regards, Frank


I answered: The old Yamaha engineers would turn in their respective graves when they knew their simple YA6 would have 2 carburettors 40 years later.....!


Frank Camillieri’s site is: http://camillieri.com/


Imagine, this is very different from the standard Yamaha YA-6 from the mid-1960's!

It really looks (and is) a beautiful Clubman's racer.

yamaha ya6 racer


Here the Yamaha YA6 has already the new frame but still has its original single carburettor.

After the picture has been taken the front fork has been changed and the chassis has been raised in order to get more exhaust chamber clearance.

yamaha ya6 racer

After that frank Camillieri rolled his sleeves and started working on the simple rotary valve Yamaha YA-6 engine. The engine castings were heavily modified for the planned second carburettor construction. The added inlet tract on the cylinder can be seen here.

yamaha ya6 racer crankcases


2 Carburettors on a simple Yamaha 125 cc utility machine; what an achievement!

yamaha ya6 racer crankcases


The adaptor for the reed-valve second carburettor is under construction.

yamaha ya6 racer


One of the pictures from Frank's scrapbook. Daytona 1969, that is 40 years ago........!

This excellent photo is the start of the combined Amateur/Expert 250 cc race at Daytona in 1969. Frank Camillieri was still an Amateur but won a heat race. All the real fast guys were in other heats. Frank has number #190

daytona 1969 250 cc race


Frank's Yamaha TD1C at the Laconia track Amateur/Expert 250 cc race, also in 1969

His number is # 190 of course.

laconia 1969 250 cc race


Frank says: Please note that all the factory guys had newer models we couldn't get. It was my last year as an Amateur. Two years later I was given National Number #33. It was the only year they gave numbers according to how you finished the previous year. The AMA counted points for dirt track and Road-race so the guys that ran both got more points. I think I only raced

3 AMA races that year!


Frank’s career as a road racer is quite a story!


I first rode for Boston Cycles, which was owned by John Jacobson, in

1965 and went on to work there in 1970. I quit in 1976 and have worked for myself ever since. Our shop site is at http://stonemachine.com/ my son and son-in-law run the shop now. I come in and work on our bikes and sometimes do some shop work.

Our first TD1B had the red/orange tank which I liked better than the later tanks. The stingers were always vibrating off those pipes until we learned how to reinforce them. All my exhaust systems hang on reinforced strips of rubber; they never crack!


yamaha td1b at marlboro md 1966

The TD1B is the first one that Boston Cycles got in 1965. I won the AAMRR 250 championship and rode with #1 in 1966. Here Frank races the machine in 1966 at Marlboro MD.


yamaha yetman td1 frame

The Yetman frame is the first special frame Frank used on the TD1 and he still owns it.


kevin cameron working on my td1c

I've known Kevin Cameron since he was a student at Harvard in 1964. He was my mechanic for a while and we are still good friends. He always made sure that my bikes ran faultless.


yamaha td1c at mosport in canada

The TD1C at Mosport circuit in Canada. It has the Bo Gerhing disc brake that used Airheart go-kart components. I still have them.


yamaha td1c  2007

The white TD1C is how it looks now (2007). The original tank was smashed and I'm trying to repair it. That picture was taken at the 30th reunion of the 1967 Canadian GP. I saw Michelle Duff there. Her memory of old races is amazing.



frank camillieri looking over hailwoods shoulder

That's me over Mike Hailwood’s shoulder! I finished 5th and Hailwood and Ivy lapped me. That was at the 1967 Canadian GP. But whatever the race, not many people can say that they were 5th behind Mike Hailwood!


yamaha ct1 at loudon

I haven’t ridden the CT1 for a while, too many other bikes to ride !I have a 6 speed gearbox that I will try to modify to fit and then I may ride it again. It has a head I made after I couldn't find an MX head. It's not hard when you have the proper tools like I have. This is a lovely conversion from an off-road bike to a competitive racer. Never seen that in Europe! The Yamaha CT-1 is pictured here at the Loudon track.


chasing a bsa500 with the yamaha srx in singles race

Frank Camillieri purchased a Yamaha SRX600 new in 1986 and started racing it about 5 years ago. It's our only "modern" bike. Here he chases a BSA 500 with his Yamaha SRX600.


yamaha srx6 at loudon

The only change has been the exhaust because I had to make room for the oil catch pan. I used an old Norton Commando muffler, one of many I saved from the warranty dept at Boston Cycles. It has had nothing done to it except oil changes! It may be on its 2nd or 3rd spark plug. We have never even checked the valves or timing. We call it "Old Reliable". I use it mostly now for the Super Masters (over 60) class or when the other bikes won't run...or get crashed! Here the Yamaha SRX6 is heeled over at the Loudon track.



This is the only time I beat Dave Roper in the dry... at Frontierland. Of course I was on my TZ350 and had 30HP more than him. The other times I beat him were in a downpour and I was on an under powered 500 Triumph that couldn't spin its wheels in the wet!”


yamaha tz350

I sold that Yamaha TZ before I could hurt myself. It was too fast for this old guy.

It was fun but things happen awful fast at the speeds that thing would do.


yamaha yetman yl1 in 1967

The Yamaha YL-1 with the original Yamaha GTY kit is of course one of my nicest bikes. Original picture of the Yetman-framed machine way back in 1967.


yamaha yl1 at nelsons ledges ohio 1967

The Yamaha YL-1 racer at Nelsons Ledges in Ohio, in 1967. It is easy to lift the bike.....!


yamaha yl1 racer

The little Yamaha still looks very good today!


My friend's daughter is pretty fast and normally rides a very fast 350cc Honda. She's just getting used to a tiny machine and it goes pretty good with someone who weighs 40 pounds less than me.

a friends daughter riding my yamaha yl1

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