It appears that many of you are very interested in the Yamaha AS1 and AS3 racers. Many were built, especially in Europe.
With the readily available GYT racing kit parts many guys took the grinder and welding torch and starting building their special 125 cc Yamaha's. Here in the Netherlands the 50 cc class was already extremely popular, so the little more than "twin fifty" Yamaha 125 racer created deep interest immediately. Following pictures give (I do hope) a good impression of these machines.
One can say that it all started when "Motorcycle News" showed this picture from a racing YL1 in their Sept. 13th, 1967 issue.
The AS1 was naturally a further development of the YL1. The strong engine base was the same, the cycleparts were much more sporty than the pressed utility YL1 frame.
No wonder that it was every youngster's dream in Europe, especially in countries like France, which had a favorable 125 cc licence class.
You have seen the GYT kit for the AS1 already on other pages, but it belongs here as well.
This is the original AS1 GYT kitted racer as published by Yamaha France at the occasion of Yamaha's 50th Anniversary. It is really a stock machine, minus some excessive parts of course.
Here we have an early example from a Dutch built AS1 racer.
It still has the original cast-iron cylinders and breathes through Dell'Orto carburettors.
Ceriani front forks as the fashion dictated.
A steering damper was fitted as well.
The Yamaha Autolube system was removed in order to facilitate things.
This British AS1 kitted production racer had a price tag of 650 Pounds Sterling.
Cees van Dongen from the Netherlands (he was Chief Mechanic at the Dutch Yamaha Importer) campaigned the Yamaha AS1 from the beginning with much success. His very sleek MRTN (Motor Racing Team Netherlands) Yamaha went like a rocket!
Already very soon Cees crafted a nicely made dry clutch for the AS1.
Here we have the "Motorpaleis" nr. 21 again in full glory. "Motorpaleis"="Motorpalace", name of the Dutch Yamaha Importer.
When the AS3 was introduced Yamaha immediately launched an updated GYT kit.
As the Factory Yamaha's were already liquid cooled, amateurs also started quickly to convert their machines to watercooling.
But the aircooled bikes also still did very well. This is Henk van Kessel's machine, a bike that was contineously updated.
The frame was beautifully made.
Krober ignition took care of the sparks.
A disc brake was tried on the rear wheel first. Those Dutch guys were very, very carefull in those days!
This is a later 125 cc Yamaha racer, owned by the v.d. Goorbergh brothers, whose decendants are also smitten with the bike virus.
Actually it was Jens Voldsgaard from Denmark who inquired after these 125 cc racers quite a lot. He found this machine in his homeland and is going to bring it back to life.
It is a Yamaha AS3 based machine as you can see. I wonder very much about what Bimota had to do with this small 125 cc Yamaha ?
This 1973 photo is of a special with modern frame, dry clutch, etc. But I do not know the origins (yet).
The spring of 1973 saw also the introduction of the Yamaha TA125 roadracer. An AS3 engine equipped with the full GYT kit parts, magneto ignition and a much improved cycle. The frame was made from different tubing, had longer seat rails and a longer swing-arm. Frontfork was also a "special" and the front brake consisted out of a DS6 hub with a CS5E backplate.
Most of the TA125's went to the USA with a price of only $ 1647,00 !! In Europe few were sold as it was cheaper to build a special yourself! Here we have Martin Yannerilla (AHRMA #927 and USCRA #67) on his bike a few years ago.
I supplied him with a few original pistons when I was still working for Yamaha, but I lost his address. Maybe someone knows him ???
Now we go to the later Yamaha's. This is De Ruijter"s machine in 1975, far more modern in appearance already.
Everything is very well made but the battery carrier seems to be a little "heavy" (in appearance that is)
The rear end was of course suspended by Dutch KONI shockabsorbers, in those days the best you could buy.
Everything was carefully safety-wired.
The front wheel was equipped with a standard Yamaha disc brake and the caliper fitted was also the stock cast iron item used on many Yamaha's.
De Ruijter's bike also had a neatly crafted dry clutch. The clutch basket was even reinforced with a metal strip.
An electric waterpump was used for the water-cooling system (hence the somwhat large battery and carrier of course)
A last view of the left side of the Yamaha powerplant.
This 1976 Dutch machine has already Monocross suspension, cast wheels and twin discs. Watercooling by Wim Keers, a well known specialist of that time in Holland.
It appears that the steering damper is a standard Yamaha TZ250/350 item.
The poor customers had to wait all the way until 1979 before Yamaha came with a new production racer, the TZ125G (followed by the TZ125H for 1980).
Here we have the TZ125G on display for the first time in the U.K.
And again a big gap in time. Only in 1994 Yamaha introduced the all new TZ125 single with Deltabox frame. The engine being actually just a "half" TZ250.
For sure it was a nice racer and the model went through rather small changes during its lifecycle.
But honestly saying, they were outclassed by the competitors.
And the spirit of those lovely simple AS1/AS3 based twins that gave so many riders so much fun (and success) at a very moderate cost, could never be repeated........!