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Classic Yams fight it out Yamaha Past Masters series revives the Pro-Am spirit of the 1980s



AMAHA’S twostroke parallel twins were among the biking icons that defined the 1980s. First the 250 and 350LCs introduced thousands of teenagers to ‘ton-up’ hooligan riding as Niall Mackenzie took on all-comers in the Pro-Am series on the tracks. And later the TZR250s inspired many to circulate roundabouts with an outstretched knee in hope of emulating GP500 heroes. Now LCs and TZR have been given a second chance with the Yamaha Past Masters series – a nine-round series open to 1980s twostroke Yamahas. Any RD350 is permitted (LC or YPVS variants), as well as the 2MA TZR250 and the TDR250. Modifications are fairly limited – the 54bhp class

limit is achieved with a basic engine tune – standard expansions are generally as good as aftermarket equipment, though the rarity and cost means most bikes are running aftermarket kit.

‘The youngest rider is 15, the oldest is 40 years older’ Suspension must be stock – different springs and internal changes are permitted, but the rear damper body and fork externals must be stock. The brake caliper, hose, disc and pads may be changed. The bikes are relatively stock otherwise and converting a road bike is fairly simple. The result is a grid of bikes very closely matched in ability, which results in

close racing. Even a 5bhp power difference doesn’t translate to a massive advantage on track – some front running bikes regularly make 4bhp less than other machinery on the random dyno tests in place to help prevent cheating. The grid is diverse too – 15 year-old Jack Blake is stepping up from Aprilia Superteens for the final two rounds while the oldest rider is 40 years his senior! The next round is this weekend and the final round is at Brands Hatch on September 27-28. See www.


See onboard footage of the Past-Masters in action on www.motorcyclenews. com/masters

From left: series leader Mark Hardy’s bike, second place Tyler Bacon’s and the TZR ridden by MCN’s Newbigging

WEB WATCH The best modern classics on our website this week. See more at 1989 Kawasaki KR-1, £1300

Pros: In their day they were the closest thing to 250 GP racers on the road. Cons: Tuned models can be very fragile, engines need regular attention. Watch out for: Many bikes have been raced. Look for wired bolts and chipped wheel rims from frequent tyre changes. MCN RATING: ★★★★

1994 Ducati Monster M900, £1800

Pros: Affordable Ducati, easy to ride, nice sounding and still looks as good today as it was when it was made. Cons: Early 1990s Ducati electrics can be a bit iffy. Watch out for: Make sure belts have been changed regularly. MCN RATING: ★★★★

1994 Honda CBR900RR FireBlade, £1995

Pros: Early FireBlade was way ahead of its time. Cons: Tired suspension, warped discs and clutch liable to premature wear as most of these will have been used regularly at speed. Watch out for: Full Honda service history, crash damage, stolen bikes. MCN RATING: ★★★★★

YPM test  

MCN YPM class review

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