The DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters series is a real blast from the past. Any road going parallel-twin two-stroke made by Yamaha is eligible for the class and power is restricted to a lowly 59bhp, tested using the Bemsee clubs trackside Dyno, so as to keep the 250’s and 350’s something like equal and with it, the costs of competing down. The rest of the rules are simple to understand, if its bigger, wider, or lighter, than Yamaha intended it to be, then most likely it is illegal or at best not in the sprit of the game. The bulk of the grid is made up of TZR250’s, the type generally being regarded as one of the sweetest handling of all the mid 80’s strokers, while still remaining cheap to run and great fun to ride. The good old 350 YPVS, or even older LC, still isn’t done however and a well-sorted and hard ridden one will still give a good account of itself despite being from the generation before the TZR.
The Past Masters series began in 2004 when Peter Fishwick and Darren Mowat were actively looking for places to compete with their dated Yam twins. “Looking back, it was the MZ racing club that showed us the way” Peter explained “Bemsee were pushing hard to have just one race per grid, which meant getting a lot more people onboard and taking part for the YPM to stay viable. The MZ racers advertised the class well and gained a lot of press coverage, with the result being a lot of interest, and with it ever full grids of people looking for the thrills of racing while sticking to a tight budget. We followed this example and before too long a few of the more respected riders within Bemsee gave us a try and liked it. The website is a great aid, as indeed is the forum too, as racers, and anyone else with an interest in this form of racing, can get help and assistance at any time, as well as simply keeping in touch, this in turn makes every one feel closer with a functioning social life when not actually at the meetings. It is the social side of this club that most people find attractive, we all try to park together in the paddock and, once the racing is over, and the bikes fettled for the next day, we all get together and party on into the evening with barbecues and the odd bottle or two, it’s a great family atmosphere.”
Once the flag drops the racing is just as compelling as the tightest scrap between the latest superbikes, this is the case in the midfield where talent and bike performance tend to mix and creates a level with bunches of riders ending up swapping places almost every corner. As racing goes, costs are within most peoples reach, a season can be had for around £4000, including buying the bike in some cases, if enough research is done before hand and the buyer has a certain level of mechanical aptitude. Sponsorship isn’t at the Rossi levels but, for club racing, it isn’t too bad, good discounts are to be had on had for tyres and other consumables, with backing from Dunlop and NGK among others, while a lottery system is in place every meeting that sees £75 split between three lucky participants based upon random numbers drawn out of the hat which, in turn, correlate to finishing places. It isn’t a lot, but believe me, any help is most welcome when it comes to keeping a bike on the track. Come the end of the season and the title sponsors DFDS Seaways, award sizeable cash prizes to the first three finishes in each class, Bemsee, the race organiser, only recognise the race as a whole on the day awarding trophies to the first three riders home, whereas the YPM club do distinguish between the 250’s and 350’s come the end of the year. Added to this are the usual awards for best newcomer, most improved rider best crash etc. The end result is full grids, an ever increasing a rarity in UK club racing.
The atmosphere in the YPM paddock simply cannot be beat, you will never here a to annoy message asking for much needed parts or assistance when it comes to these bikes, the boys in the club get on to a man and any mechanical problem is dealt with benevolently, even if it means helping a fellow who may be threatening a championship or race position. It’s a bit like racing used to be in the old days, friendly and laid back, hackles up on the track, but open arms aplenty once back in the paddock.
Yamaha Past Masters Gallery
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