The Yamaha Past Masters is a race series where it’s not just the machines maturing in age. And the rules are pretty simple – find an old Yamaha RD250 or 350LC, RD350 YPVS, TZR250 or even a TDR250, throw lots of money at it, and then race it. It’s a well supported series running under the British Motorcycle Racing Club (BMRC or Bemsee), and that thrives on the love of two stroke fumes.
Four years back I discovered a Yamaha RD350 YPVS and a rider that’s ready to do battle in the 2014 championship. So having made friends virtually with the 50-something year old rider, Neil, I popped round for a chat and some Jaffa Cakes.
Racing under the noble banner of ‘Farkham Hall’, Neil’s office is split between his website business and a Yamaha workshop, with a handy pub next door! Life doesn’t get much better – until you find out he’s based in a village with its own brewery, vineyard and scenic location on the banks of the River Wye, before the season starts he’s already winning. Having invested in 1,000 Farkham Hall T-Shirts, Tintern’s fastest classic Yamaha owner had only shifted 5 when I popped by – hopefully the sales will picked up during the racing season?
Upon arrival I found Neil preparing his YPVS bodywork for a fresh coat of paint, the tourists heading for Tintern’s famous abbey ruins looked on in amazement as he sanded down the race fibreglass outside his work life on the pavement. His RD350YPVS started life in Brazil; it’s one of the last R models, loathed by purists, loved by racers.
Not much of that original bike remains, thankfully. The engines been tuned to keep it within the classes bhp limit, with KR1S pwk28s feeding the premix in to the ported barrels. Gibson provide the exhaust pipes, and a mismatch of parts make up the chassis. The Triumph TT600 four pot calipers are a direct fit!
Like all race bikes development is always in progress, next up is to replace the ignition system, meanwhile an old LC coil replaced the knackered YPVS one.
Neil took up racing after hurting himself playing rugby, and I didn’t want to question his logic. With the season’s opener at Brands a week away I wished him well, he was busy doing last minute jobs, like finding the foldable chairs and counting his 995 Farkham Hall T shirts!