Yamaha: Four Decades of Daytona Excitement


2012 Daytona 200 Week

With no less than 20 Daytona 200 wins to its credit – including an unprecedented, unbeaten string of 13 Daytona 200 victories in a row – the Yamaha brand is synonymous with Daytona. And it all started 40 years ago.

This year’s Daytona 200 marks the 40th Anniversary of Yamaha’s first Daytona 200 victory in 1972 when second-generation racer Don Emde and his diminutive, yet lightning-fast, Yamaha TR3 350cc two-stroke racer slayed a thundering herd of bigger-displacement bikes.

Don Emde says: “It is really exciting to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of my 1972 Daytona 200 victory. I was very motivated that year to win the 200 like my dad had done in 1948, and I went to Daytona confident that my 350cc Yamaha TR3 was the right bike to get the job done. I am very proud to be the only son to have won the 200 after his father, but also to get Yamaha its first Daytona 200 victory.”

And, from Don’s breakthrough victory in 1972 all the way through 1984, Yamaha won every single Daytona 200.

As Daytona Bike Week fast approaches, the Yamaha transporters are loaded up and rolling eastbound and down from the West Coast, ready to make even more Yamaha history at the “World Center of Racing.”

The trucks are filled with YZF road racing bikes and YZ Supercross machines, as well as Star cruisers and Yamaha streetbikes, scooters, dual-purpose bikes, and off-road machines.

Here’s a look at all of the Yamaha racing and other activities in store for fans at “Yamaha Beach” in Daytona:

In The Whoops

Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX riders James Stewart and Davi Millsaps will be looking to put their YZ450F Supercross bikes in the Daytona winner’s circle, while Star Valli Yamaha riders Kyle Cunningham and Kyle Peters will be aboard a their Yamaha YZ250F machines in Supercross Lites East competition. The Daytona Supercross and Supercross Lites are Saturday night, March 10.

On The High Banks

This year, Yamaha goes for Daytona 200 victory number 21 with a formidable pair of riders whose talent and racecraft are well beyond their young ages. Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier and Garrett Gerloff will both be aboard identically prepared YZF-R6 Daytona SportBikes, determined to conquer the high banks, pitstops, 57 grueling laps, and high-speed drafting maneuvers that Daytona presents.

This year’s Daytona 200 is set to go green on Saturday, March 17 at 1 p.m.

In National Guard American Superbike, the season kicks off at Daytona with two 15-lap races. Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha rider and two-time defending American Superbike Champion Josh Hayes will, once again, be in the saddle of his #1 crossplane-crankshaft YZF-R1.

Joining Josh this season is former Daytona Sportbike rider and 2010 Daytona 200 winner Josh Herrin. Both riders have been on the gas in pre-season testing, so look for them to be battling it out at the front of the pack.

Superbike Race 1 will take place on Friday, March 16 at 4 p.m., and Race 2 is scheduled for Saturday, March 17 at 11 a.m.

Two autograph sessions will take place on Friday afternoon, March 16, with Josh Hayes and Josh Herrin signing posters and memorabilia from 1:45 to 2:30, followed by Cameron Beaubier and Garrett Gerloff, who are scheduled to sign from 2:30 to 3:15. The autograph sessions will take place at the Yamaha display located at the Daytona Club Pad.

On The Blue Groove

In AMA Pro Flat Track competition, last year’s GNC Expert Singles Champion Slammin’ Sammy Halbert will be defending his Championship aboard his lucky #7 Yamaha YZ450F dirt tracker. The Flat Track doubleheader is set to take place on Thursday and Friday nights, March 15 and 16, on the quarter-mile lime-rock short track in the West Lot located outside Speedway Turns 1 and 2.

On and Off-Road Motorcycle Demos & Display

Along with all the racing events at Daytona, Yamaha will also have displays and demos of the 2012 Yamaha and Star models.

The Yamaha display will be open Saturday, March 10 through Saturday, March 17. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, and hats, t-shirts, and other Yamaha merchandise will be available for purchase.

To demo a 2012 Yamaha or Star motorcycle, be at the Yamaha display Saturday, March 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, March 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, March 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturday, March 17 from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

You’ll need a valid motorcycle license (permits are not allowed), a DOT-approved helmet, long pants, enclosed shoes, a shirt, and eye protection to take your ride.

“Ride With Raines” off-road demo rides will take place on Saturday, March 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., please contact Jason Raines at 864-979-6973 for more information. Yamaha is excited to team up with six-time AMA National Hare Scrambles Champion Jason Raines to offer this exciting demo program. Riders can experience Yamaha YZ and WR off-road motorcycles on perfect terrain under the guidance of Jason Raines himself. A special course will be laid out for the demo, and riders can try out several different models. Plus, all riding gear will be supplied by the school.