Archive: Earls Court Show 1966

With a whopping price tag of £526-12s the Yamaha far exceeded most other race machinery on offer and was way ahead of all other 250s on price. Bultaco was still riding on the crest of a wave in the 250 class; it scooped a 1-2-3 in the previous year’s Ulster Grand Prix, and the price tag was a slightly more affordable £485, four whole pounds less than Aermacchi’s pushrod 250.

But when it came to performance the Yamaha had the edge, and although sales initially proved slow in the UK the two-stroke 250 sold like hot cakes in the USA.

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When you consider the average annual wage in 1966 was a princely £1333 (It is £31,309 in 2013) and the average house price had reached £3840, you have to wonder how anyone afforded to go racing. But afford it they did, and within a couple of years the Yamaha production racers had swept all before them. bike

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