Barry Sheene’s first 500cc Grand Prix win

Tepi Länsivuori working very hard before he arrived at place five after his bad start.

In 1971 he scored three GP wins on the ex-Stuart Graham 125 Suzuki at Spa, Belgium; Anderstorp, Sweden and  Imatra, Finland.

He’d even won the 50cc GP in Brno, Czechoslovakia, as guest rider for the Van Veen Kreidler team, but his results during the following years on the continent were a faint shadow of that successful season.

Looking for the right machine in the bigger classes in comparison to the tiddlers he’d found the top of the podium with, Barry signed for Yamaha in 1972 to race 250 and 350cc bikes but, again, the GP season ended up a disaster for Barry. He didn’t get on with a quarter-litre race bike with a tendency to seize and throw the youth off its back. Barry had lost confidence in the water-cooled works 250 Yamaha YZ635 and the bike was swiftly handed over to Jarno Saarinen by Yamaha bosses – Saarinen went on to became a world champion on it…

Read more in the March/April issue of Classic Racer – on sale now

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