Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. celebrated its 60th anniversary with a special, employee-focused, three-food-truck event that included the induction of 10 racing legends onto its “Wall of Fame.” From L to R above, Rich Oliver, Wayne Rainey (Broc Glover hidden), Rick Burgett, Jason Raines, Mike Bell, ATV hero Bill Ballance, (Ty Davis hidden), and chief Yamanut Bob Hannah. Keith McCarty’s Yamaha’s Racing Director for Life, is at the right.

McCarty, whose actual title is Motorsports Racing Division Manager, said, “As we celebrate Yamaha’s 60th Anniversary, we’re proud to have 10 of our legendary racing champions here today and to unveil their commemorative plaques on our Wall of Fame. These 10 riders brought a lot of racing success to the Yamaha brand, with their many victories and championships. It’s great to be able to honor them here today.”

One of Keith McCarty’s first roles at Yamaha was Buckwheat Hannah’s traveling mechanic, a guy who won 70 AMA Nationals and seven championships. They could’ve been as successful as a comedy duo.

One of Keith McCarty’s first roles at Yamaha was Buckwheat Hannah’s traveling mechanic, a guy who won 70 AMA Nationals and seven championships. They could’ve been more successful as a comedy duo I think…

Bob Starr, General Manager of Communications for Yamaha U.S. Motorsports Group, added, “What a great day for Yamaha! We’ve got 10 legendary Yamaha riders here, along with four iconic Yamaha racing machines on display. Racing has been an integral part of Yamaha since the Motor Company was founded in 1955, and we’re so happy to be able to celebrate our 60th Anniversary with our employees, who are the real reason for our success.”

I don’t know who gets all the credit for the unique, excellent way Yamaha treats its racers, but Bob Starr is a big part of giving back to the people who made it famous.

I don’t know who gets all the credit for the unique, excellent way Yamaha treats its racers, but Bob Starr is a big part of giving back to the people who made it famous.

It really does seem like a big happy family. Scratch that, happier than most families. Most of these guys seem to genuinely like each other, even if they didn’t so much when some of them were teammates. For me personally, it’s still pretty amazing to exchange repartee with guys whose photos I was looking at at the drugstore magazine racks when I was a youth. Turns out they’re all about my age, and most of them remarkably well-preserved.

Thanks for the invite, Yamaha, and Happy 60th!

I did get the chance to grab five of these guys for a quick interview: The first one, with the great Eddie Lawson, should be posted Monday.

Hurricane Hannah’s ’79 YZ250 was high-tech as it got at the time.

Hurricane Hannah’s ’79 YZ250 was high-tech as it got at the time.

  • Old MOron

    Cool. Looking forward to the interviews.

  • JMDGT

    Yamaha has some nice bikes. Here’s to the next 60.