Yamaha to run 60th anniversary paint on Daytona 200 return

Yamaha make their official return to the Daytona 200 this weekend, 50 years on from their first 200 win.

Jake Gagne's #32 Yamaha R6 for the 2022 Daytona 200.

THIS year, the Daytona 200 turns 80-years-old. The famous Floridian oval has already played host to some magnificent racing moments this year, such as the 80th running of the Daytona 24 Hour endurance race; Austin Cindric winning the Daytona 500 as a rookie; and just last weekend Eli Tomac distinguishing himself as the rider with the most Daytona Supercross wins in history, with six total. 

Now it is the turn of the 200, which has garnered renewed attention in recent years, along with other prestigious, historical motorcycle races such the Suzuka 8 Hour, Bol d’Or (since its return to Le Castellet from Magny-Cours) and 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans. For Daytona, the renewed attention is a result of the race being taken under the MotoAmerica umbrella for the first time since the same organisation took control of the AMA National Road Racing Championship in 2015.

Last year, Yamaha celebrated a milestone of its own, its 60th anniversary, with special nostalgic paint schemes for its factory MotoGP test riders - Cal Crutchlow, Katsuta Nakasuga and Kohta Nozane - in MotoGP preseason testing; its factory Pata Yamaha, and satellite GRT Yamaha, WorldSBK teams; the factory Yamaha Austria Racing Team in the Endurance World Championship; and for the McAMS Yamaha BSB squad.

Admittedly, for YART, who ran the famous red and white ‘Speed Block’ livery at the Bol d’Or, it did not work out so well as they were forced to retire early from the race thanks to an engine blow-up. Also, for Yamaha’s WorldSBK star and title contender, Toprak Razgatlioglu, the special paint proved superstitiously problematic, with an electronics issue forcing him to retire from the first race of the Barcelona round of the Superbike World Championship while leading. 

Now, Yamaha are celebrating their return to the Daytona 200 this weekend with a return of that 60th anniversary livery for the Attack Performance Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing team, and their riders: reigning MotoAmerica Superbike champion Jake Gagne, and Cameron Petersen.

Yamaha won their first Daytona 200 with Don Emde, son of 1948 Daytona 200 winner Floyd Emde in 1972, with a TR3 road racer. 
In a Yamaha press release, Don Emde said, “March 12, 1972, holds a true lifetime memory for my entire family and myself, as working together, we took that little TR3 Yamaha giant-killer to victory.” He added, “I took the chequered flag about five or six bike lengths ahead of the second-place rider, and the feeling of that victory 50 years ago remains fresh to this very day!”

In the 50 years since that win by Emde, Yamaha have gone on to collect more Daytona 200 wins than any other manufacturer (the ‘most winningest’ factory, to use an Americanism), including 13 in succession between 1972 and 1984. With 27 wins in total, Yamaha have won more than half of the Daytona 200s run since their first victory.