Yamaha Looks Back on Last 125cc Title
Saturday, August 20, 2011
As the Grand Prix series edges closer to its appearance in the U.S., Yamaha takes a look back at one of its most loyal and successful riders, Kent Andersson. From 1968 until his retirement in 1975 Andersson brought Yamaha two 125cc Grand Prix titles and was the only world champion to come from Sweden. Andersson also made his white leathers a distinctive fashion in racing long before Dutchman Wil Hartog was in the mix. Taking 10 victories between 1973 and 1974, Andersson put Yamaha at the top of the competition for two consecutive years and cemented himself as one of the fastest small capacity riders.
Becoming Yamaha’s third 125cc world champion, the Swede was also Yamaha’s last winner in the series. In the mid-70s Andersson walked away from full-time racing but continued to race exhibition meetings and other select races. In 1995 he participated in the Swedish Supermono Championship and took a surprising win at the age of 53. The Swede became a major figure in the Yamaha Classic Racing Team and remained close to the sport through media coverage of MotoGP events in his country. Sadly, in 2006 at the age of 64 Andersson passed away.
Read more about Andersson’s success, courtesy of www.yamaha-racing.com and visit Yamaha 50th Grand Prix Anniversary microsite.
A loyal Yamaha rider – and later Yamaha Motor Europe employee - in the FIM world championships from 1968 until his retirement in 1975, Kent Andersson not only brought Yamaha two 125cc Grand Prix titles but was also notable for being the only world champion to emerge from Sweden. A fast and consistent small capacity rider, Andersson came to the attention of the factory team after finishing as 250cc vice-champion on privateer machinery, an over the counter TD2, in 1969 with two victories.
Despite four further attempts the multi-national champion would not fulfil his ambition in the quarter-litre class in an era where riders regularly competed in two-three or even four different races at one event. It was with the 125cc twin-cylinder 0W15 that Andersson really found his stride and just three seasons after joining the works squad he took ten victories in two years (1973 and 1974) to help Yamaha obliterate the competition. Andersson – who raced with distinctive white leathers several years before Dutchman Wil Hartog made the shade fashionable – was Yamaha’s third 125cc number one and climbed atop the FIM podium five years after Phil Read in 1968. The Swede would also be the last world champion for the company in the series.
Andersson stepped away from the sport as a full-time professional in the mid-1970s but decided to enter the Swedish Supermono Championship in 1995 that he even won, at the age of 53. He also continued to race exhibition meetings and was a key figure in the Yamaha Classic Racing Team’s activities and demonstrations around the world in recent years. He remained close to the sport and would often take-on media roles for coverage of MotoGP in his native homeland. He passed away in 2006 at the age of 64.