In 1973, one year after Yamaha first entered the FIM Motocross World Championship, Hakan Andersson took the newly developed YXM250 to the marque’s historic first world title, winning the 250cc class honours.
Prior to the championship-winning campaign together, Swedish star Andersson had already established himself as a top rider in the FIM Motocross World Championship. In 1966, having risen through the ranks in his home country, Andersson made a scintillating GP debut in Sweden, finishing third in his first-ever world championship race.
Although a flat tyre would take him out of contention in the second race, Andersson’s potential was clear, and he entered the full 1967 World Championship campaign in the 250cc class. The Uddevalla-born rider finished sixth in his debut season and the following year he would win his first GP in Holice, Czechoslovakia after a double race victory.
Unfortunately, in 1968, and while sitting second in the standings behind Joel Robert, Andersson broke his right leg at the Dutch GP and would not return in 1969, as his team sent him to the Trans Am championship in the United States for further rehabilitation.
Andersson returned to the world championship in 1970, but he still hadn’t fully recovered from his 1968 incident and was 13th in the final standings.
Refocussing for the 1971 FIM Motocross World Championship, Andersson was close to full fitness and rode a superb campaign to finish second overall, helping Team Sweden take runner-up in the Trophée des Nations that year, while he was also crowned Swedish champion.
It was then, ahead of the 1972 season, that Yamaha announced it would be joining the FIM Motocross World Championship, running Andersson on a YZ637 in the 250cc category. Victories soon followed, as Andersson won the Swedish and Swiss Grand Prix to finish runner-up for a second consecutive year.