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My Greatest Yamaha Memory

Hakan Andersson

Hakan Andersson

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.

Andersson gives Yamaha its first motocross world title

Always striving for innovation, Yamaha introduced the YZM250 during the 1973 season, which included a new Monoshock suspension system providing extra stability over heavy bumps, while improving durability.

These upgrades were brought in for the third round in Wuustwezel, Belgium and Andersson rode it to a first GP victory of the season on the bike’s debut. That forwards momentum continued at the next two rounds, as the Swede made it three consecutive GP wins in a row, taking gold in the Swiss and Polish Grand Prix at Payerne and Szczecin respectively.

Race victories in Yugoslavia (Orehova vas) and France (Cassel) were followed by another GP win at the Finnish Grand Prix in Hyvinkää, and heading to his home GP in Sweden, Andersson was on the verge of the world title.

An emphatic double victory and his fifth GP win of the season at the Ulricehamn track saw Andersson crowned the 1973 FIM Motocross World Champion, less than two hours down the road from where he grew up.

At the beginning of the next season, Andersson suffered a serious back injury but still managed sixth in the 250cc championship. He also won the Motocross of Nations for the first time with Team Sweden at the end of that campaign.

He was runner-up in the 1975 season, before Yamaha pulled out of racing due to the oil crisis. Andersson continued to contest the 250cc championship, moving up to the 500cc class in 1977 and took the individual victory at the Motocross of Nations that year.

During this time, he continued to enjoy success in the national Swedish championship, adding to his 1971 and 1974 honours with three consecutive titles between 1977 and 1979. In total, Andersson took nine GP wins before retiring from world championship racing at the end of the 1970s.

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