1977, YAMAHA Sankito, the (curious) story of the bike that won the 350 World Championship




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Ferry Brouwer is a mythical character in motorcycling, he deserves a biographical post, but today, I will only talk about an interesting episode in his history. In 1977, he was responsible for the design and construction (at Yamaha Motor Europe/Netherlands) of the factory YAMAHA TZ 350 (3 cylinders - (San=3)+(Kito=cylinder)) which he raced and won in the World ​​Championship at 350cc class. This feat added a number of unique circumstances: - it was the first time, so far, that a factory YAMAHA was built outside of Japan; - it was the first time that a pilot with a Japanese sports license (in fact his nationality was Korean, which makes the feat even more exclusive), Takazumi Katayama, was World Champion; - it was the last time (the class was extinct in 1982) that YAMAHA triumphed in this World Championship class; - when it was overtaken by its European subsidiary, Yamaha Motor Japan, despite the good results, it ordered the end of the development of this motorcycle, at the end of 1977, they would rather lose with a 100% Japanese motorcycle than win with a European partnership...; - it is thought that one of the reasons for this attitude could also have been the fact that YAMAHA was preparing to enter the market of the super sports 2T RD 250/350 LC that was directly inspired by the competition TZ 250/350 that had engines two-cylinder...; - the Ferry engine developed 87 hp at 12,300 rpm against the 78 hp of the conventional TZ and the 82 hp of the KAWASAKI KR.