American rules, Daytona 200 - 1974
Updated: Jan 22
In the 70s, in the United States of America, the American Motorcyclist Association (the federation that rules motorcyce racing on the other side of the Atlantic), in order to prevent factory teams from using very expensive motorcycles that would unbalance the squad's performances too much, created a rule intended to contain costs. Thus, the engine of the winning motorcycle in each race could, if any of the other competitors so desired, be auctioned among the riders, with the base price of the auction being the cost of the series motorcycle (or customer competition) that gave rise to the motorcycle of factory concerned!
In theory, this would condition the development and cost of factory bikes, no one would spend 10 to sell for 5, with the aggravating factor of eventually delivering, hand in hand, cutting edge technology! I'm not aware of this rule creating major upheavals, which I think indicates some tacit agreement in the paddock!
Even so, the story goes (unconfirmed...) that in 1974, in the Daytona 200, using this rule, Patrick Pons will have acquired, for 5,000 USD, the engine of the factory YAMAHA used by Giacomo Agostini to win the race ! It is a fact that the next day the Italian's YAMAHA TZ 750cc was back on his team, contradicting the idea that the factory bikes were the same as the other riders, otherwise it wouldn't be worth the effort of YAMAHA to re-acquire Patrick Pons who, inevitably, in this operation, will have to have pocketed a good profit!
Even so, according to the different version put forward by Philippe de Lespinay, Nobby Clark, the technician responsible for Agostini's YAMAHA at the time, convinced Pons to return the engine.
Pons returned it because it did not present significant differences in relation to the serial block and, also, because Nobby told him that, if he didn't, he would never be helped by YAMAHA again!...