Racing History: When Two-Strokes Took Over The Daytona 200, In The April Issue

Racing History: When Two-Strokes Took Over The Daytona 200, In The April Issue

© 2022, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Feature In the April 2022 issue of Roadracing World:


        The world of motorcycling has never known a bigger earthquake than the convulsion that transformed it in the early 1970s, when the dominant British industry crumbled under a Japanese onslaught and racetracks across the globe were overrun by two-strokes, relegating the four-stroke to Grand Prix history. 

        At least until Dorna created four-stroke MotoGP in 2002.

        A big moment in this seismic shift was Don Emde’s victory in the 1972 Daytona 200, the first by a rider on a two-stroke. At that time the 200 was the biggest single motorcycle race in the world, contested around the huge Daytona super-speedway: Just four corners, then 2.5 miles of full-gas riding around the banking, a nightmare for early two-strokes, which were prone to burning pistons and seizing crankshafts… 

            —When the Two-Strokes Conquered Daytona, by Mat Oxley


In March 1972 Don Emde and his Yamaha TR3 became the first two-stroke winners of the Daytona 200, ending decades of domination by BSA, Triumph, and Harley-Davidson four-strokes. Read all about the ring-ding heard around the world in the latest issue of Roadracing World!


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