Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Yamaha YZF-R1
Over 100,000 people came together at The Goodwood Festival of Speed to celebrate motorsport in all its facets and on hand to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the YZF-R1 were a number of Yamaha stars.
Yamaha’s past this year was represented by the original 1998 Yamaha YZF-R as the model celebrated its 20th anniversary of changing the sportsbike world for ever.
Representing the present on Friday were McAMS Yamaha British Superbike riders, Josh Brookes and Tarran Mackenzie, who made multiple trips up the Goodwood hill aboard a range of current Yamaha machinery, including Michael van de Mark’s race winning Pata Yamaha WorldSBK machine and a 2018 YZF-R1 race bike sporting a one-off 20th anniversary livery.
The two British Superbike riders also showcased two of Yamaha’s current road models, with Mackenzie ascending the hill on the Yamaha YZF-R1M alongside Brookes on the ground-breaking Yamaha Niken.
On the Saturday and Sunday Yamaha’s current WorldSBK riders, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, shouldered the riding responsibilities. The Pata Yamaha pairing, both race winners this season, were joined by World Superbike legend and firm fan favourite, Noriyuki Haga.
While Haga thrilled the assembled crowd aboard both the 1998 and 2018 versions of Yamaha’s YZF-R1, van der Mark did his first runs up the 1.86km Goodwood hill on his double race winning WorldSBK machine before switching to the road going YZF-R1M.
Michael van der Mark
“I really enjoyed the Goodwood Festival of Speed,” commented van der Mark. “The number of bikes and cars from all eras assembled for the hill climb was impressive, as was the massive crowd of race fans who lined the route all weekend. Even more special was to celebrate 20 years of the Yamaha YZF-R1, with Noriyuki riding the 1998 bike, Alex on the 2018 Suzuka bike with a livery inspired by the original and me on the race bike that has secured Yamaha three wins this season. A great event and an enjoyable weekend.”
Lowes completed most of his hill runs on a 2018 YZF-R1 race bike with the same 20th anniversary livery that the Yamaha Factory Racing Team will sport at this year’s Suzuka 8 Hour race. The 27-year-old British rider did however manage to squeeze in one run with the Yamaha Niken, his first experience of this unique machine.
“What a fantastic experience,” declared Lowes. “There is no other event quite like the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where motorsport fans can get up close and personal with so many riders, drivers and their machines. It was nice to be a part of that but, for me, it was also incredibly interesting to see the history of motorsport collected together in one place. It was the perfect setting to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Yamaha YZF-R1 alongside Michael and Nori, who I hadn’t met before. He’s a great guy.”