Some bikes were just born to run hard and hot, and the Yamaha TR3 was one of those machines.
Big isn’t always necessarily better, particularly on the steeply-banked track at Daytona International Speedway.
Back in 1972, Don Emde, aboard the 350cc two-stroke Yamaha TR3, wiped out all competition at the Daytona 200 against a field of bikes machines as large as 750cc.
That win marked the first time a two-stroke took the title and remains the smallest bike ever to win the race. It was also the first in the Yamaha string of 13 consecutive wins at Daytona – and that’s still the record. Riding for Team Motorcycle Weekly and Yamaha dealer Mel Dinesen, Emde and the TR3, a production model, was damn near stock for a racing machine. Featuring an extended swingarm, aftermarket seat, an aerodynamic fairing, some tricked up Koni shocks, and a little porting and polishing to the engine, the TR3 came out of the crate very, very fast.
Want to see what one can do?
We’re here for you.
The Broadford Track is the popular name of State Motorcycle Complex in Victoria, Australia and it’s set beside the Hume Freeway about 55 miles from Melbourne. Opened in 1975, the eight tracks at Broadford Road Circuit are 33 feet wide and a serious test of bike and rider.
Watch as this lucky owner takes his TR3 around Broadford for a pair of run in laps – and smokes everything in his path.
During it’s greatest year, 1972, the two-cylinder air-cooled Yamaha TR3 featured innovations like a six-speed transmission, and privateer Yamaha teams notched several wins in 1972.
But all glory is fleeting and the TR3 fell from favor with the advent of water-cooled motorcycles.
Yamaha TR 3 350
Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd., Iwata
Type: Racing, replica Year: 1972
Engine: Yamaha two-cylinder, two-stroke, with cross-port distribution (five transfer ports). Displacement 347.4 cc. (64 mm. x 54 mm.)
Transmission: Six-speed block
Power: 54 h.p. at 9,500 r.p.m.
Maximum speed: Over 140 m.p.h.
Chassis: Double cradle, continuous, tubular. Front and rear, telescopic suspension
Brakes: Front, central drum, four shoes, four-cam; rear, central drum