Yamaha Motor Europe has announced the start of a year-long celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic YZ model range with special editions race bikes.

As always when we start talking about moto-based stories, Enduro21 feels obliged to throw in a disclaimer about the lack of lights, 18-inch rear wheel etc. 

But we’re fans of the YZ, have a project 2T model in the E21 workshop and know the model range lives-on around the world in whichever guise you are standing on the pegs of – that’s not to mention the Fantic model range.

To commemorate an historic five decade milestone, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP and MX2 team ran a special retro inspired livery at the MXGP of Flanders in Lommel, Belgium this weekend as did the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing riders in the United States at the 2023 AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Washougal.

It looks pretty cool (except the big Monster logo on the radiator cowels we reckon) so we figured we’d share images of the bikes as eye-candy and potential inspiration for a bike build.


The Yamaha YZ250 initially entered production in 1974 but Hakan Andersson had already raced a prototype version of the bike from the third round of the 1973 FIM 250cc Motocross World Championship. Andersson went on to win the championship that year onboard the YZM250 with ground-breaking monoshock suspension and secured Yamaha its first world title in motocross.

Throughout its five-decade history, various iterations of the Yamaha YZ have amassed an impressive 34 FIM motocross world titles, with the most recent achieved by Nancy van de Ven in the 2022 FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship.

The specially livery on these race bikes is based on the iconic colours that featured on the YZ250, YZ125 and YZ80 two-stroke bikes launched by Yamaha for the 1993 season, following the FIM 250 Motocross World Championship title won by American racer and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Donny Schmit, the previous year.


Photo Credit: Yamaha