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June 12, 2009

I miss my old girl …

Last night I was digging around through some old MX photos (trying to impress my girlfriend with my old steeds and undeniably beautiful riding style :)) and came across some pics of my 2002 Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke. Man, what a beautiful old girl she was! I was tearing up just looking at the images, thinking back to the good old days of mixing her fuel and letting her bark all day long (the neighbors loved it too). I miss that gal….

Sure, four-strokes are the way of the future, but if you want to experience what real men rode (well, other than 500’s), climb onto a 250 two-stroke. Throttle control required.

I really wish I had never sold her off and moved to the big 450 the next season. It was a big mistake financially, and results wise. Had I kept that 250, I would have surely broke into the top-8 in 250 Intermediate the next year, avoided the worst arm pump of my life (those 2003 YZ450’s were way too powerful for a little midget like me) and had enough money to buy a quarter-pounder meal (biggie sized) after every race.

How did the two of us meet? It all started back in the spring of 2003. My younger brother, Corey, and I had just returned from a two-week riding trip in Florida and Georgia, and were ready to take on the likes of Tyler Medaglia, Scotty Maidman, Trever Hall, Neil Farlow, Tyler Wagner, Mike Ackerman, and a whole slew of other quick kids in the intermediate classes. We were both riding brand spankin’ new 2003 YZ250Fs and posted some respectable results in the first few races. Sadly, my momentum slowed down like an injured gazelle just after the Auburn Hills Provincial – the tranny dropped while practicing the following week.

We immediately made our way to Machine Racing and saught some help from “The Moaner” John Nelson.

“Sorry, boys, I don’t have the parts to fix it.” Perfect, what now? Buy another bike? Take up law bowling?

“Don’t start crying and whining yet,” Nelson added. “We actually have a used YZ250 that we could give you a little deal on. It’s Phil Lawrence’s bike from the Montreal SX, but it’s in mint condition.”

I was a little nervous picking up a used pro’s bike, especially one of “Factory” Phil Lawrence’s stature. But The Moaner was right; this bike was mint. It had a brand new, stock cylinder head, a one-off Pro Circuit pipe (no serial number. McGrath’s maybe??), and it was just an overall clean looking bike. And the sound … oh my, did that baby sound good! Nothing beats the bark of a well tuned 250 two-stroke. It simply screams “motocross” everytime that the throttle is turned.

After John Nelson took all of my money, I couldn’t afford some fancy steel or aluminum stand, so I picked up this Rubbermaid stepper from Wal-Mart. Hey, they’re only $20, and they’re light, stackable, and get both wheels off the ground! What a score.

I had ridden 250 two-strokes before, but this one was mine, all mine. Only two or three days after picking up the bike, we headed to the next Provincial at Sand Del Lee near Ottawa. It was the perfect track to debut the new two-smoker on. It featured sand, berms, tight turns and lots of bumps. I definitely wasn’t a factor for the win or even a podium that day, but I never had so much fun racing before. I loved dropping that burly 250 into the corners or berms, grabbing a handful, and hearing that thing bark.

My beautiful YZ and I were inseparable for the rest of that summer. We drove all Ontario, racing at tracks like Walton, Paisley RAT Track, Mutcco Mountain, and Cochrane’s, tried impressing girls by driving through downtown Peterborough with YZ in the bed, showing off her sleak and smooth figure, and we suffered several crashes together. Alas, all good things must come to an end, or at least I thought so at the time.

Watch the video above to see bad boy Jason Lawrence testing out a 2009 YZ250.

Being young and naive, I thought I’d find another love like my YZ250. So when the fall came, I tossed YZ into the Trader, and within a week, she was out of my life and I would never see her again. I wonder how that old girl is doing these days….


Do you have an old Yamaha two-wheel flame that you wish you had never sold? If so, and you have some pics, send them on over to me at danny_brault@yamaha-motor.ca and we’ll post them here. The top 3 (of my choosing) will receive a little Yamaha swag pack.

Thanks for reading! (Oh, and if you see YZ224 kicking around, crack the throttle for me and tell her that I’m still thinking of her!)



**There’s no denying it – MXers love free stuff! Check out these two submissions that we received over the weekend from some Yamaha two-stroke lovers….

Hey Danny,
Here is my 2004 and 2006 YZ250cc 2 strokers!….I added some pics of when they were being rebuilt, ridden and dirty and then up at the track, training for race day!

You should never have gotten rid of your 2 stroke buddy, but you can always get another one and then make sure you keep it for those days when you need to get back to “old school” riding. Lets face it, thumpers are great bikes but there is something sacred about an old smoker, anytime of the day!

Well hopefully my pics make it in your top three but if not it was always cool to share these with you

Andrew Chernenkoff


Hi Danny;

I raced a 1986 YZ250 “back in the day” when I was a rookie in the CMA Expert class. I lined up against guys like Ross Pederson, Al Dyck,Rob VanDieman, Carl Vaillancourt, etc. Can’t really say I raced against them……but I was definitely in the same race, just at the back of the pack!! The pinnacle of my very short pro career was the 1986 BC Place Supercross. I was even on CBC’s Sportsweekend…..I was getting lapped by Serge Gregoire, but dammit, I was on frickin’ TV!!! I showed people and watched it over & over on the VCR so many times that I wore out the tape
and haven’t seen it for over 20 yrs!!


The pic I’ve attached is from a race in Kamloops BC 1986. Best bike I ever owned……tons of problem-free moto’s at the biggest races I ever entered!!

Fast forward to 2009. I bought some new riding gear last fall and over the winter got my hands on a mint ’06 YZ250. My first bike since the white & red ’86 model!! Aluminum frame, great brakes & suspension, and of course a 2-stroke engine!! I finally made my way out onto an mx track about 3 weeks ago, after Brett Lee put out the word that they were having a “Legends” race at the Kamloops National. I signed up, and had a great weekend of moto!! We camped at the track from Fri-Sun and watched all of the pro races on Sunday.

Here is a link to a bunch of pics of Kamloops I posted on mxforum. Feel free to use any of my photos……wish I had more of the ’86 YZ, but I was 18 by then and the parents weren’t traveling to the races with me anymore. Just me and my buddy in the Chevy van for the summer. I didn’t even own a camera back then…..would’ve cut into the moto budget!! HAHA!! Always had new tires, but the Kraft Dinner on a Coleman stove got real old by mid-August.

AAHHHH….the good old days. Nothing mattered besides fresh knobbies, a gas can full of pre-mix, and clean gear & goggles!!

The Yamaha YZ250 2-stroke is a great bike!! 20 yrs later, it still has the rock-solid reliability and performance that I relied on back in the day as a struggling rookie pro. Nowadays I just want to go ride mx for fun, and my YZ250 is always ready whenever I am!Wes Saliauto
I don’t know if Hudge told you about my ’02 McGrath replica, it was one badass bike especially if you’re a big MC fan!

 Adam Millson

And here’s a late entry from Mike Delia from Calgary, AB. Have a boo, it’s a pretty interesting read….

 Hi there,
I would like to share a cool story with you all.

A few months ago a girl that Matt (my son) new gave him a call and asked if he wanted an old dirt bike for free or, her neighbour (recent divorce) was going to take it to the landfill. He called me at work and asked if he could bring it home, I was reluctant and said, we don’t need any junk around the place but if it looks ok go ahead. We already have three bikes at home.

He brought the bike home and after a quick look over it appeared to be all there (parts etc). Someone had left it sitting for years, they had spray painted it all black.

I advised my son that we would not spend any money on it unless we could get it going and could determine if it at least ran and would be worth it.

After I searched the VIN (5X5-)turns out the bike is a 1982 YZ250J a red and white, liquid cooled 250 with the YPVS engine. We drained the old gearbox oil pulled off the tank and cleaned the shut-off valve, put in fresh two stroke oil and gas. Pulled the carb and soaked it (have never seen one as gummed as this was)cleaned the plug, the air filter disintegrated when we tried to clean it. We kicked it over about 5-6 times, and to our surprise it screamed to life, and I mean screamed.


My son took off down the street and I could hear him two blocks away (so could everyone in the neighbourhood), I thought someone may call the fire department because of the smoke, when he returned all I saw was white teeth and an ear to ear grin. He has a Honda four stroke he has ridden for years (great bike) but he has never owned or ridden a two smoke. I took the bike after him and all I can say is CRAZY, man does it go like.. when it turns on, sputtered a bit down low but once it caught it was like holy s&%^ -hang on!

Since then we tore the bike down stripped off the old black paint, recovered the seat and replaced some broken parts and pieces nothing too major, we have put about 4-500.00 bucks into it. First time I had the bike out in the hills I got a few miles out and the plug went, it was going through quite a few plugs but we have leaned our mixture out now and it seems to be holding one.

I’ll include some pictures on the rebuild, The bike has been out to the hills about 6 times already this summer and it really does crank, very impressive. I tried finding some original decals for the bike they are quite scarce, along with many of the parts.

The bikes suspension eats the terrain and we are so impressed with the bike eventually we would like to do a complete teardown and try and restore it to all its former glory.

My son doesn’t seem too interested in taking his four stroke out anymore, he loves the old beast and his buddies only see a cloud of smoke and dust left in his wake.

Mike Delia

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Posted @ 3:47 pm in Dirt,Racing   

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