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Phil Read MBE: 1939-2022 | Yamaha’s First Ever Road Racing World Champion

Phil Read MBE: 1939-2022 | Yamaha’s First Ever Road Racing World Champion

The Yamaha Racing family are incredibly saddened by the news that Phil Read MBE, Yamaha’s first-ever road racing World Champion, passed away peacefully in his sleep at home in Canterbury, England this morning.

Read, 83, was truly one of motorcycle racing’s greats, winning seven Grand Prix Road Racing titles during the 1960s and 70s. The British ace was also the first rider to claim world championship victories in all three of the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc classes.

His illustrious career began with the first of eight Isle of Man TT victories in 1961, and in 1964 he gave Yamaha its first world title, winning the 250cc class on the RD56. In 1968, Read dominated both the 125cc and 250cc championships, standing on the top step of the podium in 12 of the 15 races he contested. He followed that up with another 250cc title in 1971, his final for Yamaha, before claiming the 500cc world championship crown in 1973 and 1974. 

With 52 Grand Prix victories to his name, Read retired from the world championship in 1976, while his final race came at the 1982 Isle of Man TT. In 1979 he was awarded the MBE for services to motorcycle racing and his career was further recognised in 2002 when he was inducted into the MotoGP Hall of Fame.

Everyone at Yamaha offers their sincere condolences to Phil’s family and friends.