In May 1970 my mother won a lottery prize (Goiás State Lottery - Goiânia
- GO - BRAZIL); the prize was
equivalent to a brand new VW Beetle (Volkswagen 1.300cc) by then. As I
was dreaming about motorcycles at that time, and my mother was aware of that,
upon being insistent enough to convince her she bought me a Yamaha YF5
50cc, 1969 make. This was a second hand motorcycle, belonging to a teacher.
He kept the bike inside his house, at the dining room. It was like a
brand new motorbike, despite showing 1.500 km at the odometer. Even the
plastic protection for the seat cover was still there.
Yamaha YF 5 1969, Cruzeiro Square - Goiânia - GO - BRAZIL. This was my everyday vehicle.
With this motorbike I rode 45.000 km (from 1970 to 1973), I did many trips to Brasilia- DF, and to Itaberai, Inhumas, Hidrolandia all of them in the great Goiania area. I made many new friends, all of them riding their little 50cc (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Italjet and Zundapp), some in their Honda 65cc. Very few riding bigger motorcycles (125cc and 180cc).
|Most of them participated in road races in Goiania, Inhumas and at the Moto Clube de Goias (Goias Motorcycling Club). I couldn't participate in such events as a pilot due to a deal I did with my mother: I would have my Yamaha YF5 provided I never would compete in motorcycle races.||
Road race in Inhumas - GO
in 1970: taking the lead is Mauro Vieira in his Honda CB 50.
Later in life Mauro became my friend and companion in many trips all over Brazil.
||Despite of that I attended
all the races, such this one at the Goias Motorcycling Club. This
photo shows Mauro Vieira riding a Yamaha RD 200, in a 6 hours event
(speed race in dirt track). Mauro raced in a team with Kurt
Feichtenberger (a Goiano as well). Kurt participated in many Brazilian
Motorcycle Championships, competing with Yamaha TZ 125 and later on
with Honda MT 125R. His son Kurt Rudolf Feichtenberger competes in the
Supermoto category, and in 2008 became the
first State's champion in the SM2 class (250cc).
Mauro Vieira at the Moto Clube de Goias - 1973 - with Yamaha RD 200 cc. This was an endurance race (6 Hours) in dirt track; Mauro raced in a team with Kurt Feichtenberger.
In the beginning of the seventies there were only few motorcycles in Brasilia. As I had cousins and friends living there I used to go there frequently. I wouldn't miss the traditional road race 1.000 km de Brasília, that later became the 12 Horas de Brasília (The 12 Hours of Brasilia). Those races used to start at midnight, to finish next day by midday. In the late sixties the Renault 1.093, Berlinettas Interlagos and DKWs, Karman Ghias (from the dealer Dacon, equipped with Porsche engines) and the hot VW's were the stars of the show.
I followed from a close distance the careers of race drivers such as Alex Dias Ribeiro, Nelson Piquet, Roberto Pupo Moreno, the Fittipaldi brothers (Wilson and Emerson), José Carlos Pace, Luiz Carlos Greco, Bird Clemente, Minho and Dézinho (both from Goiania).
The main meeting point for the Brazilian race drivers was the Volkswagen and Yamaha dealership Camber. Alex Dias Ribeiro built a very succesful prototype - o Patinho Feio / the Ugly Duckling. Nelson Piquet, at that time, more precisely at the beginning of 1972 was only Nelsinho da Camber. We attended the University of Brasilia, and used to chat at the corridors of the North Wing of the University. He was doing Philosofy and I was doing Economics. Piquet used to drive a Yamaha DT 125 (Made in Japan) and I was always with my Yamaha YF5 (the little 50cc). Roberto Pupo Moreno, was only a 14 years old youngster, he was the Camber's "Baixinho", a smart kid eager to learn all the mechanical tricks taught by Pedrao (a very talented mechanic and all-round do-it-all at the workshop). The business was run as a coop, where everyone was ready to take part in all activities. Baixinho used to drive a Yamaha Mini-enduro (50 cc).
It is clear and vivid in my memory the test drive Camber promoted for the Yamaha XS 650 cc, in 1972. It was held at the parking area of the Rei Pele Stadium in Brasília - D.F. That bike made a huge impression on me by then. Now, by the end of 2011, when surfing at the Internet I came across a website that shows a restored 1971 Yamaha XS 650 exactly the same model I tested back in 1972. That was a brand new bike they had in stock, despite being a one year old bike. Another site worth checking showing a fine example of another restored 1971 model is published at the following address.
At that time there were only few motorcycles in Brasilia, and every time we would go there our bikes drew attention from the enthusiasts. We can't forget that those were the times of the beginning of the 'silent invasion' of the Japanese bikes in Brazil. Nowadays things have changed, but despite of that Goiania still has much more motorcycles than Brasilia; in reality Goiania has one the greatest proportion of motorcycles in relation to population, and motorcycles in relation to the number of cars nationally considering this data.
On the 24th of September, 2012 I received an e-mail from a friend telling me about a documentary due to be released soon. This documentary is about the group of friends that have conceived Camber. A teaser with the preview of the mentioned documentary is available at: