In 1985 Yamaha was the top dog in the big-bike production classes across the country, such as WERA’s A & B Production. Yamaha paid generous contingency money to riders on its FZ750. Then at the beginning of 1986 Suzuki introduced its GSXR750 to America, along with an even more generous contingency program than Yamaha’s, and immediately the grids of road races across the country were filled with the speedy and nimble new Gixxer.
For a time early in the ’85 season that set up an epic battle between Yamaha and Suzuki in the production classes. This photo shows perfectly the almost equal split between FZ and GSXR riders that season. On Yamaha’s you have “Rocket Ron” Ewerth (21), Jeff James, Wink Price (63), Doug Roy (209), Bob Englert (298) and novice Dennis Martin (445) on Yamahas, while Greg Tysor (67), David Harman (528), Mark McQuade (52) and Greg Goulding (directly behind #21 Ewerth) were on the new Suzuki.
Buck Clemson (21) was the odd man out racing a two-stroke Yamaha RZ500.
Yamaha won the battle on this day with Ewerth taking the victory over McQuade and James.