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Recalling the first machine to wear the Ténéré badge

Yamaha’s history in the Dakar Rally isn’t short of success stories. The firm won the very first event in 1979 with the XT500 and did the same the following year when XT’s filled the first four places. Later Yamaha took seven wins from eight starts between 1991 and 1998. But the new Ténéré 700 Rally Edition has been created in the memory of a bike that’s best result was fifth at the 1983 event.

That might seem an odd decision but it was in 1983 that the Dakar’s route was changed, taking it through the Ténéré region of the Sahara, and when Yamaha launched its road-going spin-off from the race bike – the XT600Z – in June that year, it adopted the Ténéré name.

The new Ténéré 700 Rally Edition pays homage to both the 1983 Dakar racer and the original road bike, featuring a replica paint scheme and a smattering of upgraded parts.

The blue paint with speedblock graphics, yellow number boards and gold wheels is a direct copy of the 1983 Dakar XT600Z, which was raced to fifth and seventh places by Serge Bacou and Jean-Claude Olivier. The Ténéré 700 Rally Edition also gets a 4mm thick bash plate under the engine, a 20mm taller seat, knee grips, off-road bar grips and an Acrapovic slip-on muffler.

Unfortunately, Yamaha Motor Australia has no current plans to add the Rally Edition to its Ténéré line-up

Words Ben Purvis Pics Yamaha Europe