Yvon Duhamel is one of the most successful motorcycle racers Canada has produced: a multi-level racer on two wheels and four wheels – and even with a snowmobile.
In 1999, Yvonne Duhamel, born in Montreal/Canada in 1939, was inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame and the AMA Hall of Fame, and in 2007 into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
These honors were preceded by a life in motorsport that required many talents. Duhamel first drew attention to himself at snow and dirt races in Montreal in the 1960s, and toward the end of the decade he was also driving a flat track in the USA. He’s also tried his hand at trials, driven motocross races, dragster races and on the track – winning in every discipline.
Duhamel first made a name for himself outside of his homeland in 1968 when he won the lightweight class at an AMA event in Daytona and repeated that victory in 1969—each time in a 350cc Yamaha two-stroke.
In 1968, he finished second in the Daytona 200 – never before had a podium touched by a two-stroke driver.
In the years that followed, Yvonne made a name for himself in the ring. In 1969, he drove to first place in the Daytona 200. In 1971 he achieved Kawasaki’s first US Championship win at Talladega Super Speedway. Between 1971 and 1973 he won five races for Kawasaki in the AMA Nationals.
Then Duhamel also made a name for himself in Europe. In 1975 he placed fifth over a Kawasaki in the 250cc Grand Prix at Assen. For several years he raced the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Paul d’Or with the Kawasaki KZ1000.
Yvon Duhamel has also made a good name for himself in Formula 750, the pioneer of today’s Superbike World Championship. From 1973 to 1979, this series held the world championship title, and was driven by modified road machines up to 750 cc.
Off the road, Duhamel was also fast on the snow. He won races in the USA and Canada and in 1970 the Snow Derby World Championships and the Winnipeg to St. Paul 500. In 1973, he reached the top ten in the NASCAR 400-mile race.
From the late 1970s onwards, Yvonne was more and more interested in the careers of his sons Miguel and Mario. In 1988, the three Duhamel competed together in the Bol d’Or – an event unique to this day.
Yvonne Duhamel lived a full life, he was 81 years old. Our thoughts are with his family.
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