Exhausts are a key part of the racing two-stroke. During the 1970s and 80s engineers and fabricators were developing pipes for Grand Prix machines across the UK and beyond.
I started making exhaust pipes for TZ250 and TZ350 Yamahas around 1975 mainly for my own bikes but by around 1977 or 78 I started making and selling them to other riders.
In 1979 we saw the first of the TZ250 and TZ350 Yamahas that came with bolt on flange fitting silencers. The original Yamaha silencers were made in steel which immediately opened up a market for replacement aluminum silencers.Derek Huxley
At the time there were other manufacturers as well as myself making replacement silencers for these bikes. This was also the year that the original Yamaha TZ350 exhausts crossed over each other at the front of the bike. At the time although I worked with them and made many of them I always made normal shaped exhausts and never made any crossed over pipes.
The reason the exhausts were crossed over was to move the fat part of the exhaust forward and try to keep it clear of the drive chain. When I made TZ350 exhaust I used to make a motocross style chain guide to keep the chain away from the exhaust pipe on the left side of the bike. If the chain was continually hitting the exhaust the silencer and tailpipe would eventually crack and fall off.
JL Exhausts started in the UK in 1979 at Wymondham in Norfolk. Our first exhaust products were made for Yamaha TZ250 and 350cc race bikes. We produced exhausts and silencers for TZ250F and TZ350F.
For the TZ350F we made replica cross over exhausts these were copies of Yamaha’s first year producing cross over style exhausts. For our team rider Mike Crawford from South Africa we made our side/side exhausts and with these exhausts he qualified in third place for the 1979 British GP at Silverstone.
From 1980 we produced similar exhausts for many teams and riders including Padgetts of Batley. JL continue to the present day producing exhausts for the legendary TZ350.
Tony Green has designed and hand fabricated custom two-stroke race exhaust pipes for many of the greats and is credited with six World Championship wins courtesy of Steve Webster and Jock Taylor. Tony’s expertise has also helped race teams like Ron Haslam’s Team Great Britain, Harald Bartol’s Kurtz Yamaha, KRP, SP125, DTR and many other GP and TT winners from the 70’s through to the present day.
Tony only ever made straight pipes during the post classic period through to today. When the TZ350 came out with the crossover exhausts he felt this wasn’t a progression. The design didn’t allow for the optimum volumes he was looking for and found they were difficult to fit efficiently to the machines.
Tony says he was working with carbon fibre on his silencers from as early as 1981.