TEAM SUZUKI RACING news 32 2017 MX Special Edition S uzuki has a long- standing history in motocross competition and since 1970, when Joel Robert took victory aboard the RH70, many titles have followed. But it was Akira Watanabe who became Japan’s first and only World Motocross Champion in 1978 when he clinched the 125cc crown aboard his RA78. Watanabe went on the finish second in 1979 behind Harry Everts, but support continued for the world championships and also on the home front in Japan that brought a new breed of riders; some who would make it at world championship level. Watanabe has been a driving force in Suzuki’s domestic MX series over the Yoshitaka Atsuta representing Japan at the 2011 Motocross of Nations where the team finished 13th overall with Atsuta the strongest rider. JMX Motocross Kei Yamamoto, who won the 2012 Japanese International IA2 Motocross Championship, pictured with his team. Kei Yamamoto in action as he charges back from a poor start to clinch the IA2 Motocross Championship in 2012. Atsuta’s RM-Z from the ‘Nations in 2014. Atsuta and Kojima celebrate after their historic Suzuki 1-2 in the 2015 Japanese MX Championship.