47-Year-Old Photos Delivered to Their Rightful Home
The display introduced Saarinen and his exploits in racing with pictures and video from the era, and prominently featured a replica of his TD-3 production racebike that he rode to win the 250cc Road Racing Grand Prix World Championship in 1972, becoming the first Finn to clinch a world title. Special commemorative items were also offered for purchase featuring illustrations produced just for the event by Finnish illustrator, Pirita Tolvanen.
Finally, Yamaha Motor President Yoshihiro Hidaka personally presented an album containing memorable photos from 47 years ago of Saarinen and his wife Soili to Soili herself, who attended the event.
What sparked the idea for this project was the album itself—found among cardboard boxes storing old Yamaha media assets—as it was filled with happy pictures of Jarno and Soili together during a visit to Japan in November the year before his passing in 1973. Wanting to deliver these photos to their rightful home, the timing also coincided with 2019 being the year marking 100 years of diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan, and thus the project was put in motion.
Soili reminisced while looking at the black-and-white photos from nearly 50 years ago: “Racing is usually done with a big team, but Jarno could do a lot of the mechanical work himself so I helped to support him with everything else and we went to the races as a team. I’m glad to be taking these photos and their memories back with me to Finland.”
President Hidaka himself is an avid race fan. While flipping through an old magazine he owns showcasing Saarinen’s racing achievements, “I remember seeing him in motorcycle magazines while I was student,” he said to Soili. “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d have the duty of handing an album from some 40 years ago to the wife of a rider I admired so much. This has been a heartwarming experience.”
The Jarno Saarinen exhibit will be on display at the Communication Plaza, Yamaha Motor’s corporate museum, from April 16 (Tue.) to May 31 (Fri.).
For Communication Plaza open days and hours: