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In the 1950s, Czech company Jawa was one of the top motorcycle manufacturers in the world. They enjoyed success in racing as well, often battling it out with that other great Czech manufacturer, CZ. Their Z-15 parallel twin debuted in 1950 and proved an effective motor for both solo and sidecar racing.

This 1954 Z-15 is identical to the ones raced by Chech Grand Prix riders Frantisek Stasny and Gustav Havel. The air-cooled 488cc vertical-twin four-stroke fitted with double overhead camshafts (DOHC) produces around 55 horsepower at 8.000 revs per minute. It is capable of top speeds over 200 kilometers per hour. At the 1956 Dutch TT no less than 6 Jawas stood at the start of the 500 cc race, with one of them reserved for Dutchman Leen Rehorst, who is actually the oldest contestant during the Classic GP Assen this weekend.

Jawa ceased production of the Z-15 in 1958. Remarkably the factory enjoyed its greatest success with the 350 cc version of the Z-15 in the years immediately after. From 1960 up until 1967 Jawa was one of the top constructors in the world championship. In 1961 Statsny and Havel claimed double 1st and 2nd places in the German and Swedish Grand Prix’ eventually finishing 2nd and 3rd in the 350cc World Championship.

From 1966 onwards Jawa had devoted itself exclusively to two-strokes, with which it enjoyed some success during the 80s. The company was more successful in track racing and motocross and it has always been a dominant force in speedway racing, where four-strokes prevail.

During the Classic GP Assen Czech rider Milan Šramek will ride the Jawa 500 Z-15 in the Motorcycle Legends GP 1 – category.

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