Estonian rider in the Soviet Vostok team
In the history of the Vostok team, of which we already published a short text last year, the second rider of the team, Endel Kiisa, was born on 1st October 1937 in the Hiiumaa Island, north-west of Estonia. After the Second World War, Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union. Son of a sailor, he started to ride motorcycle, both on and off the road, learning mechanics and then beginning to race in road racing, motocross and speedway national championships. He became Estonian champion 23 times and later raced in Soviet Union, earning two road racing titles.
He was chosen to ride in the Vostok team in July 1964, at the East German GP on the 4-cylinder S-364 Vostok. The engine broke but in Imatra (Finland), Endel Kiisa achieved a brilliant third place on the rostrum behind Jim Redman and Bruce Beale’s Hondas, which gave him an 8th place in the final 350cc classification.
In 1965, the team went to the Austrian Grand Prix, and the Salzburgring seemed to suit well to the Vostok, as Kiisa went on leading the race for various laps, in front of stunned paddock members and spectators, until he unfortunately crashed in the last lap. The potential of the motorcycle (and of the rider) was clear, however the team withdrew from racing despite another third place of teammate Sevostianov in Brno. Kiisa was in the team again in 1968 and 1969 with the new 500cc 4-cylinder S-565. which took part in only one race each year. In 1969 on the Sachsenring, Endel Kiisa finished tenth.
After mechanics and racing, Kiisa studied physical education at the Tallinn University. He also worked as director in a big company producing sweets and chocolates.
Text Marc Pétrier Photo FIM Archive/Maurice Büla Collection