Volume one: Lean, Mean and Lime Green. Two stroke era Kawasaki racing 1968-1978
Volume One - This is the most complete inside story of Kawasaki’s racing history starting with their first venture into Japanese motorcycle racing and finishing in the unforgettable 1970’s two stroke era of the famous 500cc and 750cc three cylinder factory road race motorcycles. These were the motorcycles that were at the beginning of Formula 750 World Championship racing. Randy Hall, Kawasaki’s first US Racing Team Manager and racing development engineer starting in 1970 was always at the heart of the action, whether on the racetrack or behind the scenes with Team Kawasaki’s racing program in America, Canada and Europe. He remembers well the legendary star riders like Yvon Duhamel, Ralph White, Gary Nixon, Art Baumann, Hurley Wilvert and Paul Smart who raced these awesomely powerful 180 mph Kawasaki racers that made the team so successful in its time.
Volume Two - This is the continuing story of the beginning years of Kawasaki’s factory challenge into the AMA Superbike racing championship with the brutally powerful Kawasaki 1000cc four stroke motorcycles modified for racing. The story features Kawasaki’s hiring of upcoming US motorcycle racers in their first factory-racing contracts. Riders like Mike Baldwin, Eddie Lawson, Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey and veteran racers David Aldana and Wes Cooley all of whom would become star racing legends in both US racing and World Championship racing. Randy Hall provides the inside story of the building and development of the ever increasing brute horsepower and amazing speed of these Superbikes.
Described in detail in this large, over 3 pound 8.5 x 11 inch 344 page full color book are all of Kawasaki’s race bikes from 1967 to 1978. Included are the winning Kawasaki racing motorcycles in the World championship Grand Prix races and Isle of Man TT. Over 100 rare archive and studio photographs complete the story.
Described in detail in this 8.5 x 11 inch full-color book are Kawasaki’s championship winning Superbikes from 1979 to 1983. Also included are the Kawasaki grand prix 250cc and 500cc motorcycles raced in both AMA and World championship Grand Prix races. Many rare archive and studio photographs show the detail and complete the story of these famous Kawasaki motorcycles.
After racing a 250cc AJS in sportsman dirt track races in my native South Dakota, I moved to Southern California in 1963 and continued racing there on a 500cc BSA Gold Star. At that time, my first personal involvement in professional motorcycle racing also began while I was working as a mechanic at Norm Reeves Motorcycles in Paramount, California.
There I started helping one of the other mechanics, Dick (Sandy) Sanborn, with a 650cc BSA A10, and later a 650cc A65 model that Sandy had built for the TT races at Ascot Park in Gardena. His rider, Jack O’Brien, was a member of the famous BSA ‘wrecking crew’ (along with Al Gunter, Stu Morley and Neil Keen) that dominated racing at the famous Ascot Park dirt track in the 1960’s.
In 1967, however, there came a moment of fate that changed my life forever. A young English rider, Rodney Gould, and his journalist friend, Bruce Cox, had decided to spend the winter in California where Bruce worked for Cycle World magazine and Rodney went to work as a mechanic at the Norm Reeves dealership. Through that connection, we all became good friends.
Rod also raced at the Southern California tracks of Carlsbad, Willow Springs and Riverside that winter and, as I recall, won every race in which he competed. One of these was on a Kawasaki A1-R, which resulted in him being signed to race for the Kawasaki team in the 250cc race at Daytona. In early 1968, I sold everything I owned to go first to Daytona and then on to Europe with Rodney and Bruce. I became Rodney’s race mechanic as he continued his full time professional road race career riding a Yamaha on the European FIM Grand Prix circuits. We had three good years together on the Grand Prix circuits resulting in Rod winning the 250cc FIM World Championship in 1970.
Fate, however, was to change my life again after that successful season as my new wife was having a tough time adapting to the Grand Prix racer’s life . This entailed not only living in a small caravan/trailer but also hooking it up to a van full of bikes and towing it almost weekly to a different country, with different money and different languages for a good part of the year. It was not an easy life in those days for anyone involved in Grand Prix racing.
By 1969, Bruce Cox had returned to California, and had started his own motorcycle newspaper, Motorcycle Weekly, that was quickly growing in circulation. My wife and I had returned to California for the winter of 1970 while we considered whether we would go back to Europe in 1971 or stay in California. Our decision was easy after Bruce informed me that Kawasaki was planning to start a road racing team and was looking for a racing team manager. I successfully applied for the position and in late 1970 began my seventeen-year history with Kawasaki Motors Corporation.
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