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Kawasaki Motors Australia (KMA) ex-employee, Roger Young recently wrote to KMA about his story and collection of Kawasaki Motorcycles;

"I joined KMA in March 1981 as National Marketing Manager just as they were taking over distribution from independent wholesalers in Queensland and South Australia. Quickly took overall responsibility for sales as well with sales teams based in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Highlights were being the first non-racing entity to have Bathurst street circuit closed so press could ride the GPz range around Mount Panorama (had already done a road trip up from Sydney and then chartered a flight to get everyone back from Bathurst at the end of the day), taking editors from the major magazines to the world release of the GPz900R at Laguna Seca race track, ‘scooping the pool’ in 1984 with “Two Wheels” Bike of the Year (GPz900R), Best Bike (GPz900R), Best 250 (KR250) and Best Off-road (KLR600) in “Bike Australia” (still have the poster we produced at the time), first market to release Kawasaki branded power tools (albeit a brushcutter). By the end of 1985 with nothing new to do I headed back to NZ and dragged my old 1976 XT500, that I had bought new as a uni student, out of storage, built some panniers and a long range tank then spent a couple of years riding it around the world. Wrote a series of six articles on my travels for “Two Wheels” in 1989. Worked for a while back in NZ then spent some years working in Canada and USA with a Swiss multi-national before settling back in NZ in 2000."

"The collection; the 1973 Z1 was purchased from Byrnes Motorcycle in Nowra May 1984 with 9,278 miles and had pretty much been in storage since then. Started a full restoration six years ago and repainted frame and engine cases, re-chromed and re-zinced everything except exhaust pipes, replaced every O ring, oil seal and gasket on the bike. It now still has only 10,100 miles on it but working hard to remedy that. The 1983 Z1300A5 I bought in November 1984, it had been languishing in a dealers showroom as the later fuel injected A6 had been out for some time. Apart from fitting the sidecar in 1996 and leading link front end, it is still original. Used to take our 3 young boys in the chair with my wife on the back – now done 26,500km. The 1984 ZX900A1 (GPz900R) I bought second hand in NZ April 1990 with 37,388km on, is still original and remains my favourite ride. The 1994 ZX900B1 (ZX9R) I bought second hand in Toronto December 1995 with 8,414km and is also still original – just had to have one so that I had all 3 first models of the Kawaka 900’s, a decade apart – now done 18,180km. The 1985 ZX750E2 (GPz750 Turbo) I bought here in NZ September 2018, at a weak moment “strictly as is where is” but with only 834 miles on it. It had been imported from the USA in 2007 and also languished in storage. Bit of a sorry state when I got it but felt an obligation to save it and return to new condition – still only 1,500 miles on it but also working on that."

"I need one more bike to complete the collection, a KR250. We sold hundreds of them but they very seldom come up in anything but wrecked condition. There is a small but select group here in Christchurch called the “Classic Japanese Motorcycle Group of Christchurch” https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Nonprofit-Organization/Classic-Japanese-Motorcycle-Group-Christchurch-New-Zealand-823558951125081/  and we get to take our old bikes out for a couple of rides each month and a major multi day ride once a year. We have recently established an ‘off-road chapter’ for those with dirt bikes (I still have the XT500, now with 88,000km on it) and we often head in to the hills for some scenic rides. In 2018 I bought a Versys 1000 and 18 of us shipped our bikes to see the Isle of Mann races and then spent 3 weeks touring in Europe. The Versys would have to be one of the most comfortable, versatile and easy to ride bikes I have ever been on!"

 

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