Kawasaki Pull-out Comes Two Decades After 1983 Pull-Out
Every Few Decades, Good Times Come And Good Times Go
by dean adams
Friday, November 14, 2003
Kawasaki's announcement today that they will not be racing the Superbike class for 2004 comes two decades after they announced their first pull-out of the class.
Kawasaki won one of the most hard-fought Superbike championships ever in the series history in 1983. Californian Wayne Rainey and his tuner, Rob Muzzy, beat a hoard of Hondas for the Superbike title, Rainey riding the low-tech Gpz750 while the Hondas were trick V-4 Interceptors. If you peered in the garages that year at Daytona, there was no way you walked away thinking Kawasaki was going to win anything, much less the title.
Inspired and consistent riding by Rainey, and anvil-reliable bikes put the Kawasaki on top. The '83 win still stands as a milestone in AMA Superbike history.
In the '83 off-season, to the dismay of many, Kawasaki announced they were pulling out of racing, and they let the entire championship-winning team go.
The oft-told tale, one disputed by period Kawasaki sources such as former marketing man Mike Vaughn, was that the bad news reached the team just before the 1984 900 Ninja press introduction. Rainey attended the Ninja press intro on behalf of Kawasaki and did his best to implore the Kawasaki Japan execs on hand to change their minds.
Period press people recall a very emotional Rainey standing in front of a Japanese exec repeating "Why? Why?" And the exec, in turn, repeating that they were very sorry ...