The Kawasaki 750, like the Suzuki 750, was built exclusively for winning the Daytona 200 Mile. This new Kawasaki was the racing version derived from that miracle of power and acceleration that was normally sold around the world, the Kawasaki Mach IV 750 or H2.
the air-cooled triple H2R
Bob Hansen's American team rode the Kawasaki 500 H1R Daytona in 1971. The motorcycle was very fast but still slightly inferior in performance to the BSA-Triumph 750 and the Suzuki Titan-Daytona 500.
Murray Sayle for Team Kawasaki Australia
In 1972 Hansen's team pitted the brand-new Kawasaki 750 against the equally new Suzuki TR750. The Kawasaki H2R 750 had a two-stroke, three-cylinder transverse inline engine.
Gary Nixon's Daytona 750 H2R
The Kawasaki and the Suzuki were closely matched in power, having about 100 h.p. at 9,000 r.p.m. The Kawasaki 750 had 27 h.p. more than the old H1R 500.
Team Hansen H2R
Both Suzuki and Kawasaki experienced a host of problems at Daytona -chiefly with tires and chains, which had trouble standing up to the power of the engines.
Murray sayle at Wanneroo on the H2R
Not until late in the season were the two most powerful motorcycles in the world sufficiently well tuned. Paul Smart, a British racer, rode the Kawasaki to its first important win at Ontario and received the handsome sum of $25,000 in prize money.
later model H2R
This decisive victory encouraged the Kawasaki people to try to improve the H2R. In 1973 the Kawasaki H2R 750 stood ready at the starting line of the Daytona 200. It was the fastest bike in the field but had to withdraw with engine troubles. The official riders of the Hansen team, Art Baumann and Yvon Du Hamel, were sent to Europe to try their luck at the Imola 200 Mile race, but they had more bad luck. Baumann was in second place behind Jarno Saarinen for some time. After this promising beginning he fell and had to pull out of the race. Du Hamel, who was racing as usual with the number 17, stopped at the pits for refueling. His motorcycle caught fire, which prevented him from returning to the race.
tank and instruments of a H2R
Bad luck dogged Kawasaki all season long. It lost the 1973 FIM Cup to Suzuki. In 1974 it had to face the new four-cylinder in-line Yamaha TZ700/750, which started chalking up victories at once.
In the pits at Wanneroo Western Australia 1975. Hansford's KR750 and Sayles H2R
The following year the H2R was given water cooling and a new chassis in the hope of closing the gap. Despite an increase of 15 h.p., the KR750 never managed to give Kawasaki the consistent winning performance it had always promised.
the water-cooled KR750
In Australia, under the mangement of Neville Doyle, the Kawasaki Green Meanie racing team went on to a superb series of victories dominating the class during the mid 70s. Several riders were to prove their excellence aboard the green meanies including Ron toombs (later sadly killed at Bathurst, though not on a Kawasaki), Greg Hansford ( who later went onto success in the GPs on the KR250 and KR350, although he sadly was also recently killed racing a car at Phillip Island.) Greg had some success on the H2R and KR750 at Daytona as well. Another good rider on the H2R was Murray Sayle.
© 1996 mbarnard