Kawasaki began way back in 1878, but first began manufacturing motorcycle engines in 1953 – its first engine was based on technical know-how garnered from the development and production of aircraft engines. Over the years, it has released numerous iconic models that have helped shape the market.
The first motocross-specific Kawasaki was the B8M (‘Red Tank’) from 1962, developed for use in the Japanese Motocross Championship, and it was followed by models including the KT250 trials bike from 1975, the entry-level AE80 from 1982, and the mighty two-stroke KX500 from 1991, used by riders including American MX legend Brad Lackey and Brit Paul Malin, the youngest ever MXGP winner.
The four-stroke KX250F, introduced in 2004, is still in production today, with a great turn of speed and handling to match. It has since been joined in the motocross range by the KX450F, an established podium-chaser in MX1 and ridden with great success in supercross by multiple champion Ryan Villopoto, plus the smaller KX65, KX85 and KX100.
Kawasakis are used by a number of the teams in the World Motocross Championship, at both MXGP and MX2 level – riders include Tommy Searle, Steven Frossard and Gautier Paulin. In the USA, the Monster Energy/Kawasaki and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teams compete in AMA Motocross and Supercross, while Kawasaki Team Green continues its proud tradition of developing amateur motocross racers into today’s top professionals.