FOOTHILL RANCH, CA – July, 29 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Thirty-seven years ago the starting gates at amateur motocross events were full of red and yellow bikes, but not many green ones. So learned Kawasaki sales and marketing manager Chuck Larsen and district manager Dave Dewey after a visit to the Ponca City, Oklahoma races in 1979. The reason wasn’t that Kawasaki had no racebikes to offer, because the KX™ line was already in its sixth year. The root cause, Larsen learned, was simply that there weren’t enough hop-up parts, specialized tuning knowledge or committed riders to make the KX bikes widely competitive. Excited by new possibilities, after the races Larsen and Dewey formulated the basic idea for the Team Green program– right there in a rental car heading to Wichita.
Further research conducted by ad agency J. Walter Thompson helped define Team Green’s mission, including using amateurs to help develop future products; before long, the first KX™80 motorcycle was in the hands of young racers for evaluation. Under the management of Dave Jordan, the Team Green race team officially debuted at Ponca City in 1981, right where the idea had begun. It was an enormous launch party of sorts, with a fleet of KX bikes for sponsored riders, trucks and work stations, and plenty of parts and technical support all present. That weekend, Team Green changed amateur motocross for good.
Then as now, the mission of the Team Green racing team and its support program was to help amateur racers succeed, and thus permanently connect them to the Kawasaki brand. Jetting or sparkplug issues? Technicians were on it. Bike not hooking up? Let’s try this tire or gearing. Suspension need adjustments? The Team Green staff had answers. Predictably, it didn’t take long for the distinctive Kawasaki Lime Green colored bikes to multiply on the starting gate and podium. But there was a twist, because while assistance was primarily intended for Kawasaki riders, Team Green trackside support would also help riders of other brands. This may seem counterintuitive, but the rationale was simple: Make Team Green the home for every racer wanting to excel.
Over the years, Team Green race team members have included Billy Liles, Jeff Emig, David Bailey, Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto and many others. At various times the series included women’s motocross, ATV and off-road racing too. This year, Team Green is supporting 50 local, regional and national amateur motocross events for riders aboard the KX65, KX85, KX100, KX250F and KX450F motorcycles. Find out more at www.kawasaki.com/racing/team-green.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI) started full-scale production of motorcycles over a half century ago. The first Kawasaki motorcycle engine was designed based on technical know-how garnered from the development and production of aircraft engines, and Kawasaki’s entry into the motorcycle industry was driven by the company’s constant effort to develop new technologies. Numerous new Kawasaki models introduced over the years have helped shape the market, and in the process have created enduring legends based on their unique engineering, power, design and riding pleasure. In the future, Kawasaki’s commitment to maintaining and furthering these strengths will surely give birth to new legends.
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) markets and distributes Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, side x sides, and Jet Ski® watercraft through a network of approximately 1,100 independent retailers, with close to an additional 7,700 retailers specializing in general purpose engines. KMC and its affiliates employ nearly 3,100 people in the United States, with approximately 300 of them located at KMC’s Foothill Ranch, California headquarters.
Kawasaki’s tagline, “Let the good times roll.®”, is recognized worldwide. The Kawasaki brand is synonymous with powerful, stylish and category-leading vehicles. Information about Kawasaki’s complete line of powersports products and Kawasaki affiliates can be found on the Internet at www.kawasaki.com.
Source: Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.