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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I got an invite from the guys at Kawasaki to come out for the dealer show, and to join them for an evening at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Rickey Gadson and a few bikes to see what fun could be had. Rickey is a very successful professional drag racer, and offers instruction in his school, called the Rickey Gadson Sportbike DragRacing School.

I spent some time scurrying around trying to locate leathers to wear, since I was between suits (sold my last set and intending to get a new one from Syed, but just haven't gotten around to it yet), I managed to find a barely used MotoGP suit for a very reasonable price. Turns out it didn't matter since Kawasaki showed up with a trailer full of gear to borrow, and one of them fit me pretty well.

Monday I arose at 4:30am eastern for an early flight to Vegas, and after arriving at my hotel, I grabbed some lunch and hung out impatiently until 5pm local time when it was time to go to the track, and then stayed out there until 10pm, which was really 1am eastern the following day to me. The commonly recurring theme of any good Kawasaki event seems to be sleep deprivation. No rest for the wicked, and that apparently includes me! Kawasaki is all about Good Times, and there's no time for sleep.


After picking up Rickey at his hotel, we head out to the track. Once there, he began to inspect the bikes and get them ready for the evening. The bikes available were two "school" bikes which are '09 ZX14s with extended swingarm, exhaust system & air shifter, two stock 2010 ZX14s, and two 2010 Ninja 250s. The rule was that if you hadn't ridden a ZX14 before, or hadn't ridden one on a drag strip, you had to start out on a 250. Fine with me! I've been wanting to ride a 250 anyway, and have never had the opportunity before.






More Kawasaki people arrived and various journalists and others, including one woman who was described to me as a "personality". Her name was Molly, and she looked very familiar to me. Turns out she plays the woman in the Chase credit card commercial. You know, the one who admitted trading the points for the evening gown, when her husband wanted to take a vacation or go on a cruise? Turns out you can trade your points for dragstrip runs as well! But I didn't confirm that until the following day. At the time, I just knew that I knew her from somewhere and that she is cooler than the other side of the pillow... AND the woman can ride. She had never been on a drag strip before, but went out and ended up pulling 16 second quarter mile runs on the 250, and then a 10 second run on a stock ZX14. My new hero! Way to go Molly! Funniest of all was when the competitions started, and Molly confiscated one guy's man card by repeatedly whipping his tail on the 250s, and also at least one run on the ZX14s. Another woman, Tania, ran a 16:01 on a 250, and also did well on the ZX14s.

Molly






I did some runs on a 250 before breaking for dinner, but didn't feel equal to riding the bigger bikes, so I played photographer for the rest of the night. I will say that now I've ridden a 250, I can't imagine why a beginning rider wouldn't want one. Even the heavier guys riding them were getting down the track pretty quick, and that was with a fairly strong head wind, and sometimes a cross wind, as there was a thunderstorm looming on the outskirts of the area, threatening to move in on us at any moment. That little bike will get up and go if you ask it to.

Rickey's teaching method is very easy going, but clear and effective. He started with an informal speech under the tent, safety etc. Then we all suited up, and went out to the track to watch Rickey demonstrate staging and launching. After that, we lined up and took turns on the bikes, with Rickey right there in our ears, correcting, adjusting and answering questions. If you are interested in drag racing, for serious or for fun, you should look at taking his school. He really knows his stuff, and in addition is a great teacher. At least one of the journalists got down into the 9's, on one of the school ZX14s. You could see everyone improving their technique and times throughout the night, and common ETs were 10s to 12s on the ZX14s, and 16s to 18s on the 250s.

Look who else showed up! Anywhere you find fast and/or cool Kawasakis, Jason Britton mysteriously appears. :p







Thanks to Kawasaki for the invite, and Rickey Gadson for his time. Even though I only rode the 250, I now know 99.9% more about drag racing than I did before. Next time, I'll be prepared to go further.


Stay tuned for more pictures and some video to follow!
 

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And LVMS is at 2000' elevation, so actual ET's are a bit slower than at sea level. :)

Sounds like a heck of a good time! I'm guessing they didn't bring out the new ZX10 because they didn't want to show-up the ZX14.

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ha! That doesn't make me feel any better about my times. ;)

None of the bikes out there were 2011s, but I don't think any ZX10 would be the easiest bike to launch. I think the ZX14 would get away quicker.

It was a lot of fun though. None of us were about to complain about the choice of bikes to ride, that's for sure. :D
 

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Wow, what a ride! Sounds like you had a blast too. Definitely something to tell your grandchildren about for sure. When you get some that is.
 

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He started Drag racing on his fathers KZ1300 at local tracks
 

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wow let the good times roll.
 

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I met Rickey at the Chicago International Motorcycle Show a few years ago.... Nice guy, but seemed like he was pretty preoccupied with everything else he had going on that day. I don't blame him a bit though.... I also met Jason Britton (stunter), and Mike Seate (motorcycle mag writer). Mike was showing off his new magazine CAFE RACER.
 

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jason britton is an awesome stunter. loved his show on the speed channel. does it still come on? havnt seen it in a while.
 

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SUPERBIKES? I watched it a few times, but never followed it. I am a prehistoric beast; no IPHONE, no Android Phone, no cable, satellite, internet, computer, or XM Radio.... So I really couldn't tell ya Cliff.
 

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i know they cancelled superbikes. he had another show. cant think of the name of it. they went around & found different places on the street to do stunting illegally. it was pretty good but not sure if its still on.
 
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