Legendary racers and tuners who helped forge Kawasaki’s reputation for performance in American motorcycle racing will be at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Riders of Kawasaki, July 7-9 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Co-Grand Marshals Tony Nicosia, Steve Johnson, Gary Semics and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jeff Fredette will provide rare insight into both the development of Kawasaki production models, as well as what it took to win on the track.
“This will be such a treat for Kawasaki fans,” said Mitch Boehm, long-time motorcycle journalist and a member of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation Board of Directors, which raises money for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. “If you’ve ever been wowed by the raw sound and fury of an H1, here’s your chance to meet H1 and H2 legendary racer and tuner Tony Nicosia.
“Then there’s Steve Johnson – crew chief extraordinaire who built dozens of championship-winning bikes, including the famed GPz750 that Wainey Rainey used to slay a grid full of next-generation Superbikes in 1983,” said Boehm. “In motocross, former AMA Supercross Champion Gary Semics has become one of the sport’s most recognizable trainers. And, of course, the unmatched competitive longevity of Jeff Fredette’s 33 Six Days medals speaks for itself.”
Tony Nicosia had a varied and successful motorcycle racing career that stretches from mid-20th Century scrambles racing in Japan to road, drag and land-speed racing back in America. But he’s best known as a key figure in the development of one of the most legendary production motorcycles ever made: Kawasaki’s two-stroke triple, the H1 Mach III.
Long-time Kawasaki test rider and mechanic Steve Johnson is one of motorcycle racing’s most experienced tuners and crew chiefs. His career started impressively enough – turning wrenches for Phil Read’s 1971 250 Grand Prix title – before he went to work for Kawasaki’s factory motocross team, tuning the open-class KXs that powered Brad Lackey to the 1972 500cc AMA National Championship and Jimmy Weinert to the 1974 title.
Gary Semics started racing in his early teens and was a factory rider by the age of 18. After winning the 500cc AMA Supercross title in 1974, he started racing for the factory Kawasaki team. He raced on the U.S. Motocross and Trophee des Nations teams in 1977 before taking his talent and rigorous training regimen to the Motocross World Championship circuit.
Jeff Fredette started racing Kawasakis in 1983, and has barely slowed down since. Although he is best known for his 33 medals in International Six Days Enduro competition, Fredette, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002, won the 1989 126-200 A class title in the AMA National Enduro Championship, the 2004 Senior 40-plus A class enduro title, and has collected more than 15 AMA Ice Race National Championships since 1984.
For more information, visit www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com.