KAWASAKI’S ZX™-14 WINS SEASON OPENER AT VALDOSTA
Rickey Gadson and the all-new ZX-14 are a force to be reckoned with
VALDOSTA, Ga. (March 5, 2006) - Kawasaki Racing Team rider Rickey Gadson kicked off the 2006 AMA/Prostar drag racing season in championship form. The 39-year-old racer from Philadelphia, Pa., piloted his all-new Kawasaki ZX-14 straight into the winner’s circle and the record books with a new national record of 178.12 mph at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta Ga., on Sunday.
“I have 108 wins to my credit and this has to be one of the most memorable of my career,” said Gadson. “I’m thrilled that Kawasaki asked me to race this bike. The team is coming together, the ZX-14 is awesome and it doesn’t get any better than this.”
Gadson qualified sixth in the newly created AMA/ProStar Super Street category with a conservative 8.72 second pass at 168 mph. “We still had a lot to learn about the bike,” said Gadson. We are dealing with new equipment and we didn’t have any time to test it, so our two qualifying passes served as our testing and the bike ran great. We feel like we are learning more and more every time we go out on the track.”
The steep learning curve for Gadson and his mechanic Coby Adams, made for a challenging day in the pit area, but their veteran abilities proved positive as Gadson blistered the track during the second round of eliminations. He posted a stunning 8.482 second pass at 178.12 mph to defeat contender Darren Burnett who ran 8.697 at 165.94. Gadson’s run also set a new mile-per-hour record for the Super Street class, he explained afterward how the all-new ZX-14 was shaping up. “I had a lot more confidence going into the second round,” Gadson said. “It was lifting the front wheel up a lot through third gear, which can get a little scary, but it also shows how much power the ZX-14 really has. I think the bike has the perfect balance between performance and power. It’s what you want on the track, we just need to tweak a few things and I need a couple more runs to get used to it.”
In the semi-final, Gadson ran 8.92 seconds at 172 mph to advance to the finals. “I missed a shift,” said Gadson. “It didn’t matter though, the bike had plenty of power and I was getting used to it even more. Coby was doing an awesome job dialing in the bike and finding the right power set up. Plus we were running faster than everyone else. I was confident that if we made it to the finals we had nothing to loose.”
In the final round, Gadson trounced top qualifier Todd Schnitz’s Suzuki Hayabusa to take top honors and bragging rights for Kawasaki’s all-new ZX-14. “I couldn’t ask for a better weekend,” said Gadson. “This is huge for me and for Kawasaki, we were faced with a challenge, we met it head on, the bike ran great and we were successful. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this.”
Looking ahead to the next event Gadson has high expectations. “We are going to make some changes but we’re confident that we will be ready,” he said. “We didn’t really have a lot of information or parts for the bike because it’s so new. Now we have some time to catch our breath, test the bike, and gear up for Atlanta. I’m very excited to get there and see what the track has in store for us.”
Next up for Gadson and the all-new Kawasaki ZX-14 is the 2006 MTC Elmer Trett Nationals, April 2-3 at Atlanta Dragway.