In May 2011, for the Coupes Moto Légende taking place on the French Dijon circuit, the organizer invited a world legend of motorcycle sports, the Canadian Yvon Duhamel.
Accompanied by his son Miguel, another legendary rider, winner of the 200 Miles of Daytona, Yvon Duhamel would be able to take the handles of one of the rarest Works Kawasaki he ever raced, the 1974 H1RW.
Yvon Duhamel was one of the most striking racers of Kawasaki’s racing history.
From 1970 to 1977 the racing department of Kawasaki in Japan developed several exceptional machines significant of that period: From the 1969 Kawasaki 125 World Champion of Simmonds to the last KR 750 in 1977.
In 1973 Yvon Duhamel, at that time official Kawasaki racer, asked for a bike that should be lighter and easier to manipulate than the ones he was racing.
For the 1974 season, the racing department developed two new 500 cc air-cooled three cylinder bikes, called H1RW.
The base of the bikes was identical to the 750 H2R, with lower diameter frame tubes (35 mm instead of 37 mm on the 750). The specific front brake calipers were cut in the lower fork part. Finally, the gearbox disposed of six gears (five on the privateer H1R).
Both bikes were sent to the French Kawasaki importer S.I.D.E.M.M., in order to enter the 500 cc World Championship.
The official team riders were the French Christian Léon and Yvon Duhamel. Christian Léon achieved a few results within the first ten of the Championship and Yvon Duhamel didn’t participated in all the Championship races.
In fact, with the arrival of the Yamaha and Suzuki 4 cylinder, obtaining good results became more and more difficult.
Kawasaki insisted by developing a new, liquid cooled H1RW in 1975, for the British rider Mick Grant.
Finally, at the end of the 1975 season, Kawasaki stopped racing in the 500 category.
Coming back to the two 1974 “air cooled” H1RW, they remained in the workshop of the French importer. Subsequently one bike was dismantled for parts.
Only a single bike survived. It was recuperated by the former racer of Kawasaki France, Hubert Rigal, in 2010.
This bike is absolutely unique worldwide, the only “air cooled” works Kawasaki H1RW in existence.
The bike is complete and original (with the typical front brake calipers cut into the lower fork part). The frame corresponds to the KR 750 but with a lower diameter.
Restored beginning of 2011 in France, with the objective to be ridden by Yvon Duhamel himself, 37 years later, during the 2011 Coupes Moto Légende.
At this occasion and to ensure the security (the bike has almost 40 years at that time), the suspension (Ceriani as used at the period) as well as the magnesium alloy rims and the faring used are recent replicas.
This is a unique opportunity to own a very rare Grand Prix bike of historic importance.
At the age of 73 years, this is certainly the last race bike that the famous Canadian racer Yvon Duhamel would have ridden.
This is a true collectors’ piece.