Kawasaki Vs. Horse: Race for the Ages

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by Adobestock/AZP Worldwide

Hear from one of our readers as he recounts a story of when he stumbled into a motorcycle race against a quarter horse in Northern Arizona.

An Accidental Participant

Some 50 years ago, in late summer 1973, was the debut year of the Kawasaki Z1 and I was excited to get one. I heard the railroaders talking about setting up a race between a good quarter horse and a motorcycle on Arizona red dirt. The motorcyclist had a 650 Triumph and the horseman was O’Haco, probably the best man for that job in all of Northern Arizona. After weeks of talking about it they set out to actually do it. The motorcyclist got the bike ready. He tuned it, added straight pipes, a larger rear sprocket and an oversized rear tire. The site and date were selected and a cowboy used a measuring wheel to measure the distance. This was a big deal and it took a lot of preparation.

I didn’t even know this date had been determined, I was riding around through Bushman acres and up to the area behind the Winslow community pool when I looked over and saw people, trucks, a horse trailer, etc. To the West I saw two bikes, a black 883 Harley Sportster and a metal flake blue 850 Norton Commando. I knew then exactly what was going on and I wanted to watch. As I rode up to the two bikes and put my stand down the starter girl dropped her flag and they were off! Talk about timing! I saw the Triumph rider trying to keep the bike straight. I heard the booming exhaust and saw the huge rooster tail shooting out the back, it was about 10 feet long. The bike was slewing side to side on every gear change. He was having a tough time. The horse beat him soundly.

  • Updated on Oct 27, 2023
  • Originally Published on Oct 26, 2023
Tagged with: classic kawasaki motorcycles, classic motorcycle, kawasaki z-1, racing motorcycles
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