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Jul 11, 2014

More On The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R ABS 30th Anniversary Edition Launch At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Kawasaki's Brad Puetz was at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to introduce the limited edition 2015 Kawasaki ZX-14R, in the colors of the original 1984 Ninja 900. Photos by Michael Gougis.

Eric Bostrom, Jeremy Toye Unveil Limited Edition Kawasaki ZX-14R At Superbike World Championship Event At Laguna Seca

AMA Pro Road Racing Champion Eric Bostrom and Pikes Peak winner Jeremy Toye were on hand Friday, July 11, to introduce Kawasaki's newest model, a limited edition 2015 ZX-14R, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the original 1984 Ninja GPz900R.

Bostrom and Toye have made part of their motorcycling names aboard the company's machines, with Bostrom taking the 2001 AMA Pro Road Racing Supersport title aboard a ZX-6R, and Toye racing a ZX-10R successfully in international competition, most recently winning the Open class at the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Having ridden one of the newest generations ZX-10R, Bostrom said it compared favorably with the 600cc and 636cc machines he used to race for the factory here in the U.S.

"The biggest difference is that now, the tires feel like they're being driven into the pavement," Bostrom says. "Back then, it used to feel like they were sliding across the surface. It's better chassis, better suspension. The 1000s today are easier to ride than the 600s I raced."

Toye said that when Kawasaki announced plans to race him at Pikes Peak aboard a supersport machine, he heard a lot of "that can't be done" talk that motivated him.

"I was told that it was the wrong bike, that you needed something with (upright) handlebars, all this stuff," Toye says. "So I had an opportunity to race here, to win, and to prove some people wrong."

The immensely experienced Toye says that nothing - closed-circuit racetrack or open-road course - prepared him for Pikes Peak.

"It is its own animal," Toye says.

Kawasaki representatives played a brief high-definition video shot from a helicopter of Toye's winning run up the hill. After watching, Bostrom, who won several AMA Pro road races at the Pikes Peak International Raceway circuit, feigned heart palpitations, and when asked if he would consider doing the hillclimb, simply said, "I'll just let my record at Pikes Peak stand ..."

Having introduced special 30th anniversary editions of the ZX-10R and the ZX-6R, Kawasaki chose Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to unveil its limited edition ZX-14R. Only 300 of the machines will be made, and will be painted in the exact same Firecracker Red and Metallic Graystone paint scheme as the original Ninja 900. Each will have special badges identifying it as part of the limited run, and each will have a numbered badge on the gas tank.

Potential buyers will have to pre-order the machines from their Kawasaki dealer. Deposits - $1,000, non-refundable - are being accepted starting 9 a.m. Pacific time on July 15. The bikes will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, with each deposit being computer time-stamped. Suggested retail is $15,899.

It was not a bad place or time for Kawasaki to attract attention to itself. After all, one of its Superbike World Championship riders, Tom Sykes, is the defending Champion, is leading the current championship and was among the leaders in Friday's practice sessions at Laguna.