Moto Collection
Facebook FMD Instagram FMD
Accueil - FMD - Fiches - Blog - FFVE - Livres - Clubs - Musées - Contact FFVE
 Kawasaki - KA 1
 Back to brands list

Kawasaki D2-492-22-13
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 125
Model : KA 1
Production : 1966 - 1969
Category : (R) Racing


125 KA-1 Grand Prix / Dave Simmonds - 1966

The unexpected world champion

Unveiled during the 1965 Japanese Grand Prix were three examples of the KA-C. They were retired early, which was not unusual for a marque's first venture into Grand Prix racing. Duly improved, the KA-1 reappeared in the 1966 German Grand Prix, ridden by Toshio Fujii, who was killed soon after practicing for the Tourist Trophy. It was not until the last GP of the season, in Japan, that this twin returned to the track.

An Erratic Beginning

Ernst Degner fell during practice and works tester Ken Araoka, Dave Simmonds and Chris Vincent finished respectively 7th, 8th and 10th. The result encouraged Kawasaki to back Simmonds officially during 1967, but the year began with a series of breakages. Simmonds had no success until the Grand Prix of Finland; and then a bad fall put him out of action practically until the end of 1968. He received no works support during 1969, though he was allowed to keep the bike.

A Late Developer

Yamaha and Suzuki withdrew from Grand Prix racing and Simmonds won the title by winning Grand Prix during the season, against a disorganized opposition and with a four-year-old mount – which he totalled in a fall at the end of the season! He was given a second bike, with which he placed fourth in the 1970 championship and won a final GP in 1971, but by now the Kawasaki was truly obsolete. It raced for the last time in 1973, ridden by Jean-Louis Guignabodet; Simmonds had died the year before when his trailer caught fire.


Engine: 124cc (43x42.6mm) water-cooled twin-cylinder; magneto ignition

Power Rating: 30 hp @ 15,000 rpm

Valves: two-stroke; rotary intake valves

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 8- (later 6-) speed, chain final drive

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swinging fork (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

Wheels: 2.50x18 inch wire (front & rear)

Weight: 220 lb

Maximum Speed: 124 mph

The 125 Kawasaki was a late bloomer: four years after its launch, it won a world championship title for Dave Simmonds, without any works backing.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

Accueil - FMD - Fiches Moto Passion - Blog - FFVE - Livres - Clubs - Musées - Contact

Mentions légales