2003 to 2005
2006 to 2009
1990 to 2002
Bear Racing's Kawasaki
Plan to beat all of the Competition,
You have to go back to the year 2000 when the Kawasaki ZX12R first came out and was such a Beautiful Motorcycle that Pierre Labuschagne the Now owner of Bear Racing bought one! He customized it and put a Beautiful tear away paint job on the bike and people started to calling the Bike a “Jewel Box”! It looked good but could it RUN? Not one to shy away from anything he started thinking out every way possible to make it RUN as Good as it looked! He bored it and Stroked it and made special parts for it and sprayed it with NOS and eventually it became known as the “BEAR ZX 14R”. He was very serious about his creation and wanted to see how it stacked up against the best in the world. The Next thing you know, he flew the bike and his family to America to race it in the Drag Racing World Finals in Gainesville Florida in November 2002. This bike did about as well as the Other NOS Bikes but it was Up against Turbo Powered Motorcycles and was out classed by them! The bike was voted as the Best engineered Motorcycle there.
He realized that he had brought a Knife to a Gunfight and vowed to never make that mistake again. In 2003 he contacted the then builder of the Quickest and Fastest Kawasaki’s Rob Muzzy to build him a 2004 Kawasaki ZX12 Turbo, which was to be ready for the 2003 World Finals the next year at Gainesville. Bear Racing contracted the Best rider they could find at the time in South Africa, Francie Engelbrecht and brought him over to ride this new Bike! After a few runs, everyone realized that they were going to “Spank” the competition and that is when I heard someone say that the Bike was going to be disqualified and not allowed to run. What transpired after that was worse than being a Black man at an all white Klan Meeting! They were treated in ways that embarrassed me to be called an American! I was so upset that I wrote an article titled AMA World Finals No Outsiders welcome! Eventually this bike was allowed to run and made 3 rounds of racing where to me, Francie did not make a good run and lost.
Eventually Bear Racing (J P Labuschagne) made his own Kawasaki ZX12R Turbo, which finished, 3rd at the 2004 World Finals in 2004. I feel that the AMA ProStar seeing several South African Teams making an Assault on the “World Finals” realized that they meant business, the AMA ProStar stopped having the “World Finals”. After all, how can you call it the World Finals when you do not race outside the USA or have anyone from outside the USA Racing?
BAYTOWN, Texas - The 13th annual Pontiac Pro Stock Super Bowl on Saturday, February 5th.Watson, and Jerry Haas/Tony Rizzo; the Pro Stock Motorcycle teams of Geno Scali and Rickey Gadson (Harry Lartigue's pilot for 2005) with the new rookie crew JP Labuschagne from South Africa Bear Racing
The new Lucas Oil Team Rickey Gadson with JP Labuschagne from South Africa Bear Racing team and Harry the team owner.
JP flew out to Texas on the 13 Jan as a rookie in the big New world of NHRA racing, to help build Rickey’s new bikes for the session, It took night and day 15 hour days to get the bike ready to race, but it paid of at the end .The first test and tune for the new bike showed that the SA boy knows his stuff. Gadson’s first run was a 7.18 followed by 7.14 and 7.13.These times will ensure that he will be in the top Qualifiers
In 2006 BEAR Racing found that the Pro mod built by MUZZY was up for sale by Kawasaki in Hungary, this did not take long and the bike was on its way to South Africa. With no experience of pro mod or Wheelie bar bike, the team striped the bike, and rebuild it into the GHOST RIDER with all the new hi Tech and mods that were learned from the ZX12R Turbo Bike.
The tracks In South Africa are not the Tracks in the USA, It is like racing on a road with little or no traction and a mile high in Altitude. This is not the ideal condition for this bike. The only state of the art track had closed down in SA and the Bear team needed to make this work.
Now considering that Mr. R Muzzy built the bike to prove a point, and after the first run got DQ with a run of 6.86.
Now this bike was upgraded with new management and all the latest ZX12R performance parts it was ready to run but the track in SA would not hold the bike.
First time out with Quinton Classen on the bike it ran 7.51 and broke the 22-year Top Fuel record held in South Africa. And Africa for that matter.
This was the fastest a bike has ever gone in Africa.
Getting Rickey Gadson out to South Africa help setup and ride the bike he did a run of 7.48 and a 7.21.This put the record at 7.489 as it was not in the limit to back up the 7.21 run.
Rickey said it was the scariest run he has ever done.
With the record in the bag and no other bike to compete the Ghost Rider was retired.
All of this brings us to the current situation where Bear Racing in South Africa is a Family Business and all members of the family Race! There is one member of the family that has to race using only his right hand because he never had a Left hand. Pierre seeing this wanted him like everyone else to compete at the Highest level of racing took a ZX14 and made a special clutch so the bike did not have a Clutch lever. They tried this out in 2006 and the Bike ran well but was not dominant in the class. That is when the Idea of Building the most serious possible Kawasaki ZX14 came up and what you see them with at the track is possibly the only Kawasaki that can beat all comers Single Handedly.
I got a call that I needed to go to Atlanta Georgia to see the new Bike that Pierre had built by Velocity Racing here in the United States. When I got to Atlanta the weather was raining and horrible. Worse yet, Pierre was nowhere to be found. When I called him I found that they were just testing the Bike for the first time a few hundred miles away where it was not raining and that they (Bear Racing) would be there the next day. Two days later they arrived and I got to see the bike for the First time. One look at the bike and I knew there was going to be trouble for anyone that was going up against this weapon. They had brought a Cannon to this Gunfight and were going to kill the competition. First, there was no way for the rider to sit any closer to the front wheel unless he sat on top of the engine and the Front of the fairing was almost farther forward than the front of the front tire. The tail section was long enough that rear steer may have been needed if turning was required for any other type of racing to be done! The Bike was Pure Artwork, but how did it perform?
The first few passes I saw it make were “OK” but nothing to write home about. I guess considering that these were the First and second passes ever, even the shortened 1/8 mile they were doing as well as expected. The third pass was the one where I knew he really had something special when the bike made 4.95 pass and moved to the Second round of racing. I watched them read the data logger and saw that everywhere the bike was making too much power! Now this is the kind of problem I always wanted but this bike was an animal and it did not want to be tamed! They removed more power and the Bike made the second round pass of 4.90 at 158 MPH in the 1/8 mile and was about the 3rd Quickest and Fastest of the 2nd round and was now in the Semifinals. The problem was, it was 10 PM Sunday Night and they had run out of Track time and the racing stopped. Looking around I realized that there were other Kawasaki ZX14’s and they were all Turbo’s and had long Swing arms! The problem for “ALL” of them was none of them had run into the 4-second range and most could not get below the 5.30’s. It was then I realized that in Just 3 rounds of racing, Bear Racing with only 4 passes on a Brand New Motorcycle become the Quickest and Fastest Kawasaki ZX14 in the World! WOW!
What qualifications does this bike have?? The last I spoke about it was the rain out at Atlanta Georgia. From there the bike was raced at Memphis Motorsports Park in Memphis Tennessee. There it Qualified 5th with a 7.47 pass within 1 tenth of the Quickest bike in the field. The First round of racing it ran a 7.44 at over 190 MPH with only 2 bikes running a better time! Then all of a sudden the bike was disqualified for having 3 drops of oil on the scale that came from an empty Catch can where the valve had loosened! It was Gainesville 2003 all over again to me! The bike was out and then it was in and then everyone protested it and it was out again! They knew they were in for an Ass Whopping and they ran away! Remember this was only the 4th, 5th & 6th passes the Bike had ever made and the first 3 runs at ¼ mile! With the Bike still not dialed in, the decision was made to ship it back to SA. Then the owner of the AMA ProStar Series sent a Written Apology to Bear Racing and offered to pay the entry fees for the next meet at Bristol Tennessee!
Bristol was also the race where they would finish the Atlanta Race! It was a hard decision to make but Bear Racing spent the extra Money and time to make the race. When all was said and done, this Kawasaki ZX-14 finished 2nd for the Atlanta Race running within 0.050 of the quickest time there. With more power removed it got to the Final Round for that meet also making a pass faster than any other bike there in the Semifinals by 3 tenths of a Second. The quickest run was a tire spinning 7.43 and the highest MPH was 194. Please understand that in the final round, Bear Racing ZX14 had a Borrowed rear wheel (Thanks to Rickey Gadson and Coby Adams) because it had eaten the sprocket carrier bearing and weakened the swing arm bearing. Did I mention that it also had blown the head gasket 2 rounds earlier and was running without water? The bike could have won this event by only making the worst run it had ever made but the decision was made to “Add” more power and the track just could not hold it and the bike spun the entire ¼ mile and ran an 8.01 right at 194 MPH. What you are looking at is the Quickest and Fastest Kawasaki ZX14 that has ever been made! Velocity Racing was given an unlimited expense account to build it and exceeded it by a wide margin! No expense was spared and the bike shows it! Ultimately it will beat everyone ridden by Jan Labuschagne only using his right hand!
So then the bike was shipped back to South Africa along with an additional set of spares to build a 2nd bike in South Africa.
Bud Yoder on the Bear Racing ZX14
Back home the Bear Team has developed and built the 2-nd bike with a luxury transporter as they had moved business to Bella Bella and had to travel to the track and get accommodation this transporter solved all the problems and the team was on the road to success.
An unfortunate turn of personal events caused the team to stop racing and the engineering side to be under pressure.
The Engineering was sold to the sons and Bear Racing evolved into a research and development center that is using cutting edge technology, to develop components, carbon fiber printing, laser cutting, engineering 7 axis CNC in the aviation field, gunsmith field, optical field and mining.
And as they say all roads lead to Rome in 2014 Bear Racing was back on track and started to develop racing parts for the zx12 zx14 zx10 all the way up to the H2 and H2 R in 2016