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Lot 354
{The ex-Kork Ballington, World Championship-winning}

US$ 50,000 - 60,000
£ 36,000 - 43,000

MOTORCYCLES

8 Nov 2003, 10:00 PST

Los Angeles

The ex-Kork Ballington, World Championship-winning
1979 Kawasaki KR350 Racing Motorcycle
Few machines in Grand Prix racing's modern era have enjoyed such a lengthy period of dominance as the Kawasaki 'tandem twins' which ruled the 250 and 350 classes from 1978 to 1982, winning 72 GPs and securing eight World Championships for the Japanese manufacturer.

A radical design, the KR250/350 employed the rotary inlet valves that had been a feature of previous Kawasaki two-strokes, but avoided the associated disadvantage of excess width (when applied to a conventional parallel twin) by using two inline cylinders with separate geared-together crankshafts. As well as the advantage of asymmetrical inlet timing, the use of direct crankcase induction via rotary disc valves enabled an extra transfer port to be accommodated in the cylinder where the inlet port would have been, while the tandem arrangement also left more room for the lateral transfer ports.

After an inauspicious debut season in 1975, the KR250 took a Grand Prix sabbatical in 1976, returning to the fray in '77 in heavily revised form with altered crankshaft phasing and monoshock rear suspension. Mick Grant scored the KR's debut GP victory at Assen that year and followed up with a win in Sweden, but it was not until Kork Ballington's arrival the following year that the KR posed a serious championship threat. As well as a revised KR250, Ballington had at his disposal a new KR350. The latter was outwardly identical to its quarter-liter sibling, differing mechanically in having a larger (64mm) bore and 36mm Mikuni carburetors - up from the 250's 34mm. The South African went on to secure both the 250 and 350 World Championships in 1978 and '79, while German Anton Mang took the 250 World Championship in 1980 and '81 and the 350 title in 1981 and '82.

This machine is offered for sale from the important private collection of one of the most prominent figures in the world of international classic motorcycle racing. It was used by Ballington during the 1979 Grand Prix season, a year in which he rode to 350-class victories in the Austrian, Spanish, Yugoslavian, British and Czechoslovakian rounds. This machine was purchased directly from Kawasaki in 1983 by the vendor, and remains in original, as used condition. The KR350 was produced in very small numbers and is much rarer than the 250cc version; it was only used by factory riders and was never offered for sale to privateer competitors. A rare opportunity to acquire a genuine, ex-works, World Championship-winning racing motorcycle of impeccable provenance and presented in excellent condition throughout.
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