Classic Racer

ICONIC METAL: KAWASAKI KR350

1982 was the final year of the 350cc class in Grand Prix racing. Here is a look at Jeanfranço­is Baldé's KR350 on which he finished 3rd in that year's championsh­ip.

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This is Jean-françois Baldé’s 1982 Kawasaki KR350 on which he finished 3rd overall in the title hunt that year. It was a 12,000rpm, 75bhp green meanie…

KAWASAKI'S FIRST KR350 ACTUALLY HAD A CAPACITY OF 306CC. IT WAS BASED ON A 1976 KR250 WITH A LARGER BORE AND WAS SENT TO NEVILLE DOYLE'S TEAM KAWASAKI AUSTRALIA FOR TESTING DURING 1977. GREGG HANSFORD WAS ONE OF THE RIDERS INVOLVED IN ITS DEVELOPMEN­T.

THE KR350 HAD A VERY SUCCESSFUL CAREER AFTER A ROCKY FIRST COUPLE OF YEARS WITH THE 250. BALLINGTON WON THE CHAMPIONSH­IP IN THE 350S GP DEBUT YEAR OF 1978 WITH NINE VICTORIES. TEAM-MATE GREGG HANSFORD FINISHED 3RD WITH THREE WINS. BALLINGTON FOLLOWED UP AGAIN TAKING THE TITLE IN 1979 WITH FIVE WINS WITH HANSFORD SCORING THREE WINS FOR ANOTHER 3RD IN THE FINAL POINTS. 1980 SAW ANTON MANG AND BALDÉ FINISH IN 2ND AND 3RD POSITIONS. MANG, JON EKEROLD AND BALDÉ COMPLETED THE 1981 SEASON IN THE TOP THREE SPOTS. AND IN 1982 MANG WAS AGAIN VICTORIOUS WITH BALDÉ 3RD WITH ONE AND THREE WINS RESPECTIVE­LY – BALDÉ UNFORTUNAT­ELY SUFFERING THREE DNFS.

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 ?? Phil Aynsley ??
Phil Aynsley
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 ??  ?? Left: The subtle 16mm offset from the front to the rear cylinder can just be seen from this angle.
Above: By 1982 the KR350 was a wellsorted, highly developed package that had six years of competitio­n behind it.
Left: The subtle 16mm offset from the front to the rear cylinder can just be seen from this angle. Above: By 1982 the KR350 was a wellsorted, highly developed package that had six years of competitio­n behind it.
 ??  ?? 3: The offsetting of the cylinders allowed for a shorter motor with the rotary disc valves able to be overlapped. 36mm Mikuni carburetto­rs were fitted (2mm larger than the 250's).
3: The offsetting of the cylinders allowed for a shorter motor with the rotary disc valves able to be overlapped. 36mm Mikuni carburetto­rs were fitted (2mm larger than the 250's).
 ??  ?? 2: Kawasaki's own rotors, calipers and forks were used along with Dymag wheels.
2: Kawasaki's own rotors, calipers and forks were used along with Dymag wheels.
 ??  ?? 4: After Baldé used the bike it was subsequent­ly raced by Graeme Mcgregor in the 1989 Junior TT where he recorded a lap of 112.24mph before mechanical problems forced his retirement on lap three of four.
4: After Baldé used the bike it was subsequent­ly raced by Graeme Mcgregor in the 1989 Junior TT where he recorded a lap of 112.24mph before mechanical problems forced his retirement on lap three of four.
 ??  ?? 1: Redline was 12,000rpm with maximum output of 75hp being made at 11,800rpm.
1: Redline was 12,000rpm with maximum output of 75hp being made at 11,800rpm.
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 ??  ?? Factory rider Kork Ballington debuted a revised motor that featured separate barrels and heads at Misano at the first round of the 1980 season, as did Anton Mang who was a privateer that year (using his 1979 bikes with tuner Sepp Schloegl's own design for separate barrels and heads). Baldé's 1982 machine still has the earlier style of motor however.
Factory rider Kork Ballington debuted a revised motor that featured separate barrels and heads at Misano at the first round of the 1980 season, as did Anton Mang who was a privateer that year (using his 1979 bikes with tuner Sepp Schloegl's own design for separate barrels and heads). Baldé's 1982 machine still has the earlier style of motor however.
 ??  ?? The two-piece screen was a feature of the later, 1980s bikes.
The two-piece screen was a feature of the later, 1980s bikes.
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 ??  ?? One interestin­g feature of the motor's design is that the water pump housing is cast into the side-case rather than being a separate unit.
One interestin­g feature of the motor's design is that the water pump housing is cast into the side-case rather than being a separate unit.
 ??  ?? A distinctiv­e feature of Kawasaki race bikes of the period are the goldcolour­ed silencers.
A distinctiv­e feature of Kawasaki race bikes of the period are the goldcolour­ed silencers.
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