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                                                                Kazuo Kubo

        Suzuki's first factory rider and the RH65 enter the 1965 Swedish GP 

Motocross history was made on July 25th 1965. Suzuki factory rider Kazuo Kubo and the Suzuki works RH65 entered the 1965 Swedish Grand Prix. This was the first time a Japanese motorcycle entered a motocross race outside of Japan. Suzuki made the bold commitment to get involved in developing a competitive motocross bike and what better way to get involved than to go right to the top. The GP wars of Europe against the world's best. The day was a humbling experience for both Mr. Kubo and Suzuki but it was the beginning of an effort that would lead to world dominance just a few short years later. Our good friend in Japan Mr. Holly was fortunate to speak with Mr. Kazuo Kubo recently and get a brief recollection of that historic day. The following text in English and Japanese from Holly Equipment.

From Mr. Holly;

The other day, The gentleman who lives in Sweden asked me.

While I was looking my grand father's album, I came across some old pictures. Do you know this man wearing the leather suit?

Those pictures were taken at Hedemora, the Swedish 250 GP on 25th July,1965. (attach pics Kazuo and Seiichi 1 & 2)

I did not know that man because I was only 4 years old at that time. So I asked my boss Taichi Yoshimura.

He said " I realized who he was at a glance. His name was Kazuo Kubo and he had several years more experience than I did".

And also my boss told him that I want to have an interview with him.

The fastest Japanese rider of the international motocross in the 1960s was Mr. Kazuo Kubo.

He made RH65 in order to prepare for overseas although the modified T20 was the main Suzuki competition bike at that time. (Attached pics Taichi 66 Suzuka T20)

After that he tried to enter the race with the late Mr. Seiichi Suzuki who an interpreter and a mechanic.

This race was the first overseas motocross by Suzuki.

The following is brief description.

 

                                          Kazuo Kabuo (arms crossed) and factory Suzuki mechanic Mr. Seiichi with the RH65 at the 1965 Swedish Gran Prix July 25, 1965

                       

In 1965, Mr. Kazuo Kubo was 26 years old.

He felt quite frustrated because he could not communicate in English and so could not understand things at Hedemora.

Most motocross riders wore jerseys and trousers with braces at that time. However, black overalls were normal in Japan as you can see in the picture.

Before the race they fixed the rear suspension for road race use and the Ceriani front fork at a metal shop.

The difference in the performance of CZ, Greeves, Husqvarna and RH was very big.

It was like an adult and a child. They were afraid of unloading the modified T20 from the truck..

I got the impression that the T20 was competitive in Japan but it could not match the European bikes.

He thought it would take more than several years for Japanese motorcycles to have the equal performance of foreign motorcycles.
Therefore he resolved to retire from the motocross profession after 2 years.

In the race, he crashed and was sent to the hospital.

The performance of the suspension was bad and he was flung from his bike in the bottoming rebound.

I surmised that it was past the margin of safety of the machine.

The development motorcycle suspension were still in the making so it jolt badly. Therefore he let go of the handlebars and crashed.

The above mentioned description is the first competing of the overseas motocross from Japan.

At that time The Suzuki works team were unaccustomed to competing overseas so all the documents and graphics about it are lost.

Although the 1965 Team Suzuki was unsuccessful, this failure eventually produced good results for the Suzuki Empire after 1970.

                                       T                                                   Taichi Yoshimura on the T20 motocross bike 1966 at Suzuka

                           

                                                Suzuki's road to the World Championship

                                      

                                                                                                RH65

                                      

                                                                                               RH66

                                      

                                                                                              RH67

                                      

                                                                                             RH68

                                      

                                                                                            RH69

                                      

                                                                                             RH70