Musashi, the greatest samurai swordsman ever. The author of Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings) thus defined The Way of the Warrior 500 years ago, not only in swordsmanship, but in all human endeavor.
They call Rickey Gadson "The Sensei of the Strip" for good reason. This Philadelphia native, who began his career at just 13 years of age, supported himself as a cable TV contractor and sometime movie stuntman on his way to becoming the most victorious professional drag racer in American Motorcyclist Association history. Gadson is the sport’s first competitor to have full factory support, as a standard bearer for Kawasaki.
Drag racing can be compared to the Zen arts of Sumi-e painting, haiku, Modifications calligraphy, and swordsmanship: one concise, decisive act determines the result. Every race Gadson runs is an epic battle in seven seconds, exploding from zero to 150 mph in half that time, without margin for error. His blade must cut beyond precision. "When I race, I clear my mind of all thoughts," he says. "Except, ‘perfection.’" Evocative of Musashi’s spirit, Gadson’s manner combines serenity and confidence. "Motorcycling taught me the discipline I needed, not only to succeed in racing, but in life. I learned what it is to struggle and to sacrifice, so I could understand and appreciate what it takes and what it means to win."
He has imparted the essence of Bushido in the burnishing of a favorite sword. A Rickey Gadson SpeedZone Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 built personally by him, and master sportbike stylist Steve Kehler, will be the privilege of the purchaser of this Ultimate Gift.
Modifications are judicious, including a six-inch extension to the swing arm bearing Gadson’s signature, Galespeed wheels, streamlined body panels, a Muzzy M10 exhaust, and the airbrush figure of a Ninja warrior in combat pose adorning the flanks."And we have a couple of extra improvements over the original," he adds.
This warhorse is eminently suitable for cruising through Shinjuku alongside Uma Thurman in her Beatrix Kiddo leathers to a TSOP-inspired Tomoyasu Hotei soundtrack.It will also shred asphalt without mercy."I love to look great," Gadson grins, "But it has to perform." This Bushido bike is, in his words,"capable of winning trophies and bike event shows." The purchaser will gain the opportunity to learn to use it, courtesy of private instruction by Sensei Rickey.
The $45,000 package includes a consultation with Gadson; the build, personalized appropriately for the individual buyer; special edition leathers by Joe Rocket; a helmet painted by Kehler; First Class Media Level travel and accommodation, with limousine from the airport to SpeedZone; a weekend at the track with Rickey; and delivery of the finished motorcycle to the buyer’s residence.
For those whose two-wheel tastes are titillated by riding on the edge, Musashi’s words are a suitable caveat: "In fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without ten seness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased."
Intrinsic to his elocution of the world’s fastest production motorcycle, Gadson advises that Musashi’s objectives-and strip times in the low eights-are attainable. He will convey the sword. It is we who decide if we are ready to submit to the teachings of the master.
ULTIMATE MOTORCYCLING DECEMBER 2008 / JANUARY 2009