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Crusty
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2018 - 09:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

It's the middle of January. At present, the temp is 12 F and we got another dusting of snow last night. I'm not doing a whole lot of riding.

But I've bought tickets for six races. The Daytona TT, Atlanta Short Track, both Springfield Miles and the TT and Short Track races that go with them. I know that there's a lot of work going on and that there will be a lot of changes to bikes and teams by the time March rolls around. I've got lots of questions, but information is kind of sketchy.

There have been a couple of things I've heard; Shayna Texter won't be riding for RMR. I don't know who she will be riding for. Her Brother Cory had a disappointing year and is going to be campaigning on a single this year. Jake Johnson has left the Harley Factory team and will be riding for Estension Racing.

However,that makes me wonder; who's going to take Johnson's place on the H-D team? And where is Sammy Halbert going? He was the only non Indian rider to give that team fits consistently throughout the season. Yes, Bauman won at Lima and the TT in Sturgis, but Halbert won the X Games 1/2 Mile and was there at the front all season long. I wonder if the H-D team grabbed him to replace Johnson?

Henry Wiles showed that he's still the master of Peoria and was leading the Buffalo Chip TT by a bunch when he had that hard landing after the jump and ripped his engine open. The one time I was able to see the Lima 1/2 Mile was back in 2008, and he led the entire race on an Aprilia until turn 4 of the last lap when Joe Kopp just managed to get by him and win the race.

Jeffrey Carver showed that the XR 750 isn't as obsolete as many people think at the 1/2 Mile in Ft. Worth, Texas. He also was in the hunt at the season finale in Perris, CA and finished second.

I also wonder if Vance & Hines will get the XG 750R sorted out? I've heard claims that the engine is making enough power, but I'm not sure I believe that. I think it's more complex than just horsepower, but horsepower wins the Miles. The Harleys seemed to be mid pack finishers for most of the season. I'd dearly love to see them up front fighting with the Indians.

And what's happened to the Kawasakis? They were the Wave of the Future until the Indians came along. Smith was almost untouchable on a Mile on his. Now, it's all about the Indians. I wonder if somebody out there will be able to build a Kaw that can compete with the front runners?

AFT announced that there's almost 2 Million Dollars available in Contingencies. It's nice to see some money coming into Flat Track after years of being the Forgotten Race Series. Still, I wonder what the purse is at a typical National? The AMA used to have that info readily available, but now, I have no idea where to find out. I'm sure these riders are underpaid, but things are looking a lot better than they have been in a long time.

Anyhow, those are just some of the things that are running through my head on this cold, snowy Mid-January morning.
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46champ
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2018 - 07:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I was talking about the same thing with a friend of mine that has some experience with setting up flat track bikes and he wonders if the flywheels on the XGs aren't too light and they were getting too much wheel spin.

Crusty I never got to watch much of the racing but from analyzing some of the lap times it kind of looked like they were better in the last half of the race. Does that make sense that the grove is in place so they weren't spinning as much? Of course by then they are mid pack and too far to get to the front.
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Crusty
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2018 - 10:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

One thing I read about the Indian FTR was that it had external flywheels that could be exchanged to modify power output. I'm not too sure about the build up of the groove as being a factor in the performance. There were a few rounds that had late race red flags and the XGs didn't significantly improve their positions.

Flat track racing is so simple looking that it's hard to see just how many variables there are in making a bike work.

Even so, I think the bike needs more horsepower. I just looked over the finishing results from both the Miles and Half Miles last season and the fastest lap an XG ran was anywhere from a third to a half second slower than the fastest lap the FTRs were running at the different tracks.

I was at the May, 1985 Springfield Mile. The factory Hondas were running 1-2-3 in a breakaway and late in the race, Scotty Parker caught up to them. He managed to pass each one until he was leading the race. However, he got passed back on the last lap and finished third. When Parker was being interviewed after the race, he told the "Faithful" in the crowd to not worry, all they needed to do was find about 3 more horsepower and they'd be able to run with the Hondas. I think the XG might just be in the same boat as the XR was 33 years ago.

Vance&Hines know how to build fast engines. They've done it with Yamahas, (Dave Sadowski won the Daytona 200 on one of their bikes) Ducatis (Anthony Gobert) and they built one hell of a "V-Rod" Drag Bike. I think they can and will build an XG that can win. I just hope they get it sorted out soon.
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Jaimec
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2018 - 04:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

As I recall, that Vance & Hines "V-Rod Drag Bike" didn't have a single Harley-made part in it. It just outwardly resembled a V-Rod but that was pretty much it.
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Crusty
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2018 - 09:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

There's a reason I put V-Rod in quotes. It didn't even really look like a V Rod.; but it sure was quick. Hell, it had a pushrod engine and the Harley V-Rod was OHC.
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1313
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2018 - 09:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

As I recall, that Vance & Hines "V-Rod Drag Bike" didn't have a single Harley-made part in it. It just outwardly resembled a V-Rod but that was pretty much it.

Just like the "Street Rod "based"" drag bike that has replaced it (and won the championship this year)...

https://www.harley-davidson.com/us/en/about-us/hd- news/street-rod-drag-bikes-ready-to-race.html

https://gearheads.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/H arley-Street-Rod-Drag-Racer-4.jpg
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Jaimec
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 09:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

You had me curious so I did a little searching and found this discussion online:
https://www.hdforums.com/forum/general-harley-davi dson-chat/1017833-what-happened-to-harley-s-v-rod- destroyer.html
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Crusty
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 11:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I don't follow Drag Racing at all, but that thread and the article that was copied were very informative.

Still, the point of my original statement was that Vance & Hines can build a fast engine. I'll stand by that statement. I just hope that they're able to find (or have found) a few more horses in the XG before the season starts.

I plan to hit a bunch of Flat Track races this year. I'd like to see someone other than an Indian rider at the top of the box. (unless Henry Wiles starts riding an Indian, it's a safe bet one won't be at the top of the box at Peoria)
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Hdmc_in_cider
Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 05:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

"However,that makes me wonder; who's going to take Johnson's place on the H-D team? And where is Sammy Halbert going? He was the only non Indian rider to give that team fits consistently throughout the season. Yes, Bauman won at Lima and the TT in Sturgis, but Halbert won the X Games 1/2 Mile and was there at the front all season long. I wonder if the H-D team grabbed him to replace Johnson?"


Coolbeth is also out. Halbert is in, along with Robinson. Sammy must be getting a BIG check to ride that embarrassment of a bike, XG750R.
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Crusty
Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 07:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Hmmm. I wonder where Coolbeth is going? From the tone of your response, I assume that V&H are having trouble making the XG fast enough.
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Jaimec
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 09:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I heard something about Flat Track races in New Jersey at the Meadowlands... anybody else hear the same thing?
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Crusty
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 09:37 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Yes; The Mile there is going to be on October 6. It's close enough to you that you could make it pretty easily. I have no idea if the track will be a good one or not, but the pits are open at every AFT race and the bikes are very interesting to look at, and the riders are accessible.

I've been toying with the idea of riding there for the race. I'll just have to see how things stack up when the date gets closer.

Something to think about; Troy Bayliss didn't make a Main event when he tried to ride a few Miles in 2015. And after watching Kenny Roberts ride the TZ 750 Flat Tracker on a couple of "Demo Laps" at Indianapolis, Valentino Rossi declined the chance to take it out in 2009.

You'll have the opportunity to see some of the most skillful Dirt Riders in the world. I bet even Marc Marquez would have his ass handed to him on a Mile.

(Message edited by Crusty on January 18, 2018)
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Jaimec
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 04:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I was there in Indianapolis in 2009. I was even there the year Nicky Hayden did a demo lap on the Ducati flat tracker. : )

I miss the MotoGP round in Indy. : (
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Crusty
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 08:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

So do I. I still cherish the 90 MPH "Parade Lap" that I took on the Speedway. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is in a class of its own. Maybe someday, Dorna will pull their heads out of their asses and book a GP round there again.
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Crusty
Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 07:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Well; after the press releases I've seen in the past few days, it seems like almost all the fast people will be riding Indian FTRs this year. Kenny Coolbeth, Jake Johnson, Jeffrey Carver , Henry Wiles and a few more along with the Factory squad of Mees, Baker and Smith.

Unless Vance & Hines pulls off a miracle, Indian's going to own the series again this year.
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Crusty
Posted on Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 12:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Things are looking more interesting than they were last week. Harley has "Introduced" their 2018 Team at their Dealer shindig. It's going to be Sammy Halbert, Brandon Robinson and Jarod Vanderkooi.

With all the fast riders climbing onto Indians, I thought that this year was going to be another "Which Indian is going to win" kind of year, and it still might be, but the MoFoCo has come up with DOHC heads for the XG that are supposed to give new life and lots more power to the racer.

It's looking like the Factory Wars are coming back. This could be a really interesting year to see a lot of great racing.

Cycle World's Kevin Cameron wrote an article on the bike:

https://www.cycleworld.com/harley-davidson-xg750r- dirt-tracker-grows-new-muscle

Daytona is only six weeks away, and I've got a ticket!
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Hdmc_in_cider
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 12:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

"It's looking like the Factory Wars are coming back. This could be a really interesting year to see a lot of great racing".

Nice thought Crusty - and I wish were correct but the facts speak for themselves....

Indian FTR750R - 3 rider Factory team and at least 8 privateers. A very good chance Indian pays out a lot of the $350,000 contingency money. Polaris management and in-house Racing Dept. went about getting back into AFT the correct way - coming in with a race spec engine designed internally (much like the HD XR750) with help from an powertrain Co. they own.


Harley XG750R - 3 rider Factory team. ZERO privateers. The "retired" XR 750 actually did better in AFT in 2017!!! HD will be paying out ZERO of their over $550,000 privateer contingency money to a XG750R rider although those on a XR750 will get some $$$.

IMHO - HD does not have the engineering talent or has lost its will or pride, to compete with the FTR, hence they write a check to Vance and Hines, give them a production engine and see if they can help...

If you thought last year was bad, HD can get ready for a BIG TIME 115th Anniversary spanking......courtesy of of your friends at the Indian FTR750R, in-house Factory Flat Track Racing Team...
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Crusty
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 05:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

According to Kevin Cameron's article, the new DOHC heads should make the engines more reliable and they supposedly have built four different frames. The article also stated that the bikes made adequate power last year, but getting that power to the ground was the leading cause of the bike's poor finishes. So if the new frame does the trick, the bike might just be able to run with the FTRs.

Also, Swissauto completely designed the engine. Even though Polaris owns them, my impression is that Indian's engineers had very little to do with it. And I suspect that S&S also has some involvement. Every time an FTR won last season, S&S took out a full page ad in Cycle News congratulating the winning rider.

I know that last year, both Coolbeth and Johnson went on record saying that the XG made adequate power; then again, that might have been just for PR.

Kawasaki won't give any factory involvement, so the only other factory that might do something is Yamaha; though I really don't think they'll do much, if they do anything.

I'll reserve my opinion of Harley Management for the time being, except to say that I think they lost their way when they named Jackass Wandell CEO. I keep hoping they'll find their way back, but I won't put money on that.

Anyhow, no matter who's on top of the Box, the racing should be good this year. I hope Wiles spanks everybody at the Daytona TT.
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Jaimec
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2018 - 11:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Wandell couldn't have done the damage he did if he wasn't surrounded by a bunch of fawning "Yes Men" too.
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Hdmc_in_cider
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2018 - 01:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

"I'll reserve my opinion of Harley Management for the time being, except to say that I think they lost their way when they named Jackass Wandell CEO. I keep hoping they'll find their way back, but I won't put money on that".

I agree 100%. HD's Board of Directors hired Wandell. It is important to note that most, if not all Board members have ZERO experience in the motorcycle industry or aftermarket....as noted by a business write up on the CO. and its current struggles. They also questioned Levatichs' lack of leadership, which as a share holder, agree this guy should have been tossed 2 years ago instead on getting millions in raises / compensation every year...

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/does-harley-davidso n-ceo-board-130200944.html
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46champ
Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2018 - 09:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Went to the 1Bike flat track race last nite in Salem Or. We truly seeing a resurgence in an American icon. The shear amount of racers was astounding. The Pro class was won by Sammy Halbert if Harley puts a good bike under him they are in good hands. We got there at 6 saw continuous racing till after 10 when we left and they weren't done yet.
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Crusty
Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2018 - 08:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Here's an interesting article on Cycle World interviewing Terry Vance. This season could get very interesting. Of course, it might all be smoke & mirrors, but I'm hoping for some real competition between manufacturers.

This really whets my appetite for the Daytona TT.

https://www.cycleworld.com/terry-vance-expects-imp roved-performance-this-season-from-harley-davidson -factory-flat-track-team
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