In a move that contradicts previous year investment strategies, Harley-Davidson is feeling flush this holiday season and announced increases in race team support and contingency funds.
First off was the $45,000 fund announcement and support of the AMA Pro Racing Vance & Hines XR1200 Series. The series expands to nine rounds of the 2011 AMA Pro Road Racing season scheduled for a March 10 – 12, 2011 start in Daytona. The Vance & Hines XR1200 Series features H-D XR1200 motorcycles specially modified with racing kit parts supplied exclusively through V&H.
On the same day H-D announced that all three factory sponsored riders (Hines, Krawiec, Coolbeth) were re-signed for 2011 and will be returning to their respective race teams. Steve Piehl, H-D Director of Customer Experience stated that “Although we didn’t win any championships this year, Andrew, Eddie and Kenny all displayed the hearts of the champions they are, and we are confident they will continue to perform at the highest level in 2011.”
The more interesting news (at least to me) was the additional announcement by H-D to create a new Draggin’ Bagger Class (D.B. Class) for the 2011 race season. This new drag racing class is centered on the introduction of its Screamin’ Eagle 120R engine, a 120 cubic-inch V-Twin capable of outputting 135 HP and 137 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheel. The new class is for 1999 and up H-D touring motorcycles equipped with the 120R engine. The motorcycles in this class must run with an original frame, fairings, saddlebags and other bodywork as race fans watch to see who can run a wheelie popping 10-second race.
This is the first time in decades that H-D has offered a crate racing engine and I’m sure we’ll see some exciting racing in the 2011 season. Lastly, H-D announced it will continue its sponsorship of the All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA) and the Draggin’ Bagger class will debut in Orlando, FL on March 4-6, 2011.
Photo courtesy H-D.