NHRA addressed the issue of parity in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class Tuesday afternoon by increasing the minimum weight for the Harley Davidson 160-cid, 4-valve combination by 20 pounds, from 640 pounds to 660 pounds.
NHRA reviewed the parity in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class as a result of Harley-Davidson’s dominating performance at the Gatornationals which were completed March 12. NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle class does not return to action until April 27-29 at Royal Purple Raceway in Houston.
Glen Gray, NHRA’s Vice President, Technical Operations, on Tuesday afternoon also addressed the issue if another Pro Stock Motorcycle competitor duplicated the Harley-Davidson Night Rod Motorcycle driven by Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammates Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec, the only two Harley riders in NHRA.
“A person could not do that because when a design is initially submitted, it has to be submitted from one of the manufacturers,” Gray said. “The Buell was originally submitted by Buell, the Suzuki was originally submitted by Suzuki and the Harley was originally submitted by Harley. So, it would have to be submitted to us. So if another manufacturer gets involved and they come up with a design of a motorcycle then it can be submitted to us. A team could not go out and just copy something or even let’s say a small manufacturer. An actual motorcycle company would have to submit a design to us for approval.”
Gray said if a Pro Stock Motorcycle competitor showed up with a duplicate Harley-Davidson motorcycle of the ones Hines and Krawiec ride, that competitor would not be allowed to race.
“We (NHRA) would not tech the (duplicate) bike in because it would not be an approved motorcycle for the class,” Gray said. “Our (NHRA) rules state you have to have the name of the manufacturer on your bike. Because we would know that wasn’t a bike that was submitted by Harley-Davidson, we would not be able to tech it in because it would be illegal.”
Gray said the manufacturers which have been approved by NHRA to run motorcycles in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class are Harley-Davidson, Buell, Suzuki and Kawasaki. Harley-Davidson acquired 49 percent of Buell in 1993, and it became a wholly owned subsidiary by 2003.
On October 15, 2009, Harley-Davidson announced the discontinuation of the Buell product line as part of its strategy to focus on the Harley-Davidson brand.
“Occasionally we will see some of these Kawasakis show up during the summer, they do not usually run the whole series, but some of the racers will bring their Kawasakis out and race those,” Gray said.
At the Gatornationals, Eddie Krawiec established new NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle national records with a 6.750-second elapsed time and a 199.26 mph speed.
The second fastest elapsed time by another manufacturer other than Harley-Davidson at the Gatornationals came from Hector Arana Jr. Arana Jr., clocked a 6.812-second time to qualify second on his Buell.
“My beef is not with anybody going 6.65 (seconds), along as it is with available parts,” George Bryce said.
Bryce is a renowned team owner in NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle class.
From 1990-2002, Bryce’s Pro Stock Motorcycle riders for Star Racing won six NHRA championships in 1990, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2001, and 2002. Also in those 13 seasons, Bryce’s riders finished no worse than second in the points standings. Bryce’s team has won 78 NHRA national events with 11 different riders.
“We built the first Harley-Davidson Pro Stock (Motorcycle), along the lines when Lori Francis was driving a Harley-Davidson Pro Stock (Motorcycle),” Bryce said. “They (Francis’ team) were running fair. They went in the 7s. Then, we went to S&S and put a deal together to develop an NHRA Pro Stock Harley. While we were building the new Pro Stock Harley, Vance & Hines came out with the V-Rod program and got fuel injection approved and it changed our whole program and our whole engine design when fuel injection was approved. Then we came out with our S&S design and presented it to NHRA and they (NHRA) said that’s all well and good, the only way you can do is if it is available to the public. I said the V-Rod right now they are using, and this was in 2003, the V-Rod is not available to the public. I was told by anyone who was in (NHRA’s) tech (department at the time) that was a rule before their time, it was grandfathered in. But, the new rule and new protocol (at that time) was anything must be available to the public before you can race it. So George Smith and I went through the protocol of making sure we had everything in place at S&S to make the parts and engines available to the public, including chassis, and body work, and everything approved before we competed with our motorcycle.”
Smith and Bryce introduced the S&S-powered V-Twin, which is called the Buells by everybody else, in 2004.
“We set sales records and improved the category and changed the face of Pro Stock Motorcycles by selling the first competitive product as a complete turn-key package,” Bryce said. “I think it is a really big marketing mistake by Harley-Davidson and Vance & Hines because I think they would sell one (a Pro Stock Motorcycle) to every Harley dealer that wanted to go racing if they open it up to the public and it would be a huge deal. Then we could build one, and we could team up with a Harley dealership and see how fast we could go with one. If want to build a V-Rod Pro Stocker (Motorcycle) and I go to the richest Harley-Davidson dealer in the world and I say you want to race NHRA? And they say ‘yes.’ I say OK let’s build a V-Rod. (I tell him) you call up and order the parts and I (will) build the motorcycle. He calls me back and says ‘I can’t get any engines and I can’t get any bodies.’ ‘Why?’ They will not sell them to me. This is a true story that happened probably 40 times. It’s a double standard.”
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