Well, well, well. Here we are at the end of the motorcycle drag racing year and as usual, Harley was in the hunt.
Specifically, Andrew Hines and Ed Krawiec were in the hunt with the bikes that Mother Davidson has helped them to ride to victory again this year. Personally, I’m convinced that you could put Hines on a moped and he would figure out how to win. I think Kraweic might feel the same way, since he was quoted as saying, “Andrew and I will push each other to the very last win light. We are going to try and make it tough on each other, because if it’s tough on us it’s even tougher on the competition. Whoever comes out champion this year is going to earn it.”
The downside, of course, is that Matt Smith, on his Victory Gunner, took Kraweic to task and soundly beat him in the second round – beating him on the skid pad despite running a slower time (192 mph versus 195). The final round versus Angelle Sampey was far from riveting – Sampey jumped the line and was DQ’ed so Smith’s final run “only” ran 117 mph.
In the end, brand loyalties aside, it was refreshing to see Smith conquer some serious issues this year – little asides that added up to a tough year for the Vicotry team. On the other hand, the fact that Smith won three rounds due to two jumped lights and technically only raced one time simply points to the fact that anyone can win when the stars and planets line up.
What does this mean for Harley-Davidson? Well, if we look to the 1960’s and the early days of NASCAR, a win on Sunday meant sales on Monday. Today, that doesn’t hold nearly as true, but no matter how good the Screamin’ Eagle team did, the world championship is not in Milwaukee. Even worse? It’s right down the street, comparatively speaking, in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
Given the significant price differences between the Victory bikes and the equivalent Harley Davidson, I think that it is telling that the Victory Team took the title home. This is not so much the story of a David versus a Goliath, given the size of the Polaris Corporation that really drives Victory bikes, but there is no doubt that the upstart did create an upset.
Seems like we keep talking about that on these pages…