Dave Behrend (right) of Fast...
Dave Behrend (right) of Fast Bike Industries (828-435-0125, www.fastbikeindustries.com
) helps Curtis and Bradley dismantle the front end before practice. Behrend was a huge help in getting the finicky XR’s handling sorted, making fork and shock adjustments as necessary, both internal and external.
There we were. At the back of the grid with just two laps of practice, a not-quite-sorted bike and a rider under the weather. To Bradley’s credit, he made the best of the situation, getting a great start and completing the first lap inside the top ten. A few laps in, Bradley was shadowing Gerry Signorelli when Signorelli crashed right in front of him, bringing out the red flag and stopping the race. In the break while the track was cleared, Bradley reported that — finally — the Harley was working well and he didn’t want any changes made. However, his arms were in rough shape from wrestling the XR around the track; it was all he could do to hold onto his position in the race. The second half of the race was uneventful, with Bradley again getting a good start and remaining in eighth place until the checkered flag.
For the first part of the race, Bradley shadowed Gerry Signorelli (Racing for a Wish). Signorelli high-sided right in front of our man, and the race was stopped while officials cleared the track. Luckily, Bradley was able to avoid the wreckage and Signorelli was unhurt.
Former AMA Supermoto racer Fillmore and longtime AMA standout Michael Barnes diced for the win, with Fillmore taking his first AMA victory and moving into the points lead for the series. For us, it was a great result for Bradley and our tiny team considering the circumstances. Still, we have to wonder what could have been: Bradley’s first lap in the race — only his third complete lap for the weekend — was three seconds quicker than he had been in practice, and would have put him sixth on the grid. With some more productive practice time and Bradley’s arms in better shape, the result would surely have been better. Coulda, shoulda, woulda…that’s racing.
Following the race, the AMA impounded the top 10 finishing Harley-Davidsons and ran them on the dyno. If any one particular bike had shown any anomalies compared with the rest of the bikes (none did), teardowns would ensue. A visual inspection was also conducted and all bikes checked out OK. We were notified and warned, however, that we had the wrong gearing on. For the XR1200 class, the intention is that all racers use the same final gearing, determined by consensus. AMA officials had come by our pit twice on the weekend asking what gearing we were using, but we were never told of the final decision nor was it mentioned in the riders meetings. To be fair we should have investigated further, but the process will definitely need to be revised as the number of riders increases. Otherwise, our Infineon experience was quite positive as far as the XR1200 series is concerned: The class is a cost-effective way to get into AMA racing, and our bike — built in Eric’s packed garage with just bolt-on parts — looked little different from the bikes on the podium.
Still in its infancy in the USA, the XR1200 class continues to grow with a couple more entries at each event. The AMA announced that the class would run two races in conjunction with the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP event in late August. And this is not the end of our involvement in the series: Look for our bike in the field at Indianapolis, perhaps with a former AMA or world champion on board. SR
Custom Pilot EVO Suit
To look the part of an AMA race team during our assault on the Vance and Hines XR1200 race at Infineon, we got in touch with Josh Bennett of Pilot, who not only fitted our crew with team shirts sporting the required AMA Pro Racing logos, but also fitted Bradley up with a custom EVO suit.
Based out of Murrieta, California, Pilot prides itself on providing custom leather suits that are built with quality, safety and comfort in mind. The company’s all-new-for-2011 EVO suit features CE-approved armor in the shoulder, elbow/forearm and knee/shin areas, and is comprised of 1.3mm-1.5mm milled cowhide leather that is pliable but strong. It also boasts external alloy armor on the shoulders and elbows that allow the body to slide, not grab, in the event of a crash. In terms of protection though, what really gave us confidence in the Pilot EVO suit was the double- and triple-stitched seams that prevent the suit from blowing apart in the event of a fall.
Although available in standard U.S. sizes 38-54, all Pilot suits can be made in custom sizes (as ours was) based on your needs or body type, plus they can be personalized via the many color options available. For us, getting a suit was as easy as getting measured up and going over some of the color schemes Bradley was interested in and options he wanted to add (every Pilot suit can be fitted with full frontal micro-perforation, race/speed hump, air intake shoulder vents, knee sliders, sewn-on patches, logos and rider names for no extra cost). The end result was a completely unique-looking suit that matched our Hog almost perfectly.
Instantly noticeable once we got on the track with the EVO suit was its extremely superb fit and the excellent range of motion it provided thanks to the perforated leather stretch panels on the upper back, lower back and knee areas. And aside from the small problem with the arms of our EVO suit being a bit tight (quite possibly due to the thicker under-armor Bradley was wearing to beat the cold temperatures at the track), we had no problems with fit, and were in fact impressed with the attention to detail on the suit and level of comfort on the track.
The Pilot EVO suit in standard sizes retails for $1200, while custom sizes go for $1500. Build time varies for standard and custom sizes as well, but takes an estimated two to eight weeks.