Superbike Champion Ben Bostrom pilots Feuling’s bagger


2019 Harley-davidson road glide

Rider: #77 ben bostrom

Finished: DNF

Words by Mitch Boehm, as told by Feuling’s Lukas Weiss
Photos by Brian J. Nelson

Thunder Press: Your initial thoughts on KOTB, and why did you participate?

Lukas Weiss: We were in right from the start. We have been headed in that performance direction for the past couple of years with a few of our builds, so it made a lot of sense. The goal, of course, was to showcase our products, and we love the competition, too.

TP: Which Harley or Indian model did you start with? And why?

LW: We used a 2019 Harley-Davidson Road Glide, mostly because we had one. 

TP: Your team’s angle going in?

LW: We knew horsepower would be important, but you also need to have plenty of cornering clearance. Laguna’s a pretty technical racetrack, and cornering speed is key.

Feuling Parts has a well-earned reputation for serious-ass engine development in both motorcycle and auto applications, but a cylinder head issue had them borrowing a Screamin’ Eagle crate motor for the race. It ran strong until a tranny gasket failure sidelined them yet again. Next time’s the charm!

TP: The thinking behind your choice
of rider?

LW: We wanted to have the very best, because to be the best, you need the best. And Ben [Bostrom] is one of the very best.

TP: What chassis modifications did you make, and why?

LW: Suspension. 

TP: What engine modifications did you make, and why?

LW: Feuling 592 Race Series Camchest Kit. Ported cylinder heads. Custom exhaust pipe. Soon-to-be-released air cleaner. 

TP: Who was on your crew? 

LW: Rider, Ben Bostrom. Owner, Luke Leatherman. Crew Chief, Allon McBee. Tech, Evan Kleen. Fabricator, Cameron Pallett. Crew member, Adam Baker. Photographer, Lukas Weiss. Videographer, Casey Lawson.

TP: How much (if any) pre-race testing did you do, and what did you discover?

LW: We tested the week before the race on the Las Vegas Speedway road course. Ben preferred smaller grips and lower handlebars. 

TP: Biggest surprise (or surprises) for you and your team? 

LW: The project and event was a lot of fun for the whole team, and it was good to try something new.

Ex-AMA Superbike champion (and World Superbike and MotoGP rider) Ben Bostrom piloted the Feuling Road Glide racer at Laguna and ran strong early on, qualifying fourth. B-Boz was a threat to win, too, until engine problems sidelined the Feuling Parts effort.

TP: How’d the weekend go? Results, problems, realizations, etc

LW: We ran strong through the Friday practice sessions, qualifying fourth. We made key suspension and tire tweaks before the Saturday morning warm-up and picked up another two seconds per lap. On the last lap of practice the rear cylinder head failed; the exhaust rocker shaft broke and the shaft stud threads pulled out of the aluminum, destroying the perch. It was later diagnosed that the aluminum of the rear cylinder head had gone soft due to the many heat cycles and engine builds that these custom ported cylinder heads were associated with.

Industry friends Vance & Hines (with Harley Davidson’s blessing) set us up with a new Screamin’ Eagle crate engine to get us into the race. Our team hustled with a two-hour engine swap and had Ben on the grid minutes before the race. Ben got a great start but our mule quickly ran out of juice. We had to re-use the gasket between the engine and transmission, and the seal was compromised, creating an oil leak and suction/sumping issues. 

TP: What would you have done differently if you had the chance?

LW: Started with fresh cylinder heads vs. our heavily seasoned heads.

TP: Will you be part of the KOTB next year?

LW: It’s looking like it.

TP: Anything else you’d like to add?

LW: MotoAmerica, Drag Specialties and Rob Buydos did a hell of a job turning this circus into a real event with tremendous potential. Congrats also to Tyler O’Hara and the Indian/S&S Cycle team, and a big shout-out to all the teams that participated and helped make this a super rad event. Thanks also to Ben Bostrom for joining our team…one solid dude! 

Follow Thunder Press’ coverage of the bagger race throughout December!


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