Three-Rider Team Debuts at Daytona TT During Daytona Bike Week
The Harley-Davidson™ Factory Flat Track Racing Team will charge the track on March 14 as the 2020 American Flat Track (AFT) SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines series opens its 18-race season at the Daytona TT at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Harley-Davidson will field a three-rider team led by new crew chief Ricky Howerton. Howerton will be racing Harley-Davidson® XG750R competition motorcycles prepared by Factory Team partner Vance & Hines Motorsports.
The Harley-Davidson® Factory Team motorcycles will feature a new livery in 2020 featuring Jet Fire Orange, the historic color of Harley-Davidson competition motorcycles, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the legendary Harley-Davidson® XR750 flat tracker. Initially developed and tuned by a team led by Harley-Davidson racing manager Dick O’Brien, the XR750 motorcycle won 36 AMA Grand National championships between 1972 and 2015.
“The 2020 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Racing Team represents a continuous legacy of competition that goes back to the earliest days of motorcycle racing,” said Jon Bekefy, GM of Brand Marketing for Harley-Davidson. “With 2020 also being the 50th anniversary of the legendary XR750, this year we will celebrate the great eras in Harley-Davidson racing as we look forward to competing at the highest level of the sport with the Harley-Davidson XG750R.”
Howerton will lead one of the deepest teams in the sport. Bryan Smith brings veteran leadership to a squad of riders that also includes Jared Vanderkooi and Dalton Gauthier. Howerton and Smith won the 2016 AMA Grand National flat track championship for the Howerton/Crosley team. The team will field an updated Harley-Davidson XG750R flat tracker for 2020 powered by the liquid-cooled, fuel-injected and race-tuned Harley-Davidson® Revolution X™ V-Twin based on the production engine originally designed for the Harley-Davidson Street 750 motorcycle.
In addition to its factory team effort Harley-Davidson will offer expanded support of the AFT Production Twins class, with race-ready XG750R motorcycles for sale and a $250,000 cash contingency program. The Production Twins class offers a path for upcoming and smaller privateer teams to compete for race victories, to study the SuperTwins class and plan for their future. The XG750R competition motorcycle is available for purchase for $35,999. For details and ordering information, please contact Vance & Hines.
The 2020 AFT SuperTwins schedule includes 18 events on short track, half-mile, mile and TT courses. Two fan-favorite events – the Charlotte Motor Speedway half-mile in Charlotte, N.C., and the OKC Mile in Oklahoma City, Ok. – return to the schedule. In 2020 two races on the famed Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds will run as a doubleheader over Labor Day weekend.
Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team
Howerton has been involved in flat track racing since 2012, leading the Howerton/Crosley team to win three AMA Expert Twins championships (2012-14) and the 2016 AMA Grand National Championship. His teams have earned 25 national wins and 70 podium finishes. Howerton earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technologies from Purdue University at Indianapolis and has worked in the racing field since his teenage years. He raced sprint cars and finished fourth in the USAC national points in 1990 and was named Rookie of the Year. Howerton is 49 years old and lives in Indianapolis.
Bryan Smith (National #4)
Known as the “Mile Master,” Smith has won 33 times in a 19-year Grand National flat track career, with 25 of those wins on demanding mile tracks. Smith is a three-time GNC Expert Twins champion (2012-14), the 2016 AMA Grand National champion, and won an ESPN X Games gold medal in the debut X Games Harley-Davidson Flat Track event in 2015. After a very successful amateur flat-track racing career, Smith moved up to the AMA Pro Flat Track level in 2001 and was named Rookie of the Year in his first season in the series. In 2019, Smith finished 13th in AFT points and had three podium appearances. Smith is 36 years old and lives in Swartz Creek, Mich.
Jarod Vanderkooi (National #20)
The 2014 GNC2 Twins champion, Jarod Vanderkooi (VAN-der-koy) won his first pro event on the Springfield Mile. He moved up to the top Grand National Twins class in 2015 and was named Rookie of the Year after scoring four top-10 finishes. In 2019, Vanderkooi raced his Harley-Davidson Factory XG750R to sixth place in AFT Twins points with 13 top-10 results. Vanderkooi is 22 years old and lives in Mt. Gilead, Ohio.
Dalton Gauthier (National #79)
Gauthier has been a rising star on the flat track scene since he turned pro in 2015 at age 16. He finished second in the AFT Singles series in 2016, and in 2019 was crowned AFT Singles champion. Gauthier rode a Harley-Davidson XG750R to two wins in the 2019 AFT Production Twins series and placed fourth in season points. The 2020 season will be his first in AFT SuperTwins. Gauthier is 20 years old and lives in Pine Grove, Pa.
About Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Since 1903, Harley-Davidson Motor Company has fulfilled dreams of personal freedom with cruiser, touring and custom motorcycles, riding experiences and events, and a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise, riding gear and apparel. For more information, visit www.h-d.com.