Calling all privateers
DIY kits and a sweet contingency fund
I first met Terry Vance when we were youngsters in this business. I was a scribe on Hot Bike Magazine’s payroll and he and another young lad named Byron Hines were campaigning drag bikes for Russ Collins’ R.C. Engineering. As good as Vance and Hines were at racing, they were even more successful later in life at building an exhaust and performance parts empire called Vance & Hines Performance.
But Vance and Hines are racers at heart, and neither can pass up an opportunity to compete on the track. Their latest venture includes Harley-Davidson’s new XR1200X, a bike that forms the nucleus for an AMA spec series sponsored by V&H. Fittingly, the five-race championship series is known as the AMA Pro Racing Vance & Hines XR1200 Series, and it’s open to any racer with an AMA pro license and XR1200 bike. V&H supplies a race kit to convert a stock XR1200 to conform to the class rules, and H-D has posted $25,000 towards a contingency fund. The race kit costs $3,500 and includes a competition exhaust pipe and fuel management system, lightweight 17-inch Performance Machine front wheel, aerodynamic seat tail section, front-mount oil cooler and number plate assembly, steering damper, oil catch pan that fits beneath the engine, and sponsor decals. Racers can also opt for a gearing kit consisting of three front and three rear pulleys. “That should be enough for most tracks,” said V&H’s Paul Lang, who is responsible for the kit’s development and who will help oversee the program.
Why would Vance & Hines, already busy with Harley’s Pro Stock drag race program, want to invest in such a grass roots venture? Well, it gets back to Vance and Hines being racers. Vance bought an XR1200 for his personal ride, “and I liked it,” he said. “I found myself riding this bike five to one over the rest of my bikes.” (Terry Vance has quite a personal collection, too.) The rest, as they say, is history.
The V&H XR1200 Series debuted at Road America the weekend after our track test day, with Danny Eslick taking the first win. Four additional races are slated for the year, and no doubt as more H-D dealers sign on, the race series itself should grow.