I was there. The Buell that McWilliams raced got by somebody's Kawasaki, and seemed to be moving up toward 7th when something happened out near the chichane that they have installed to slow folks down a bit. McWilliams wears bright green (kinda Kowasaki) colored leathers, and I could see the radioactive green leathers of someone slowing down markedly before he disappeared from our vantage point. I'm pretty sure that was him, since we saw no more of the nuclear green leathers on a bike with the muffler on the bottom. It was hard to hear what the announcer was saying from our vantage point, but I think it was a DNF. The Ducatista and I who were at the race found ourselves rooting for the Buells to make a good showing, just to provide some variety in the mix. The Superabike event was just Mladin and Spiers racing for first, and a clump of bikes racing for third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. The best race by far was the two out in front on the formula extreme, where Bostrom and Disalvo ran neck and neck for the whole race. Disalve was in front almost all the way, but in the final laps of the 17 lap race, they kept swapping the lead, and in one of the last turns of the final lap, Disalvo went into a spectacular fishtail, and though he managed to stay upright, lost too much ground to catch Bostrum. It was a hell of a race, and I look forward to tommorrow, when they do it all again, if I understand it right. Sort of a doubleheader, if it doesn't get rained out. It think that maybe McWilliams is the rider Buell needs right now. He is, reputedly a guy who can tell you what's wrong with the bike, as opposed to the Mike Hailwood type guys, who were obviously faster, but did it on sheer intuition, and had no idea how to fix a problem. I don't know if the Buell broke a primary chain again. but I think they could just possibly run with the big dogs (the 600 four cylinders) if they stay with it and spend the money that racing requires.
Possibly the best rider on the grid, McWilliams, was able to maintain 8th place before his Buell crapped out on him. However, I think he might have been podium-class if on a factory Yamaha.
The other Buell finished not quite last of the bikes that made it through the race, but did finish.
Oh, and on Buell news from me: I Demo rode the Ulysseus at the race. Hate the engine (still), it takes way too much shifting to work at a lazy pace, as the engine only works between 3k and 6k RPM, but as a giant trailie its more forgiveable the lack of power and agricultural feel.
Loved the handling (of course). It needs some wind protection. Too much high frequency vibration through the footpegs.
But given a choice between it and a GS (which I've test ridden), I'd take the Buell over the BMW in a hot second, I think the Buell is a better bike: lighter, sweeter handling, roughly the same power, STANDARD power plugs, nice luggage, etc etc etc.
Gosh, my daughter had a Buell also. It couldn't keep up 80 mph for any amount of time either. Dealer said they needed $1500 to fix the problem, she said it still under warranty, they said it wasn't really broken it was designed that way. For some reason she traded it for a "something or other" Custom, kids are truly hard to teach.
Oh, its not to say the engine lacks power, (it did a nice inadvertant little power wheelie when I was a little too hamhanded on pulling away from a stop), its that it lacks flexibility.
I'd rather have an engine with exactly half the torque, but which operates well from 3k to 12k RPM, than the buell engien which only is good from 3k to 6k.
With the other engine geared twice as low, both engines would make exactly the same amount of thrust and horespower.
But the difference is, if redline is 60 MPH in a given gear, the Buellish engine can't run in that gear below 30 MPH, while the other engine could run down to 15 MPH.
Where a lazy rider could just hold a gear, go into a turn, nad ride on out on the "engine B", the Buell engine requires a downshift. (The myth of torque).
In many ways, the "torquey" buell engien, if you look on a dyno chart, is actually "peaky": only from 3k to 6k RPM is the engine happy, or 1/2 of the torque curve.
But the remarkable thing is, in spite of the crap engine, it was a fantastic bike. The BMW GS engine really isn't that much better from what I remember riding, and the chassis is phenomenal.
Its kinda a weird bike. It has the seating position and convenience features of a giant trailie (good). The handling characteristics of a Naked sportbike (eg, Tuono) (good), and the wind protection thereof (bad).
With another DNF on the books, maybe Buell shouldn't race. This has the makings of a marketing disaster but Burns and Sean know more about things like that...With all the rule advantages Buell can't even complete a race or can't get in the top 20 ...Wonder how a ZX-6R (636) would do in FX. A Ducati 749 at least made it into the top 20. Let the Triumph in I say. At least Triumph has the sense to build a decent engine..
You really have to feel Erik Buell..He makes a great handling bike and Harley gives him a terrible engine. With all that money Harley make s off the GPTB* you think they could throw some spare change to Erik
Man, with all your fancyHTML it would be nice if you spent some energy on punctuation and spelling. Your posts are often interesting but painful to read. Just straight text works great. Slippery slope.
Hey I know I ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I'm having trouble making sense out of your explanation of how the Buell engine actually requires MORE shifting than hypothetical Engine B. Could you go over that again? Maybe use a real-world Engine B to compare to.
You might need to get out the sock-puppets too, I'm kinda slow today...