There could have been some privateer DR-Z400's out there last year for sure. Actually, after the AMA lowered the displacement to 500cc for short tracks and TT's, there were plenty of Honda CRF 450R's out there with cut down suspension. Honda could easily run the series with the VTR 1000 and the CRF. There have already been private efforts with the 1000 twins from Honda, Suzuki, Ducati, Aprilia, and Buell.
It is great to see other manufacturers enter the great sport of AMA flat track, I think that is the shot in the arm this kind of competition needs, it has been very clear that having only Harley contesting the championship has been detrimental to the health of this great sport. I for one used to drive many miles during the early and mid eighties to watch Ricky Graham and Bubba Shobert beat on the Harley boys with their Hondas, but then that Division of Harley Davidson called the AMA made it impossible for anybody but their bikes to compete and I and many other fans stopped going. Well maybe is time to start going to some of the best racing on two wheels again, and here is a suggestion to the AMA: Keep the rules fair and watch the sport grow and get the recognition it truly deserves.
Honda quit in the 80's, not because of any supposed phone call from Harley-Davidson, but they started getting beat again after spending an enormous amount of money to win. Instead of taking the time to develop the product further, they quit. Don't blame Harley. Just look at WSB. They are quitting there for the same reason. They need to spend 10 times what Ducati spends, and it still doesn't guarantee a championship. Honda likes rules that promote a spend-fest like GP, or involves buying the best talent ala RC. To compete on equal footing was never their forte'. Don't blame Harley for the downfall, applaud Suzuki for having the guts to compete.
Milwaukee (UPI) January 13-AMA officials, speaking from their new offices in the Harley Davidson corporate offices announced a new race series open to a "broad range" of motorcycles.
"This new class will create an open playing field. Only the best and most innovative manufacturers will be able to compete in this one" said Kent Brentmenthent, new VP of AMAproracingandgolfing.
When pressed for detail about the class, Mr. Brnetmenthent referred reporters to a press release.
The press release allows "any motorcycle" into the class, as long as it is "700 pounds wet, makes less than 65 HP stock, is 23% chrome, and was manufactured in the actual Harley Davidson factory."
Additionaly, riders must wear only specially licensed Harley Davidson MotorClothes (tm) for "safety concerns."
When a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times asked what sorts of "safety concerns" require wearing crotchless pants and a leather handkerchief about one's head, she was dragged from the press room by two large and malodorous men.
After the reporters anguished screams could be heard through an open alley door, the tone of questions from the press became much less antagonistic.
Although no dates or details about the race series were given by the AMA, there is no doubt in the collective mind of UPI that this will be the most exciting and watched racing in the history of mankind.
AS far as I remember the Hondas are still winning, too bad we can not ask Ricky Graham, but you can ask Terry Poovey what he is using to win these days. And yes Honda won the championship in WSB last year, remember that one? And yes it costs lots of money to win but that is the nature of the beast. I hope Harley gets some competitive machines so they don't have to put intake restrictions and weight penalties on the competition, ala 1980's. Lets hope the sport grows regardless of what brand wins.