4/8/09

Harley Davidson : Racing



I received this week fabulous pictures of Harley Davidson on tracks during the late 60s & early 70s.
Its the occasion to make a small history tour of what was HD racing at this time
Enjoy the pictures

Racing again was halted during World War II, but afterwards, even with Petrali gone and the team driving older, pre-war designed WR and WRTT models, Harley-Davidson left no doubt who would remain in charge. In 1947 alone, Harley-Davidson racers captured the National TT, National Miniature TT and Nationals at Richmond, Va., Springfield, Ill., and Milwaukee, Wis.




In 1948, Harley-Davidson won 19 of the 23 National events, including a dominant performance at Daytona in which seven of the top 10 finishers rode Harley-Davidson motorcycles. In 1949, Harley-Davidson won 19 out of 24 National races.
However, by 1952 even the powerful WR and WRTT model racers were showing their age against newer and lighter designs from Europe. Harley-Davidson quickly countered with the KR, a nearly clean-sheet design built on the experiences of the WR, but which placed the side-valve engine in a smaller, lighter and stronger package. For the next 17 years, the KR and KRTT models were rarely beaten. Indeed, from 1953 through 1969, the KR and KRTT would bring Harley-Davidson 13 victories at Daytona, America's most prestigious road race.





In the National points chase, KRs won on dirt as well. Factory rider Carroll Resweber won the National Championship four years running, from 1958 to 1961. Resweber's record string of championships held until Harley-Davidson's Scott Parker broke the mark with five straight championships between 1994 and 1999.


RACING OVERSEAS, AND THEN GOOD-BYE





Harley-Davidson and Walter Villa won the 250 World Championship in Europe from 1974 through 1976 aboard the RR-250 and followed up with the 350cc crown in 1977. Meanwhile in America, Harley-Davidson unfortunately had been forced to wind down its road racing efforts. After winning at Daytona in 1969, the road racing program struggled as the motorcycle manufacturer entered a period of financial difficulties and could no longer support a team.



Though the company would continue to dominate dirt track, and would make a brief return to Daytona in the Battle of the Twins in 1983, Harley-Davidson effectively said goodbye to road racing in 1973. But it was just a matter of time before it returned.