TheKneeslider.com – Yesterday’s announcement of the Buell XBRR being approved for AMA Formula Xtreme racing brought a long comment by Aaron where, in his colorful way, he points out some of the bending over backwards the AMA sometimes seems to engage in when examining entries from the home team (Harley Davidson, a.k.a. Buell).
Racing is always a balancing act from a rules making standpoint, you need some kind of rules to simply establish a class of semi competitive racing machines without letting any one machine so dominate that interest declines. In an all out racing class like MotoGP, it’s actually much easier because these are race only high dollar machines and anyone going into it either has the money to compete or they don’t. If you don’t have millions of dollars to burn, perhaps we could interest you in this nice little superbike?
Making rules for production based racing is going to be really difficult because you start with what’s available in the showroom, or supposedly available in the showroom, and then try to fit in as many contestants as possible but whether you can do that depends to a large degree on whether the manufacturer made the decision to build a bike to compete in that class. The Suzuki GSX-R1000 for instance, would not exist if it wasn’t for racing, Suzuki knows it, everyone knows it, that’s why what you get at the dealer is only a few steps away from what you see on the track.
If Harley Davidson or Buell want to compete on the track, someone needs to make the decision within those organizations to build a streetable racer. Erik Buell may have made the decision but Harley has only gone along to the point where they produced the race only XBRR “based on the XB12R” and in very limited quantities that are already sold out. Formula Xtreme may have liberal rules, but sooner or later if you bend them enough you get a competitive race in appearance only, sort of like allowing some runners to take performance enhancing drugs while others have to be all natural and carry extra weight. Where do we stop?
Harley Davidson V twins are presently not competitive with the other racing twins on the market. There’s nothing wrong with it, that’s just what they decided to build. If, on the other hand, they want to go racing in classes where rules exist, build a bike and engine that conforms to those rules so it can compete in that class, then see how you do. Relying on AMA officials to fit you in somehow, gets the home team on the track but is it racing?
The quick fix? Turn the XBRR into a street machine, as some have suggested, that you and I can buy in the showroom, headlight, mufflers and all, and price it wherever Buell needs to. It’s not a perfect fix but I bet most people would go along with that, even if they have to do a lot of nodding and winking.