Harley-Davidson steps back from direct sporting involvement

Harley-Davidson has taken the decision to cease its direct involvement in both NHRA drag racing and American Flat Track

HARLEY-DAVIDSON has taken the decision to cease its direct involvement in both the NHRA and America Flat Track racing series.

Instead of running factory-backed teams under the H-D banner, Harley is taking a more grassroots approach to the two series, with a dealer-supported program taking over.

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Previously, Harley-Davidson teamed up with other brands to co-host its racing efforts – like with Vance & Hines and Screamin’ Eagle in NHRA drag racing for instance. And they were successful, nabbing over 100 wins and ten championships on the quarter-mile. In American Flat Track Harley took the crown in the Production Twins class this year.

This ‘all eggs in one basket’ approach won’t continue though, with no official H-D backed or branded teams competing in 2021. Instead, Harley is developing a contingency program for AFT. To kick-off, Harley-Davidson is already committed to supporting Latus Motors Harley-Davidson as they campaign their XG750R in the AFT SuperTwins series. The bikes will still be built by Vance & Hines and distributed to qualified teams.

The news might sound like a backward step for the brand, but it kind of makes sense. New CEO Jochen Zeitz asked Harley to focus on its core customers, and while racing has always been at the core of the business for the Milwaukee brand, it's not an absolute must, is it? Going about competition in a more socially distanced manner as they are, it allows them to keep a toe in the competitive pool without pouring in resources.

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