Vintage motorcycle racing is not something I generally follow. Last Saturday when I went to the HSR (Historic Sportscar Racing) event at Road Atlanta, I went with the hope of taking some up close video of some vintage race cars. I am a motorcyclist, a former motorcycle racer and I do pay some attention to the motorcycle industry. I was not prepared to see some 75 race bikes from many different eras, a surprising number much newer than what I raced. After getting over the feeling of being "vintage" I dove into shooting video of these mobile works of art. Everything from 125cc 2 stroke light weight Can Am's to some fairly recent Italian and Japanese bikes. All the people in the paddock were very engaging, willing to share information and history on their machines. It seems that initially the paddock spaces were broken up by makes, as the transport and caretakers seem to specialize in one brand or another. I did come across a very eclectic collection that was highlighted by the only Harley Davidson Motorcycle on the track. I took quite a bit of up close video of the XRTT, I had not paid close attention to this bike and briefly spoke to the owner Greg Craft. He was off to a riders meeting and I had to shoot more video.
A quick email to Greg and my confusion was cleared. Here is the explanation in his own words.
The XRTT you are writing about is a 1970 replica based on a 1994 Harley Evo. These were the bikes I watched and read about as a kid back in the 70's, made famous by riders like Cal Rayborn ,Mert Lawwill, Renzo Pasolini and Mark Brelsford. I built the bike as a tribute to these men and their crews. The bike started out as a 883 sportster. The engine has gone through a complete performance build featuring twin plug heads and displacement increased to 1321 cc capped off with an S&S carb , supertrapp exhaust and chain drive final. The airtech body work is pulled from original-style molds. The bike was recently wrapped in white and red vinyl for my sponsor Hawk performance brakes which manufactures a wide variety of high performance pads including a complete line for American motorcycles. All of the fabrication and factory racing paint ,which is still there under the wrap,was done by me. the build took approx 4 months to complete and was finished in the spring of 2008."
By the time I came on to the superbike scene, these bikes were already a legend in the mid 80's and every so often at a club race you could hear the thunder of the Harley over the buzz of the 4 cylinder bikes and the totally different sound from the other twins out there, the Ducati's. Most of the XRTT bikes ended up on the flat dirt tracks where they have dominated for so long. I would be very surprised if there were even 25 original road race XRTT's in existence. I heard of one that recently sold for $175,000. So a tribute bike is fine in my book, specially when it was done with the care that is obvious on this bike. Great job Greg !