Only a few months ago, Harley-Davidson (Harley) formally axed its factory drag racing and American Flat Track (AFT) racing programs.  Harley’s partnership with Vance and Hines (V&H) had brought the MoCo many race wins and titles.  Its AFT team did not do as well, but V&H continued to fly the series’s Harley flag.

Factory racing withdrawal

At the time of its factory racing withdrawal announcement, Harley said:

“Harley-Davidson’s heritage is rich with racing lore and legacy, and throughout our brand’s history, Harley-Davidson dealers have been the cornerstone of our racing programs.   We are excited to continue to support the XG750R racing motorcycle and NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle efforts through our dealers.”

Return to racing

But apparently, Harley has changed its mind.  The manufacturer will re-enter factory racing in the Moto America King of the Baggers road racing series.  The Harley team is preparing a Harley-Davidson Road Glide® Special powered by a race-modified Screamin’ Eagle® Milwaukee-Eight 131 Performance Crate Engine for pro rider Kyle Wyman.

factory Harley

Harley-Davidson’s 131 ci Screamin’ Eagle Milwaukee-E crate engine.  Photo credit: Harley-Davidson

In a press release, Harley’s Chairman and CEO Jochen Zeitz said:

Competing in the King of the Baggers series gives Harley-Davidson an opportunity to showcase our Screamin’ Eagle performance products in the heat of competition.  Nobody knows more about building Harley-Davidson performance than our Screamin’ Eagle engineersHarley-Davidson created the first factory hot rod baggers, the Road Glide Special and Street Glide Special models, for riders craving performance and touring comfort.”

Harley goes on to say that its Screamin’ Eagle Milwaukee-Eight 131 Performance Crate Engine is the most powerful street-compliant performance engine offered by Harley-Davidson.

Taking their claims even further, Harley says the engine is:

Built from the bottom up in Milwaukee, this street-tuned, 131-cubic-inch (2147cc) Screamin’ Eagle crate engine delivers 131 ft-lb of torque to the rear wheel as soon as the throttle is cranked, and may be installed in 2017-later Harley-Davidson Touring models. 

Factory rider

Kyle Wyman will ride the Harley entry in the MotoAmerica series.  Kyle is 31 and is from Macedon, NY.  Wyman got his Harley racing start at the age of 15.  While competing, he took six victories in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XR1200 series.  He also won the Daytona 200 in 2019.

It will be interesting to see how well the Harley-powered machine will fare against Indian’s Challenger-powered bikes.

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