Well, it had to happen one day and it's a brave move, but Harley have announced this week that the factory team will exclusively run the liquid-cooled XG750R (as featured in Sideburn 26). In the 2016 season they ran Baker on the XR750 and Fisher on the XG.
After the bombshell announcement, last September, that Indian had snaffled up Bryan Smith, Jared Mees and Brad Baker to race their FTR750, H-D were on the back foot. They've taken a long time to announce their team, but will make the official announcement this weekend at the X Games (which they sponsor, chasing some millennial $$$).
A strong rumour is they will match Indian's three-rider team with Brandon Robinson, Jake Johnson and Kenny Coolbeth. They'e all proven racewinners, all three riders notching up a win in the 2016 season (Robinson at Lima, Johnson at Daytona Short Track, Coolbeth at Springfield 2). This pales next to the eight wins shared by Smith and Mees last year.
Coolbeth was overall champion in 2007 and Twins champion (when the title was split) in '06 and '08. Johnson was overall GNC champion in 2010 and '11 and single champion in '06 and '08.
More recently, Brandon finished the 2016 season third in the standings, Jake was fourth, Kenny in seventh.
One rider definitely out of the frame is Davis Fisher, pictured above on the XG750R. The promising young rider spent his first full GNC1 season on the new bike, and it seemed to make sense for him to carry that experience into a second year on the bike, but it's not happening. He and his father have built a Kawasaki twin to run as privateers.
The season starts on the new Daytona TT, on twins remember, in 47 days...
#JakeJohnson #BrandonRobinson #HarleyDavidson #AmericanFlatTrack #KennyCoolbeth