VICTORY RIDER BLOG: A LOOK BACK AT THE PEOPLE WHO POWERED VICTORY TO NEW HEIGHTS IN 2015
Elsewhere on the Victory Motorcycles website and on the Victory Facebook page you’ll see coverage of the brand’s many 2015 projects. You’ll see lots of great motorcycles, of course, from race bikes to concepts to stock bikes the Victory Stunt Team wrung out in every amazing performance.
But Victory is much more than motorcycles. It’s an amazing group of people – from corporate staff to dealers to racers to Victory owners who live to ride. So let’s take a look back at Victory’s 2015 with a focus on the people who proudly wear that big “V” logo.
Riding for Good: Victory Riders do a lot of good things for deserving people. In October, the Lake Erie Freedom Chapter of the Victory Motorcycle Club presented a check for $12,629.49 to the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Victory Riders raised the money in August with their Ride for the Kids poker run and Concert for the Kids after-party. And as a member noted on the chapter’s Facebook page: “Wait ‘til you see what we’ve got in store for 2016.”
Live to Ride [Loud], Part 1: Victory Riders turned out in large numbers for Victory events at Daytona Bike Week and at Sturgis. Victory shut down Main Street on a Saturday night of Bike Week with the loud and proud introduction of the Magnum X-1. And Victory Riders revved it up and roasted rear tires at the drag strip during the Victory party at Sturgis.
Live to Ride [Long], Part 2: Hundreds, if not thousands, of Victory Riders completed Iron Butt rides in 2015. Three Georgia Victory Riders completed an 1,100-mile Iron Butt ride in March during which they rode to Daytona Beach, spent four hours taking in Bike Week activities, then headed home to Georgia. Completing this ride in 22 hours were Jay Sparks (2012 Cross Country), Bo Williams (2014 Cross Country 8-Ball), and Randy Ross (2014 Cross Country Tour). In Minnesota, Iron Butt legends Gregor Moe and Connie Gabrick once again led a large group of riders on the annual All-Victory Iron Butt Ride, with some of the riders completing their first IB rides.
Live to Ride [Really Long], Part 3: Victory Iron Butt legend Steve “Rollin’” Rolland of Wisconsin completed several more Iron Butt rides last summer on his Victory Vision 8-Ball. In doing so, he passed the 20 IB ride mark and became the second Victory Rider to earn Iron Butt Mile Eater Gold status. (Gregor Moe was the first.)
The Victory Land Speed Record Project: You likely have heard of the people leading this effort to set more land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats: Lloyd Greer (Lloydz Motorworkz) and speed record holders Laura and Brian Klock (Klock Werks Kustom Cycles). We salute them and the fantastic crew they’re mentoring, the students from the Pine Bush [NY] S.T.A.R.S. Academy. This is a Pine Bush Central School District program designed to keep at-risk students on pace to graduate, and to teach them valuable life skills.
The students in the Helping With Horsepower project work with Lloyd and the Klocks to build the Victory speed run bikes, and they serve as the race crew at Bonneville. Even though poor salt flats conditions cancelled the 2015 speed runs, the students still benefitted greatly from their academy experience. Young lives were stabilized – maybe even saved – and the students gained invaluable work experience. We rank that above a speed record. Learn more at: http://www.victorymotorcycles.com/en-us/land-speed
Project 156: You know the public faces of the project in which a Victory prototype was raced in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Roland Sands and his Roland Sands Design (RSD) team built the bike, and journalist Don Canet raced it with all his heart up the serpentine mountain road.
But we want to salute the unnamed staff members at RSD who, along with Roland, built and then urgently rebuilt the bike after a crash in practice the week before the race. Their ‘round-the-clock efforts gave Don a fast race bike that he piloted toward the summit with the same passion and drive the builders displayed in the shop.
Victory Stunt Team: Riders Tony Carbajal and Joe Dryden are true professionals. They get paid to ride and put on shows. But in doing so, they take major physical risks, and they do things with their bikes – Victory Gunners, baggers, and Empulse TTs – that show all of us the incredible performance these motorcycles can deliver. Guts, skill, and Victory Performance add up to impressive displays in the Stunt Team shows, and Tony and Joe give all of us Victory Riders the ability to brag, “See what can be done on my bike?”
Victory Endurance Race Team: In February in Daytona Beach, Florida, Urs Pedraita will likely have his game face on. The smile might leave his face as he takes off and the clock starts on his attempt to ride a motorcycle – a Victory Cross Country – around the world faster than any rider ever.
But maybe not. After spending time with the man known as “Grisu Grizzly” at Daytona Bike Week and the American Victory Rally, we came away believing he should be named after a Teddy Bear, not a Grizzly. He is a gentle soul, a friendly and funny man. But he also has a deep passion to race across six (or possibly seven) continents and set the world record on a Victory. We’ll be cheering in early 2016 as Teddy– er, Grizzly starts his record attempt.
Isle of Man: Last June, Lee Johnston and Guy Martin competed in the legendary Isle of Man TT on race-prepped, all-electric Victory Empulse TT prototypes. Lee finished third in the electric bike class, averaging 111.620 mph for his 37.73-mile lap of the small island in the Irish Sea, and Guy finished fourth, averaging 109.717 mph.
Go online and view video of Isle of Man TT racing. There’s no race and no racecourse like it. Anywhere. Hats off to Lee and Guy for risking everything to put Victory on the global high-performance map. And kudos to the Victory engineering team that prepped the bikes.
Victory Drag Racing Team: 2015 was a year of learning for Victory and for Smith Racing – Matt and Angie Smith – as the husband and wife racers piloted a pair of race bikes dressed as Victory Gunners in the NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle (PSM) class. Matt, a two-time NHRA PSM champion and the team’s chief bike builder, learned a lot about the Gunner-replica bodywork. He hopes to make slight modifications here in the off-season to improve the bikes’ speed in 2016.
Matt qualified for the PSM title chase and finished fourth in points. Angie, who has some of the best starting-line reflexes in the sport, finished 13th. We can’t wait to see them win races and cross the 200 mph barrier in 2016.
More to Come: These are only some of the memorable Victory people of 2015. Look back at previous Victory Rider Blogs to learn about more. Remarkably, we’re certain 2016 will be even busier, more historic, and more exciting for everyone in the Victory universe. Watch for a Victory Rider Blog in early 2016 that previews major Victory events to plan for in the year ahead. In the meantime, we wish you all a very Victory New Year.