Harley-Davidson has decided to cease the brand's direct involvement in both NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) drag racing and American Flat Track racing series. Instead of running factory-backed teams under the Harley-Davidson banner, the company is looking to back a dealer-supported racing program. In the past, Harley-Davidson teamed up with other brands to co-host its racing efforts, with brands like Vance & Hines and Screamin' Eagle in NHRA drag racing. The development seems to be new Harley CEO Jochen Zeitz's vision to focus on the brand's Rewire strategy, to focus on its core customers, and a narrowed down focus on global markets and product strategy.
"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," said Jon Bekefy, general manager of Brand Marketing, Harley-Davidson. "We are excited to continue to support the XG750R racing motorcycle and NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle efforts through our dealers."
Over the past 18 seasons, the Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle team has been quite successful, generating 107 wins and 10 championships. Vance & Hines has been instrumental in developing the Harley-Davidson XG750R SuperTwins and Production Twins motorcycles and earning a championship in AFT Production Twins for the 2020 season. Now, Harley-Davidson is focusing on developing a contingency program for the American Flat Track series. 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 be built by Vance & Hines and distributed to qualifying teams.
The decision to step back from racing efforts seems to be a direct consequence of The Rewire strategy outlined by new CEO Jochen Zeitz. The strategy is to trim Harley's expenses, and refocus its strategy on core products, trimming down the workforce, a 30 per cent cut in the model line-up, withdrawals from under-performing markets and a renewed focus on eliminating inefficiencies in manufacturing. A more detailed 5-year plan for Harley-Davidson, to be called "Hardwire" is to be announced soon.