Much will be decided today on the future of motorcycle ice racing in the Winter X Games.
Harley-Davidson – now an X Games sponsor – has united with ESPN to feature motorcycle ice racing as an X Games Aspen exhibition sport.
But it ultimately comes down to the fans, who will “decide if the sport is extreme enough for future X Games winter events via social media.”
To help influence these decisions, Harley brought some of the world’s fastest flat track racers to the scene of Winter X Games 2014 in Aspen, Colo. These riders will put on an exhibition ice race aboard the new Harley-Davidson Street 750 – The Motor Company’s newest platform in 13 years.
Today’s race will feature Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team rider Brad Baker, the reigning AMA Pro Grand National champion, AMA Pro star Jared Mees, winner of the 2012 AMA Pro Grand National Championship, and his wife and fellow AMA Pro flat track racer Nichole Mees.
Speaking of the exhibition motorcycle ice race, Dino Bernacchi, Director of North American Marketing Communications, says “while the Street was designed to handle urban environments, its instant throttle response, lean chassis and super-low seat height make it perfect to ride anywhere.
“We modified several Street motorcycles by adding steel screws to the tires and let the world’s best flat track racers tear up the ice at high speeds. We think fans will be captivated by the extreme attitude and beauty they’ll see on the ice.”
Many across the motorcycle industry are hoping for positive response from the fans, who will influence whether motorcycle ice racing comes to future X Games winter events.
The fans will share their comments via the Twitter hashtag #XGIceRace, and ESPN will share the comments from fans during the final day of Winter X Games Sunday, Jan. 26 (learn more at darkcustom.com/iceracing).
“The attitude and capabilities of the Street were influenced by thousands of young adults in cities around the world,” adds Bernacchi. “So while we think ice racing is hardcore, it’s only fitting that Harley-Davidson is having extreme sports fans around the world help decide the X Games fate of the sport.”
Motorcycle Racing on Ice (courtesy of Harley-Davidson)
While it’s difficult to pin down when and where someone had the idea of putting a motorcycle on ice, the first records of ice racing date from Sweden in 1924. Today, ice racing is primarily on quarter-mile, half-mile and road course tracks setup on frozen lakes or indoor arenas.
The sport usually is divided into classes for full-rubber and studded tires with speeds regularly approaching 80 miles per hour on straightaways and 60 miles per hour in the turns.
“Harley-Davidson has been pioneering action sports before they were even defined as action sports,” says Bernacchi. “In fact, archive photos in the Harley-Davidson Museum show enthusiasts racing on frozen lakes almost a century ago, so it’s exciting to see us back racing on ice with a new generation of riders on the newest addition to the Dark Custom motorcycle lineup.”
For a preview of the Harley-Davidson Street 750 and its younger brother the Street 500, click here.