Thank God, that could have been way worse.
Victory Motorcycles’ Project 156 bike, built for the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb and ridden by Cycle World’s Road Test Editor, Don Canet, suffered extensive damage in a crash during practice on the course Saturday (6/13). Canet was not seriously injured in the crash that occurred when the front end washed out and the bike low-sided, spun around, and slammed rear-end first into the end of a steel guard rail.
“The first question was if Don is OK – when we heard that he was, that was our biggest relief. Racing is serious business, and it takes commitment, planning, guts and skill to get through these situations,” said Victory Motorcycles General Manager Rod Krois. “Victory Motorcycles took this endeavor on to challenge ourselves and make history by putting a competitive American bike back on Pikes Peak. Commitment is not for the weak – and I know that our team will make the decision that is best for Don and our brand.”
“We have been making significant progress on the engine tune of the motorcycle each time it went out, and were able to start focusing on the handling aspects of the bike,” said Canet. “As I was going up the mountain I lost the front end under braking, asphalt temperature was extremely low and, counter-intuitively, I think the tire was getting colder as the run went on.”
Canet has experience on the course, having taken third position in his rookie season at the “Race to the Clouds” last year.
Victory and Roland Sands Designs (RSD) collaborated on the purpose-built racing bike that features a prototype liquid-cooled Victory motor. The chassis and nearly everything else is hand-built, specifically for the challenges of the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb. It features Twin 67mm intake throttles with downdraft runners for maximum power and torque as well as a performance valvetrain, including titanium intake and exhaust valves to allow for maximum engine speed.
The Falkner-Livingston team transported the race bike back to the Roland Sands Designs headquarters in Southern California for evaluation. “Not going to lie…” says RSD project leader Cameron Brewer, “Project 156 is really beat up. But we are racers at heart and I can promise Victory Motorcycles, Cycle World Magazine, RSD and Pikes Peak fans that we will rebuild the bike – she took one hell of a hit, but we are committed to this program.”