In what has to be an unsatisfactory anticlimax, the Victory Racing/Roland Sands Design Project 156 Race to the Clouds effort ended in a DNF in the June 28th Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb http://www.ppihc.com/ .
The purpose-built liquid-cooled Victory Motorcycles prototype V-twin powered bike was ridden by Cycle World magazine’s Road Test Editor, Don Canet. Despite suffering a heavy hitting crash in practice on the mountain on June 13 that caused extensive damage to the bike, there were fortunately no serious injury to Canet. He qualified the bike fourth overall and at the top of the Exhibition Class.
Canet got the Project 156 bike off to a very fast start, posting the second fastest time of the day in section one, but lost the front end when the tire crossed the white painted line in section two resulting in a low-side crash. Canet remounted and was back underway in only 23 seconds, and in the third section he was back on his quick pace posting the fifth fastest split time overall. But damage to the bike’s electronics from the crash caused the bike to stop running altogether in section four, which is only two miles from the finish line.
“I was off to a strong start and competitive with the fastest bikes on the mountain,” Canet explained. “My disappointment is more for the team and how much work they put into Project 156 from the very beginning. The bike was working really well today despite being a prototype and being rebuilt after the practice crash a few weeks ago. To go fast here you have to ride outside the paint lines and I got caught out crossing over one. I never let go of the handlebars and got right back up again but unfortunately the bike stopped running in the last section. Overall, I’m really proud of the team’s effort.”
Victory Motorcycles General Manager Rod Krois was philosophical about the company’s racing mindset: “The Victory team didn’t shy away from the challenge of racing Pikes Peak. Racing is the ultimate test for any machine and on the back of a podium at the Isle of Man TT a few weeks ago we were hoping for a strong result with Project 156 as well. We know that Don and the team were pushing hard to take a position on the overall podium and we absolutely support their commitment to racing as hard as possible at Pikes Peak this year.”
Polaris Motorcycles Product Director Gary Gray hinted that the Project 156 Team will be back to challenge Pike’s Peak again, saying, “We committed to racing a prototype Victory engine in one of the toughest ways possible, and we succeeded in showing how strong an engineering team we have at Victory Motorcycles to develop a competitive motor in such a short time. We may not have ended up with the result we all wanted today – but I can say that the Project 156 represents the two things that Victory stands for – performance and exhilaration. We got the bike back down to the pits after the race, and were able to fire it up. It looks like the crash may have resulted in an electrical issue that ended this run for Project 156. The team is investigating to find the specific issue, and we want to bring Project 156 back to the race again.”
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Project 156 sponsors included Victory Motorcycles, Roland Sands Design, Faulkner-Livingston Racing, AF1 Racing, MoTec, Dunlop Tires, Öhlins Suspension, Carillo Rods, Speedcell, GoPro Cameras, K&N Filters, Del West, IWIS, Spider Grips, Aeromotive, and Millennium Technologies.
As of this writing, official results were under review and had not yet been posted.