COOLBETH RETURNS WITH HARLEY-DAVIDSON FACTORY TEAM
Racing for a Fourth Grand National Title in an Expanded SeriesThe Screamin’ Eagle® Harley-Davidson® Factory Team will contest the 2010 AMA Grand National series with three-time Grand National Twins champion Kenny Coolbeth riding the team’s Harley-Davidson XR-750 motorcycle.
Coolbeth and the Harley-Davidson Factory Team will be racing together for a fourth Grand National Championship in 2010. Winners of three consecutive championships (2006-2008), the team placed second in the Grand National Twins series in 2009.Also returning for the 2010 season with the Harley-Davidson Factory Team are veteran technician Craig Lager and team engineer Brad Bishop.
The new season will see some significant changes in the Grand National series. After racing just nine times in 2009, the Grand National Twins motorcycles will line up for 13 events in 2010, including stops at six new venues: Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley, Ariz.; Gas City I-96 Speedway in Gas City, Ind.; The Red Mile at Lexington, Ky.; Calistoga Fairgrounds in Calistoga, Calif.; Canterbury Park near Minneapolis, Minn.; and Knoxville Speedway in Knoxville, Iowa. For the first time since 2005, the Grand National Championship will combine points earned at separate events for twin-cylinder and single-cylinder motorcycles. The Grand National Singles will race eight times on short-track oval and TT courses, while the Grand National Twins compete on half-mile and mile ovals. The entire schedule includes 21 events. Because Harley-Davidson does not manufacture a single-cylinder motorcycle model, the Harley-Davidson Factory Team will race only at Grand National Twins events.
“I’m glad the season will include more races,” said Coolbeth. “Last year the season was so short that if you had a bad night, or got injured like I did, it had a huge impact on your chances of winning the championship. You felt like you had to finish on the podium in every race, even if the bike wasn’t working well. So then maybe you push it a little too hard. We are also looking forward to racing at these new venues, and putting the thrill of Grand National racing on the Harley XR-750 in front of new fans.”
The Harley-Davidson XR-750 has been the dominant motorcycle in the Grand National Twins class for a generation, but with the new season comes new rules. For 2010 a rule change will require all teams racing an XR-750 to use a new 32mm intake restrictor plate, which is slightly smaller than the 33mm restrictor used in recent seasons. This will negatively affect power output and response, according to Coolbeth.
“We tested with the new restrictor, and I could feel it a little *** said Coolbeth. “I think I’ll notice it most on cushion tracks, like Lima and Beulah Park, where you want power instantly. Now the bike is a little less responsive. But I think the other brands that are racing in Grand National Twins are already making plenty of power. Our advantage is in handling and set-up, because we’ve got so much experience with the XR-750 package.”
The Harley-Davidson Factory Team will open the 2010 season at Yavapai Downs in Prescott, Ariz., on May 1.