Harley-Davidson Racing History in Brief: 1960-1980 

The early 1960s started off on a positive note for the Harley-Davidson racing team. In 1961, Roger Reiman won the 200-mile National Championship on the Daytona International Speedway, and Carroll Resweber won his fourth consecutive title as Grand National Champion at Springfield, Ill.

harley-davidson racing history xr750 at track

In 1968, H-D’s Class C dirt track and road racing teams won 18 National Championships out of a possible 23. They earned and deserved the revived nickname, “The Wrecking Crew.” That same year, Cal Rayborn, on a model KR at the Daytona 200, finished more than four miles ahead of the second place winner. Rayborn became the first racer to break the 100-mile-per-hour pace barrier on the track.

The XR-750 was introduced in the 1970s and evolved over time to become one of the most popular racing motorcycles today: the 883 racer. During the decade, greats such as Jay Springsteen (“Springer”) raced for the company. Springer won his first Grand National Championship at the age of 19 in 1976 and followed with two more championships in 1977 and 1978. He would go on to win a total of 42 National Titles. Springer’s success paralleled that of another legend in the making: Scott Parker. Parker, who also began his career in the 1970s, has earned 93 career victories and nine Grand National Champion titles.

Just like every single Harley-Davidson customer, all of these great racers can thank William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson who built their “serial number one” to be faster than any other motorcycle around.

Story and Photo Courtesy of the Harley-Davidson Archives

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