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Harley Sprint Aermacchi Race Bike

Discussion in 'General Classic Motorcycle Discussion' started by MS850, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. MS850

    MS850

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2015
    The guy that does my machine work is also the mechanic and owner of these Harley Sprint road race bikes. Dave Roper is the rider. He's one sharp guy, used to have a machine shop, does everything out of his garage now.

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  2. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Here's my late homeboy Billy Joe Taylor and his Widman Harley-sponsored Sprint tracker. To the right, Ron and Earl Widman. It was Earl who designed and built the original XRTT roadrace frames for the factory team.

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  3. xbacksideslider

    xbacksideslider VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Cool. Cool. Cool.

    Pure envy here.

    Thanks for the pics.
     
  4. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    I've got one of those Knucklehead 350 engines, if anyone is interested...
     
  5. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    A Harley Sprint is NOT an Aermacchi Ala D'Oro. Most of the parts don't even fit. An XRTT is also not a Harley Sprint, the Sprint is a road going Aermacchi.

     
  6. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    The Aermacchi 350 Ala D'Oro racer was the best 350cc single cylinder four-stroke race bike ever made. It replaced the 1958 AJS 7R. When Harley bought Aermacchi, they lost the plot. Like most Yanks, they had no appreciation.
     
  7. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Like most Yanks, they had no appreciation.-acotrel

    What we had was racing that sold motorcycles. It just happened to be dirt track and not roadracing. The 350 class was never large here, having died previously in Europe and England. Sprint flat trackers were all 250s unless they were cheaters. Roadracing caught a wave of popularity in the 80s thanks to GSXR Suzukis, FZR Yamahas, CBR Hondas, and ZX Kawasakis. Most Americans have never seen or heard of an AJS Racer Boy and most Harley types have no knowledge of Aermacchi in their history. So in reality, there was nothing here to appreciate, 350 roadracer-wise.

    Time marches on. Those who do not march along with it are left in the dust.
     
  8. oldbeezer

    oldbeezer VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Thanks for the picture Danno, it brings back a couple of memories. I was born and raised in St Louis. Didn't know Earl Widman designed the frames
     
  9. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Four of us went to Indy for the Twin Miles they used to run. Me, Roger, Kelly and Billy Joe. Billy Joe had crashed years before at Jerseyville, which effectively ended his run towards the top of AMA Flat Track. Kelly always said "Taylor got killed at Jerseyville" He had continued racing at a club level for several years and finally hung it up. I told Roger and Kelly, "I'm not rooming with that nasty little bastard" which evoked a round of laughter. Roger and Kelly flipped a coin and Kelly lost, so he had to bunk up with Billy Joe.

    We weren't even unpacked when the room phone rang. It was Kelly next door. "Get over here, you gotta see this" All Billy Joe brought along for the weekend was a cardboard suittcase containing two pair of underwear and a carton of cigarettes. Flat Track was a rough sport back in the day and he fit in perfectly.
     
  10. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Although not an Aermacchi, carrying on the tradition on Billy Joe's old Bultaco Pursang.
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  11. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    In more ways than one; How to fall with an open-face helmet and no gloves

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  12. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Many years ago I was looking at a Drixton Aermacchi 350 racer outside a dealer's shop in Melbourne. While I was there a friend was also there and he beat me to it. A bit later we took it out onto a new freeway which was being built and rode it. He and his son raced it in historics for many years and also bought an ex-Charles Mortimore original one. Very few of us had any knowledge of the potential of those bikes. We all thought 'big is better'. You could probably still buy an Aermacchi racer for about $30,000. The trouble is the race classes which suit it no longer exist.
    When I was a kid, you could buy a road-going 250cc Aermacchi fairly cheaply - we would not even look at them. A Harley Sprint would be very second-best. I don't believe Harley knew what they had when they bought Aermacchi.
     
  13. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    If you watch the movie 'On Any Sunday', one of the bikes Mert Lawhill was racing was a flat track Harley Sprint.
     
  14. MS850

    MS850

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2015
    Ive watched On Any Sunday several times, I knew he rode a Sprint by the beach but didnt know about the flat track riding, good eye. Oh darn I guess Ill have to watch it again.
     
  15. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    I think in that movie, it only shows the Aermacchi being unloaded out of Mert Lawhill's van at a flat track meeting.. It doesn't show it being used on the flat track, but the Harley 750 was also there. That is what the story was about.
     
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