January 25, 2018
The Harley-Davidson® Factory Flat Track Racing Team will combine veteran savvy with youthful potential in a three-rider effort contesting the 2018 American Flat Track (AFT) Twin series. Returning rider Brandon Robinson will be joined by seasoned pro Sammy Halbert and rising star Jared Vanderkooi on the Harley Factory squad for the coming season.
The team was announced to the Harley-Davidson dealer network during meetings held today in Nashville.
The Harley-Davidson Factory Team will engage in flat track battles aboard all-new Harley-Davidson XG750R competition motorcycles on the 19-race AFT Twins series and at the Harley-Davidson Flat Track Racing event at ESPN’s X Games Minneapolis. The racing season opens during Daytona Bike Week at the March 15 AFT Daytona TT on a new, enlarged course constructed inside Daytona International Speedway.
“American Flat Track has new energy behind the sport and fans responded. They’re heading to the track to see the action live and tuning in from around the globe to the catch the racing broadcasts,” said Scott Beck, Harley-Davidson Director of Marketing.
“Harley-Davidson made an investment to help build AFT and we are excited to see this growth in a truly all-American motorsport.”
Entering its 65th consecutive season, American Flat Track is the most historic form of American motorcycle racing. Preparing for what promises to be one of the most competitive flat-track seasons ever, Harley-Davidson and its Factory Team partner, Vance & Hines Motorsports, devoted this off-season to extracting more performance from the team’s Harley XG750R race bikes.
The XG750R flat tracker used by the Factory Team is powered by a race-modified, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 750cc Revolution X™ V-Twin engine, an engine originally engineered for the Harley-Davidson Street® 750, a motorcycle built for maximum urban maneuverability with rebellious Dark Custom™ attitude. The race-modified Revolution X engine and a racing frame for the XG750R were developed in collaboration with Vance & Hines Motorsports. The XG750R flat tracker motorcycle is not a production model.
The Revolution X engine was designed and engineered at the Willie G. Davidson Product Development Center in Wauwatosa, Wis. The 750cc XG Revolution X V-Twin engine is for sale through Harley-Davidson dealers today and can be modified for racing use by aspiring dealers and privateers.
Sammy Halbert brings his veteran experience to the Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Racing Team in 2018. Since his first pro season in 2006, Halbert has won 13 times in Grand National competition. Always a tenacious competitor, he placed third in the Twins championship chase in 2015, scored four wins and finished second in the championship in 2012. He had four wins and a third-place finish, in 2011. Halbert was named AMA “Ricky Graham Rookie of the Year” in 2006 and won his first Grand National race at the 2007 Castle Rock TT. Racing for Estenson Logistics in 2017, Halbert placed fourth in AFT Twins points with five podium results and 14 top-10 finishes. Halbert is 30 years old and lives in Graham, Wash.
Brandon Robinson returns for his second season with the Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Racing Team. In 2017, Robinson delivered consistent results with nine top-10 finishes and ended the season in seventh place in AFT Twins. Robinson had a break-out season in 2013 with seven top-five finishes and three victories, including a sweep of both Twins races on the Springfield Mile. In 2016, Robinson earned his fourth career victory with a win on the Lima half-mile, notched two additional podium results and finished third in GNC1 points. In 2008, Robinson was the AMA Basic Twins class champion. Robinson is 27 years old and lives in Oxford, Pa.
Jarod Vanderkooi (VAN-der-koy) has been a rising star on the AFT circuit since winning the 2015 “GNC1 Rookie of the Year” Award after scoring four top-10 finishes and placing 12th in the points. The 2014 GNC2 Twins champion, Vanderkooi won his first pro event on the Springfield Mile, his first of two victories at Springfield that season. In 2016, he finished 10th in the standings and scored three top-five finishes. Vanderkooi posted eight top-10 results and finished the 2017 AFT Twins season in ninth place as a member of the Richie Morris Racing Team. Vanderkooi is 20 years old and lives in Mount Gilead, Ohio.
The Harley-Davidson Flat Track Racing Team is proudly partnered with Vance & Hines Motorsports.