Sturgis, S.D., Aug. 6—Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Racing Team rider Jake Johnson raced the team’s Harley-Davidson XG750R competition motorcycle to a third-place finish at the Buffalo Chip TT American Flat Track (AFT) Twins national at the Legendary Buffalo Chip Campground. Racing in front of a packed crowd on hand for the 77th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Johnson scored the first podium finish for the new XG750R flat tracker and his best finish of the season.
“This feels as good as a win,” said Johnson. “Obviously we want to win every time we line up, but the team has been working so hard this season with a new bike and to finally come through and get on the box is a real confidence booster. We know we have the speed and the bike was really working great tonight.”
The Harley-Davidson XG750R flat tracker is a competition motorcycle powered by a race-modified, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected Revolution X V-Twin engine originally engineered for the Harley-Davidson Street 750. The XG750R flat tracker motorcycle is not a production model. The 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.
Johnson was in the mix all night as the AFT Twins racers battled for the first time ever in the middle of the Buffalo Chip campground complex on a nine-turn, half-mile TT course that included the season’s only right-hand first turn and a jump on the back stretch.
“The track was really tough. It was like racing on a go-kart track,” said Johnson. “And the crowd was wild and right up to the fence. You could look down see the fans when we went over the jump. We even had zip-liners flying overhead. It was really fun to be racing here in front of all of these motorcycle fans at the center of Sturgis Rally action.”
Johnson brought his XG750R home third in a heat race and then won his semi-final heat to earn the second seed and a front-row starting position for the 25-lap main. Johnson was running in fourth place when the race was stopped on lap 10 when a hay bale used to mark the edge of the course was dragged on the track and scattered over the racing line. Johnson was again in fourth place when the race was stopped on lap 15 for a crashed rider. On the ensuing re-start, a motorcycle bottomed out on the jump and spilled oil on the track and the race was halted for the third time. Johnson moved up to third place when racing resumed and held that position to the finish.
Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Racing Team rider Kenny Coolbeth Jr. also made the main on a Factory XG750R after finished third in his semi-final heat. Coolbeth ran as high as fifth place in the main but slipped back on the final re-start and finished the race in 11th place. Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Racing Team rider Brandon Robinson did not make the main after crashing in his semi-final heat.
Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Racing Team will race in the Black Hills area for the second time during the Sturgis Rally on August 8 at the Harley-Davidson Black Hills Half-Mile at the Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, S.D.