FLUSHING, Mich. – The Springfield double header of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Series, is fast approaching. On Sunday, May 28th, fans may witness another tick against Harley-Davidson’s formidable record of victories at the legendary Springfield Mile.
Bryan Smith will, once again, straddle a prototype Kawasaki specially built for the high speed miles. It was designed and built on Gasoline Alley, by one of Indy Car and NASCAR’s renowned fabricators. Smith has proven that the Kawasaki engine can out run its American V-twin competition, when he made history by winning back to back nationals at the 2010 Indy and Springfield Miles, a first for the Japanese manufacturer. Bryan will race all five miles, Springfield I & II, Sacramento, Indy and Santa Rosa, of the 2012 season aboard the Crosley Radio/Howerton Motorsports/Bryan Smith Racing Kawasaki.
Rick Howerton designs and fabricates exhaust systems that help propel the top Indy Car and NASCAR teams to the winner’s circle. His experience with exotic materials and cutting edge technology, combined with a lifelong affinity for two-wheeled sport, led to the development of one of the most advanced Flat Track motorcycles to enter the paddock. How advanced? The exhausts, for example, are fabricated from Inconel, a superalloy also used in jet engines and Nuclear reactors. Rick logged nearly 500hrs designing the chassis on the computer. The non-traditional, twin spar frame allows all the components to be moved closer to the engine, centralizing mass.
He spent another 1300hrs building the two Flat Trackers. His inspiration stems from riding his bicycle from his Dad’s shop, over to Team Honda’s headquarters to watch Skip Eaken, Ricky Graham and Bubba Shobert prep their Grand National Championship winning twins in the 1980s.
“As soon as I saw the bike I thought it looked like something that came from MotoGP. The design and components are different from everything we are used to seeing in Dirt Track. Rick didn’t have to ask twice if I wanted to ride the bike!” Smith said, after Rick Howerton invited Bryan down to his shop on Gasoline Alley in Indianapolis to give the bikes a once over.
“I still can’t believe I have the chance to live my childhood dreams. To have Bryan Smith, one of the best milers in the business, and Skip Eaken tuning our engines, gets me so excited I can hardly wait to go racing!” says Howerton with the same enthusiasm he used to describe knocking around the shop with his idol, Ricky Graham.
Skip Eaken is tasked with developing and maintaining the 650cc, parallel twin engine. He will also work closely with Bryan Smith at the track, making adjustments to the Kawasaki and the demands of the Grand National circuit. Skip’s experience with championship winning riders and Japanese race bikes, known as “The Harley Killers”, allowed him to comment on the team’s potential, “Bryan is one of the fastest guys out there, I am confident in his ability and the bike. I wouldn’t take on this kind of work if I wasn’t confident we can win.”
The teams five race, 2012 campaign will be sponsored by Crosley Radio. In the 1920’s Powel Crosley pioneered radio broadcasting and manufacturing, bringing affordable, well built radios to the American people. Today, the company applies the same design and quality to their current products. They specialize in combining vintage styling with the latest technology to create, iconic electronics for yesterday, today and tomorrow at www.CrosleyRadio.com. Additional sponsors for the Kawasaki Twins program are: Howerton Motorsports, Eaken Racing, Kawasaki, Midwest Performance Hardware, Guts Wear, Carbonix usa, Dryer Motorsports, Tucker Rocky, Freelance graphics, Jeff Gordon
Bryan Smith will continue to race his Harley-Davidson XR750 in the half-mile Nationals under the sponsorship of the following: American Harley-Davidson, Fasthog.com, Docs Harley-Davidson.