The 2006 racing season will go down as one of the most successful on record for Buell racers and teams. Buell riders scored several national and regional championships, including the American Sportbike Racing Association (ASRA) Thunderbike Championship, the Canadian Thunder national championship, Championship Cup Series (CCS) Thunderbike National Championship, and more than a dozen regional racing titles.
Buell also made a record pay-out in contingency money to Buell racers competing at the national and regional level in 2006. The Buell Racer Appreciation Contingency Effort (RACE) program will return in 2007 with even more cash contingencies posted for XB and XBRR racers.
Buell XBRR Debuts
The Buell XBRR, a production racing motorcycle based on the Buell Firebolt XB12R, made its professional debut in March at the Daytona 200. Four Buell dealer entries placed a rider solidly in the 71-bike field. Warr’s of London H-D/Buell’s Jeremy McWilliams qualified eighth and ran as high as seventh position during the race. Buell Hannover (Germany) rider Rico Penzkofer qualified 14th and ran as high as 11th. Deeley H-D/Buell Canada rider Steve Crevier qualified 16th and ran as high as 12th. Hal’s H-D/Buell rider Mike Ciccotto qualified 15th. All four riders eventually retired from the race, but lessons learned were used to improve the build of XBRR motorcycles.
Buell dealer teams campaigned the XBRR in six other AMA Formula Xtreme events on the 2006 AMA Superbike series and earned two top-10 finishes; McWilliams finished eighth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on July 22, while Crevier placed ninth aboard an XBRR at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 5. These Buell dealer teams received support from Pirelli Tires, Sentry Insurance, Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Screamin’ Eagle SYN3 Synthetic Motorcycle Lubricant, and Harley-Davidson Visa.
In Europe, France’s Michel Amalric secured a dramatic win at the famous Bol d’Or event at Magny-Cours to beat a 39-bike field in the Pro-Twin Final aboard his Macadam Moto (Buell Montpellier) sponsored Buell XBRR. Amalric took the checkered flag 1.14 seconds ahead of Alain Cottard’s Aprilia RSV 1000 and 3.94 seconds ahead of Stephane Molinier’s third-place Ducati 999.
Bilansky Takes ASRA Thunderbike Title
Hal’s H-D/Buell-Hal’s Speed Shop rider Dan Bilansky of Waukesha, Wis., rode a Buell Firebolt XB12R to win his first American Sportbike Racing Association (ASRA) Thunderbike National Championship. Bilansky won three of eight ASRA Thunderbike events, including the season finale at the 23rd Annual Daytona Race of Champions at Daytona International Speedway. Veatch Motorsports rider Dave Estok, the defending Thunderbike champion, rode a Buell Firebolt XB12R to second place in the series, finishing a single point behind Bilansky. H-D/Buell of Frederick rider Bryan Bemisderfer was third, also on a Buell XB12R. Buell riders accounted for eight of the top-ten positions in 2006 ASRA Thunderbike points.
James Wins Canada Thunder Championship
Deeley Harley-Davidson/Buell Canada rider Darren James rode a Buell Firebolt XB12R to capture his second consecutive Canada Thunder national championship (and fifth consecutive Thunder title). James, of North Vancouver, BC, won two Canada Thunder races and added three second-place finishes to take the championship. His Ruthless Racing teammate, Brett McCormick, was third in Canada Thunder points, also on a Buell XB12R.
Buell racers were also very successful in Championship Cup Series (CCS) racing, garnering more than a dozen titles. Bilansky rode his Hal’s Speed Shop Buell XB12R to win the five-lap CCS Expert Thunderbike National Championship at Daytona in a deep field of CCS regional winners and ASRA Thunderbike and MOTO-ST racers.
Buell riders winning CCS 2006 Regional Championships include:
Bryan Bemisderfer (H-D/Buell of Frederick): CCS Summit Point Track Champion Expert Thunderbike and Expert SuperTwins.
Paul James (Hal’s Speed Shop): CCS Midwest Champion Expert SuperTwins, Blackhawk Farms Track Champion Expert SuperTwins and Expert Lightweight Superbike.
Walt Sipp (Blue Springs H-D/Buell): CCS Great Plains Champion Expert Thunderbike and Expert SuperTwins.
James Delk, Jr. (Roanoke Valley H-D/Buell): CCS Mid-Atlantic Champion Amateur GT Lights and Amateur Thunderbike, CCS Southeast Champion Amateur GT Lights, Summit Point Track Champion Amateur Lightweight Supersport.
Tom Michels (Racine H-D/Buell): CCS Midwest Champion Amateur Lightweight F40 and Amateur SuperTwins.
Julian Soell (Hal’s Speed Shop): CCS Midwest Champion Amateur Lightweight Supersport, Amateur Lightweight Superbike, Amateur Lightweight Grand Prix, Amateur GT Lights and Amateur Thunderbike.