Performance Times: What's New On The Street & Strip

S&S Powered Matt Smith Finishes Strong at Pomona

Posted by Patrick Garvin on Thu, Nov 17, 2016 @ 09:46 AM


Matt Smiths arm was raised before he crossed the finish line in the final round of Pro Stock Motorcycle Sunday in Pomona CA. Matt grabbed his first win of the year and the first ever for Victory Motorcycles. The win broke a three-year winless streak for Smith but more importantly started a possible winning streak for the S&S powered Victory Gunner. Smith and the Victory Motorcycle team qualified 10th , riding the S&S powered machine to a 6.88 @ 193.99, meanwhile Smiths teammate and significant other Angie Smith qualified the second S&S powered Victory Gunner 16th with a 6.96 @ 193.82. The typically tight PSM field stayed true to form and Smith battled his way through a tough veteran field of Hector Arana in the first round, then won on a hole shot vs Eddie Krawiec by a mere 5 inches at the stripe. A win that would cost Eddie the championship as Jerry Savoie marched on through the second round. The third round brought Hector Arana Jr. along with a .018 reaction and another win light for Smith. Meanwhile Savoie takes out Victory motorcycles Angie Smith but loses to loses to Angelle Sampey in the semi-finals. Savoie still locks up the championship and three time Sampey moved into the finals against Smith. The S&S powered Sampey is a formidable opponent to say the least and she had qualified her S&S powered Buell 5th for the weekend and was on a tear through the field. As the tree came down Sampey pulls the trigger a bit too quick and goes red with a -.020. Smith rolled off the throttle and cruised to a well-deserved victory on his Gunner.

Smith said -"It's been a long time coming – three years since I have won and the first one for Victory so it's pretty special."

Smith and the team battled gremlins for a good part of the year but finished strong with a well-deserved win. Congrats to the Matt and team, we look forward to seeing the Victory Motorcycles Gunner blasting down the track next year.

Tags: Racing

How To: Basic Carb Setup

Posted by Bruce Tessmer on Tue, Nov 01, 2016 @ 02:05 PM

Before S&S Cycle became the premier performance engine manufacture in the v-twin motorcycle space, we were known for our carburetors. Sure, we built stroker kits and big bore kits, but they didn’t make power without our carbs.

You may question the relevance of carburetors today. After all, there hasn’t been a carbureted Harley-Davidson® model since 2006. That’s 10 years. Well, as my friend and mentor Sid Smith told me years ago, “Nobody throws a Harley-Davidson motorcycle away.” So in addition to the legacy population of existing carbureted bikes, the retro-custom thing is still a thing, and the majority of custom bikes being scratch built today are carbureted. The take away is that knowing how to set up one of our carbs is still a good skill to have.

The Basic Carb Set Up video was one of the first instructional videos we made because carb adjustment was one of the questions that came up so frequently on our tech line, and it’s one of the most watched videos on our YouTube channel. The procedures outlined in the video are the same as what’s in the printed instructions. It’s not rocket science, but carb adjustment can be a little intimidating for someone new to fuel systems, so the video is the ideal medium for guiding novice and veteran alike through this process.

There’s no point in discussing the nuts and bolts of the procedure here in this blog, since there’s a video and if all else fails, the printed instructions to refer to. (Did you know that S&S instruction sheets can be downloaded for free in pdf format from our website?) Instead, I will just say a little about why the procedure is so useful. The basic set up is part of the drill when you’re installing a new carb. You want to confirm that everything is as it should be, and that nobody has been messing with your stuff! But a basic set up can also be thought of as a “reset” button if you find that things are just getting too weird, and you need to start over. It happens. It’s the first step in trouble shooting a recalcitrant carb, and of course it’s a must if you pick up a used carb. Who knows who’s done what to that used carb. Chances of it being right are not good.

I don’t want you to get the idea that you can just run through these steps and ride off into the sunset, though. The basic set up is just that. It’s basic. The engine should start, run and idle. Once your engine is up and running, you can start thinking about jetting and fine tuning the carb for your particular engine, but it’s gotta be running to do that. Dialing in a carb is really hard if you can’t even get the engine started! Jetting is a whole different procedure, and we have a separate video about that.

Tags: How-To / Tech

Smith, Kennedy Make the Semifinals at Brainerd

Posted by Performance Times on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 @ 04:31 PM
By Matt Polito 

S&S Racers Matt Smith and Chaz Kennedy made the semifinals at the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota. Hector Arana Jr. was able to maintain his number two position in the Mello Yello championship points with only one more event on the schedule before the championship Countdown begins. 

Brainerd saw a short bike count with only 15 competitors making the trip to the most northern event on the tour.  The event also saw some rough weather, as rain cancelled a qualifying session on Saturday and delayed Sunday’s eliminations by three hours.

The Harley-Davidson team of Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines qualified in the top two positions and met in the finals where Krawiec took his third straight win.

Matt Smith made the semifinals for the second time this year on his S&S-powered Victory Gunner.  The former series champ qualified sixth at 6.991 at a soft 188 mph, no doubt due to his continuing struggles with the aerodynamics of his new ride.  Smith met Krawiec in the semis, and got the holeshot, but lost to Krawiec for the eighth time in 11 semifinal matchups.


Hector Arana Jr. was the top S&S-powered qualifier in the field, running  6.951 seconds at the top speed of qualifying, 193.88 mph.  After he took out Angie Smith in round one, husband Matt took him out in round two.

Second year PSM competitor Chaz Kennedy is riding for UPI Performance out of Ohio this year after spending his rookie season under the tutelage of George Bryce of Star Racing. Kennedy bounced back from his DNQ at Sonoma with his second semifinal showing of the year meeting reigning series champ Andrew Hines in round three.

The next event on the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle tour is the Chevrolet Performance US Nationals at Indy, the last event where riders can qualify for the 10-bike playoff Countdown.  S&S riders currently in the top ten are Hector Arana Jr., Matt Smith, Hector Arana and Scotty Pollacheck.  Just outside the top ten are Chip Ellis, 26 points out, Angelle Sampey, 51 points out and Chaz Kennedy and Angie Smith, both with an outside chance at 68 points out.  The US Nationals, run over Labor Day weekend, offers 1.5 times the points available at every other NHRA national event.  


Tags: Racing

Arana Jr. Holds on to the #2 Spot in the Points, Runs Top Speed in Sonoma

Posted by Performance Times on Wed, Aug 05, 2015 @ 01:45 PM
Story by Matt Polito

Highlights were few for the S&S-powered bikes at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals as Harley-Davidson rider Eddie Krawiec took the win from the pole position and won the annual Pro Bike Battle all-star event.  Hector Arana Jr. was able to maintain his second spot in the Mello Yello championship points on his Lucas Oil Buell despite going out in the second round with a redlight.  Arana Jr. also held the top speed of the meet at 198.79 mph.

The top S&S-powered qualifier was Chip Ellis on Junior Pippins’s PiranaZ Buell.  Ellis qualified in the fourth position at 6.853 seconds but a broken throttle cable took him out in round one of eliminations.

One bright spot was second-generation rider Melissa Serber from nearby Del Rio, CA.  The 21-year old racer was appearing in only her second NHRA National event on her family’s Kosman-sponsored Buell with power and tuning advice coming from the Junior Pippin camp.  With a career best pass of 7.439 coming into the event, she ran a pair of 7.0 second runs on Friday but was unqualified going into the final session.  Cool under pressure, Serber hit a 6.975 at 189.31 mph to make the field in the 15th position at her home track.  She lost in round one against defending series champ Andrew Hines.


By the semifinals of eliminations number 13 qualifier Scotty Pollacheck was the last S&S bike standing. The Petrohead Apparel Buell got taken out by #1 qualifier Krawiec who then beat the Suzuki of Jerry Savoie to get his second win of the season.

Sonoma also holds the annual Pro Bike Battle, a special event for the top eight riders based on qualifying points for the previous 12 months of racing.  There were four S&S-powered bikes in the elite, eight-bike field but only Hector Arana Jr. made it out of the first round.  The final saw Eddie Krawiec face off with Harley-Davidson teammate Andrew Hines with Krawiec taking the win when Hines hit a redlight foul.

This year’s Pro Bike Battle was marred when the event sponsor pulled out, forcing NHRA to cut the event purse.  The riders contemplated boycotting the event but came to the decision to run the event “for the fans”.

The next event on the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle tour is the Northwest Nationals in Brainerd, MN, August 20-23


Tags: Racing

Arana Jr. Sets Speed Record in Denver, Goes to Final

Posted by Performance Times on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 @ 12:56 PM
By Matt Polito

Hector Arana Jr. figured out the tricky air of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver, setting the track speed record on his Lucas Oil S&S-powered Buell en route to his third final round appearance of the season.

Getting a handle on the rare air of Bandimere Speedway is always a challenge for tuners.  The Lucas Oil team has a pretty good notebook. Arana qualified number one and set the track elapsed time and speed records at Bandimere last season.

The pace was set early this year. In the first session of qualifying, Arana lined up against the Harley-Davidson® of Eddie Krawiec.  Arana spun the tire to a 7.42 but re-set his own track speed record to 187.03 mph as Krawiec set the track ET record with a #1 qualifying shot of 7.169 seconds.

Krawiec wouldn’t get close to his number again but Arana Jr. chipped away at it, taking over the second spot at 7.182 in the last session while upping his speed record to 187.96 mph.

“I knew we had the bike to do well over here,” Arana said. “We have been running strong all season, and we always have a good tune-up for here. Just for whatever reason on Friday, I don’t know if we were too aggressive trying to run even faster or I’m not really sure what, but we spun the tire.”

“We came back in and made some changes”, he continued. “We were a little too soft, so then we bogged off the line, but we got it figured out for today, and that’s all that matters that we have a good tune-up for Sunday.”

His fast times on Saturday earned him a prize unique to the Mile-High Nationals – 500 Colorado Lottery tickets.

In eliminations Arana Jr. got by a couple of Suzuki’s – “6-80 Freddie” Camarena and Steve Johnson – before facing Krawiec in the final.

Arana had the quicker time in the final, 7.230 to 7.239, but Krawiec had a .011 holeshot advantage and took his first win of the season.

"I wanted to win badly, but it was still a good weekend," Arana said. "The bike was running strong. We were the fastest bike all day today. The Harley bike was right there with me, and I knew it was going to come down to the wire."

Krawiec and Arana hold their respective #1 and #2 positions in the Mello Yello championship points with only three races to go until the playoff Countdown field is set.

The next race on the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle tour is the Sonoma Nationals in California July 31- August 2.


Tags: Racing

Arana Jr. Takes NHRA Chicago. Ellis qualifies #1

Posted by Justin Lorraine on Tue, Jul 14, 2015 @ 12:59 PM
Story by Matt Polito

Hector Arana Jr. took his first victory of the season, bringing his Lucas Oil S&S-Powered Buell to a final round win over the Victory Gunner of Matt Smith at the Lucas Oil Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Chicago, IL.  The event also saw Chip Ellis continue his qualifying hot streak, taking the pole on the PiranaZ Buell for the second time in three races.


Ellis set the quick lap of the event on his first hit, recording a 6.856 at 195.68 mph in the first session on Friday. In the next session defending series champ Andrew Hines came close with a 6.88 as Ellis blew a motor in the other lane.

Saturday’s conditions were warm and moist, meaning the quick runs were over for qualifying.  Still, Ellis ran a 6.92 after the motor swap, which was the quick lap of the third session, matched identically by Hines. 

A number of competitors opted not to run the final session as the soupy conditions meant improvement would be nearly impossible.  Rain settled the issue after four pair ran and the field was set.

Ellis has been on a tear in qualifying.  Since Englishtown, he has placed no worse than second in the field, but the team has been hard on equipment and his motor-blowing Q2 run was a (harbinger? Is this a word?) of things to come.

Sunday was hot and sunny and Ellis had a strong run of 6.90 in the first round of eliminations getting by Angie Smith.  He ran a 6.91 in round a round two win over Angelle Sampey but blew the motor in the traps.  Ellis was a no-show for his semifinal matchup with Matt Smith.

Smith, a former two-time series champ, is campaigning a two bike team with wife Angie featuring S&S-Powered Victory Gunners, took the single to make the final – his first final round appearance since Las Vegas last season.

On the other side of the ladder Arana Jr. came out of the sixth qualifying position to beat former champ LE Tonglet in round one, got a holeshot win over the currently very hot Suzuki of Jerry Savoie in round two and then got by a redlighting Chaz Kennedy in the semifinal to make his 16th final round appearance.

Matt Smith got the holeshot in the final but Arana Jr. drove around him 6.91 to 6.95 to take his second straight win at Chicago.

“This is one of my favorite tracks,” said Arana Jr. “They got a fishing hole out back.  Every night we go fishing and then we go racing and it’s a blast.”

“I feel like I put extra pressure on myself because I wanted to repeat at this race,” he continued.  “I got butterflies every time I came up to the line.”

The win was Arana Jr.’s tenth of his career and puts him in second place in the Mello Yello championship points behind Eddie Krawiec.

The next event on the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle series is the Mopar Mile High Nationals in Denver, July 24-26


Tags: Racing

Arana Jr. Earns Pole, Sampey Makes Final in Norwalk

Posted by Justin Lorraine on Tue, Jul 07, 2015 @ 01:24 PM
 Story by Matt Polito

Hector Arana Jr. earned the top qualifying position as Angelle Sampey went to her first final since 2008 at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, OH.


Arana Jr. took the top spot on his Lucas Oil S&S-Powered Pro Stock Buell with a 6.868 at 195.79 mph recorded during Friday’s second session.  Chip Ellis, who turned heads at Englishtown, qualifying on the pole as a substitute rider on Junior Pippin’s Pirana-Z Buell, qualified second at 6.880.  Matt Smith was the next S&S-powered machine on the final qualifying list, taking the fifth spot at 6.928 on his Nitro Fish Victory Gunner.

Sampey started in the 14th position with a 7.037 on her Buell.

It was Arana Jr.’s second #1 qualifying performance of the season and 18th of his career.

“It’s awesome to be out here racing on this big holiday weekend, and we had the perfect paint scheme for it with our red, white, and blue Lucas Oil bike,” said Arana Jr.

“We have a lot of good history at this track,” he continued, noting that he took his first number one qualifying performance at Norwalk and his father won his first-ever national event win at the track.

Eliminations ended abruptly for Arana Jr. as he suffered mechanical problems in round one against Angie Smith.  Sampey, on the other hand, came alive in eliminations with a near-perfect .001 reaction time and 6.89 to earn a holeshot victory over number three qualifier Jerry Savoie who ran a 6.88 in the loss.

Sampey met Ellis in the semifinals and advanced with a holeshot win, 6.94 to Ellis’ quicker 6.91.

That put Angelle in the final against the Suzuki of Karen Stoffer.  The last time they met in a final was the last all-female final in NHRA professional competition, the 2002 Maple Grove, PA, event won by Sampey.


The final was over quickly as Angelle redlit, giving Stoffer her second win of the season.

The next event on the NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock motorcycle series is the Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Chicago, July 9-12.

Tags: Racing

Ellis Takes the Pole, Arana Jr. Sets Track Speed Record

Posted by Justin Lorraine on Tue, Jun 09, 2015 @ 02:36 PM
By Matt Polito

Chip Ellis stunned the Pro Stock Motorcycle field at the NHRA Toyota Summernationals at Englishtown, NJ, coming out of nowhere to take the #1 qualifying position on the Pirana-Z S&S® powered Buell®.  And while Jerry Savoie took the event win on a Suzuki, Hector Arana Jr. set the track speed record on his Lucas Oil Buell.


Three weeks ago Ellis wasn’t even planning on racing at Englishtown. He was called on by Pirana-Z team owner Junior Pippen to help out with Pippen’s new rider, Jeremy Teasley, at the Atlanta event.  When Teasley could not make Atlanta, Pippen asked the veteran Ellis if he wanted to ride the bike.

“I said ‘Heck, yeah, I want to ride!” said Ellis.

Ellis has a rich history in the sport. He earned championships in AMA Dragbike competition in Funnybike, 600 SuperSport and Formula Superbike when he was the Kawasaki factory rider. He also rode the prototype S&S Kosman Buell run by George Smith and George Bryce in 2004.  His last full-time ride in NHRA competition was on the Kuryakyn® Buell of Harry Lartigue in 2011.  The last time he competed was when he filled in for an injured Jerry Savoie in 2013.


Pippen, once a star in the AHDRA, pulled out of full-time racing a few years ago to care for his wife Lisa, who is battling breast cancer.

The newly minted team of Pippen and Ellis qualified 15th at Atlanta and went out in the first round of eliminations but Pippen liked the chemistry and decided to have Ellis ride at the Englishtown event.

Englishtown didn’t start out well for them. They hurt their #1 motor during qualifying on Friday and had to put in the backup bullet for the first session on Saturday.  Ellis ripped a 6.801 at 197 mph to go to the top of the list.  A strong run for sure but most of the fast bikes still had two qualifying laps in front of them.

“I thought if we ran that fast someone would run even faster and gone past us,” said Ellis.  “There are too many good bikes out there.”

As it turned out all those good bikes couldn’t catch the pink Buell.  Savoie came close, running 6.084 at 197.13 mph to take the second spot. It was Ellis’ first number one qualifying performance since Memphis in 2009.

Hector Arana locked in the third spot at 6.815, setting a new Englishtown Raceway Park track speed record at 199.35 mph on the S&S powered Lucas Oil Buell.  He only held the track record for about two hours as his son, Hector Jr. re-set the record on his own S&S powered Buell at 199.37 mph in the final session.

Ellis went from basking in the glow of the #1 qualifier parade to a mad thrash on Sunday morning when the team went to warm up the motor prior to eliminations only to discover a scuffed piston.  They pieced together a working motor from the two broke units and just made the first round call where Ellis got by Angie Smith with a 6.87.  The party was over in round two when the bike refused to turn over in the burnout box.

Meanwhile all eyes were on the Arana’s as they looked to have a shot at cracking the 200 mph barrier. Sunday’s warm temperatures and slight headwind conspired against them and they were off the torrid pace from Saturday.   Both ran 197 mph when they faced each other in round two with Jr. taking the win.  A round later Hector Jr. redlit against the eventual winner, Savoie.


Savoie tore it up in eliminations.  He became the first Suzuki® rider to run under 6.80 seconds and did it three times in a row, with a best of 6.785. His win over Jimmy Underdahl’s Suzuki was his second career win.

There is no question that the Suzuki’s are running hot this season and there is a thought that the NHRA’s new fuel mandate, switching from VP C-25 to Sunoco SR18 favors the inline four cylinder bikes. Four of the top eight qualifiers were Suzuki’s and it was the first all-Suzuki final in almost four years.

The next event on the NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle tour is the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Norwalk, OH, July 2-5.


Tags: Racing

Hector Arana Ends Drought With Atlanta Win

Posted by Justin Lorraine on Tue, May 19, 2015 @ 12:16 PM
Story by Matt Polito

Back when Hector Arana won the NHRA event in Dallas en route to his first and only NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Championship in 2009, no one would have guessed that it would take over five years before he won his next national event.


After making the final round 11 times since his last win, Arana strode into the winners circle after riding his Lucas Oil S&S-powered Buell to a final round victory over the Harley-Davidson of Eddie Krawiec at the Summit Racing Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

“I never gave up, I kept going forward,” said Arana. “I know I struggled but I never gave up hope.”

After opening the season on a new EBR-bodied racebike, Arana quickly switched back to his trusty Buell when handling problems became apparent on the new machine.

In Atlanta he was solidly in the top half of the field throughout qualifying and ended up in the seventh spot at 6.909 seconds, 195.62 mph.

Leading the Southern Nationals field was Gainesville winner Karen Stoffer with a 6.875 at 195.59 mph on her Suzuki followed by the Suzuki of Jimmy Underdahl at 6.880/195.85. It was the first time Suzuki’s qualified 1-2 since the 2011 edition of the Southern Nationals.

Following the Suzuki’s were a pair of S&S-powered Buells with Hector Arana, Jr. taking the third spot at 6.89/196 on his Lucas Oil Buell and Angelle Sampey on her Buell qualifying fourth at 6.89/194.

Arana had a hard road during eliminations, first taking out defending series champion Andrew Hines on his H-D V-Rod and then number two qualifier, Underdahl, with a pair of identical 6.915s.

In the semifinals Arana met his son, Hector Jr. who schooled him on the tree, jumping out to a big holeshot, but struggled downtrack. The elder Arana took the win with a 6.93 to make is 21st final round.

The final looked like it would be over quickly has Krawiec got the holeshot as Arana launched toward the center line. Arana made a hard correction as Krawiec suffered mechanical problems and shut off. Arana kept the bike in the lane and took the win light with an off-pace run of 7.32 seconds.

“I felt the bike jump like a bronco out there so I pulled it to the right and I kept going,” said Arana of the final. “I am not giving up until he is way in front of me and I can’t keep up. You keep riding. As long as I had control of the motorcycle I’m staying in it.”

The win was his seventh career victory.


“You don’t know what it means to be to be back in the winners circle,” he continued. “There were moments when I had doubts. I didn’t have the best bike and your confidence gets low. I knew I could keep winning, I just had to believe in myself.”

With the win, Arana moved up to third place in the Mello Yello championship points. Their rivalry with the Harley team is in full swing with Krawiec and Hines being 1 and 2 and father and son Arana at 3 and 4.

“The biggest rivalry out here is between the Harleys and the Arana’s,” said the elder Arana. “It’s awesome and I love it because it gives us fuel to keep on working.”

With the taste of victory, Arana is driven even harder to find that elusive horsepower.

“I want more,” he said. “I want to dominate and win all the races. That is when I will feel like I have enough power.”

The next event on the NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle championship tour is the Toyota Summernationals at Englishtown, NJ, June 4-7.

Tags: Racing

Join The S&S Cycle Race Team

Posted by Performance Times on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 @ 04:04 PM


S&S Cycle is known for racing heritage as well as vast performance products from intakes and exhaust, all the way to complete engines that compete in the NHRA Pro-Stock motorcycle class.

That being said, we are looking for someone with initiative, commitment and a desire to make history! We are hiring a full-time apprentice level race engine builder to be a part of our Viola, Wisconsin product development facility.


  • Planning, fabrication, machining, assembly, testing and documentation of engine builds
  • Working with project teams to create and develop racing products
  • Race support travel as needed


  • Experience with shop tools and engine assembly/tear down
  • Flexible, energetic, forward-thinking, and creative
  • High analytical ability, good judgment, and strong operational focus
  • Well organized and self-directed
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Working knowledge of computer applications
  • Good driving record
  • High school diploma or equivalent, also prefer a two year technical degree with emphasis in powersports industry

If you seek the challenge to work in the high-pressure environment of competitive racing, contact No phone calls please.


Tags: Racing

Note: S&S Cycle, Inc technical department doesn't monitor this blog's comment section. If you have a technical question, please click here.