Pictures and text by Matt Polito
Hector Arana Jr. kept his win streak alive on his S&S-powered Lucas Oil Buell with a win at the NHRA O’Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas.
Arana Jr., the 2011 NHRA Rookie of the Year, scored his third straight win with a final round victory over Scotty Pollacheck in an all-S&S-powered final, 6.91 to 6.98.
Having won the opening event in Gainesville, Arana Jr. is now undefeated this season. Houston was his sixth career victory.
ESPN “Stat Guy” Lewis Bloom notes that 3 race wins in a row has been accomplished many times in the motorcycle class (Dave Shultz holds the mark of most PSM wins in a row at 8) but, adds Bloom, “Starting the season with three wins is pretty rare. Dave Shultz started the 1991 season with 4 wins in a row and Matt Hines won the first three in 1998. Hector Jr. is now only the third person to open an NHRA season with three wins in a row in Pro Stock Motorcycle.”
More interestingly, Bloom noted, is that it took Arana Jr. only 36 NHRA event starts to earn his sixth win. It took his father 228 races to garner his sixth event title.
Rain in Houston cut qualifying short to three sessions. Arana Jr. took the #1 position for the second race in a row with a run of 6.876 second at 195.39 mph. Second in qualifying was Pollacheck on the Sovereign/Star Racing S&S-powered Buell at 6.89/191 followed by Andrew Hines on the Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod at 6.90/193.
In all, S&S-powered bikes accounted for six of the top eight qualifiers and a total of nine entries in the 16-bike field.
There were nothing but S&S-powered bikes left in the field by the semifinals on Sunday with Arana Jr. taking out the Viper Motorcycle Buell of John Hall 6.92 to 6.95, and Pollacheck getting past his teammate Michael Ray when Ray hit a red light foul.
The Houston event marked the debut of the new S&S cam chest for the Pro Stock motors. Four were delivered prior to the event but only Matt Smith confirmed that he had installed it on his competition bike.
The cam chest is an upgrade, which allows larger cams, bigger cam bearings, more robust gears and shorter pushrods.
Smith, noting that he went out of competition with a transmission problem for the third race in a row, feels the piece will be a valuable upgrade.
“With the rain and the bike not shifting I have not been able to give the cam chest a proper test,” said Smith. “But I think they will improve reliability and the will allow us to experiment with higher lift cams and different rocker arm geometry.”
Arana Jr. widened his points lead and now leads second-place Pollacheck by 118 points. S&S-powered entries account for the top four places with Pollacheck followed by Hall at 188 points back and Hector Arana Sr. at 201 points back.
Text and photos by Matt Polito
S&S power continued to dominate the NHRA Mello Yellow Pro Stock Motorcycle drag racing series with Hector Arana, Jr. taking his second-straight win of the season on his S&S-Powered Lucas Oil Buell at the Dollar General Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Four-Wide Nationals is unique on the series as zMAX Dragway has four racing lanes. At all other NHRA National events two riders face off in a round of competition with the winner advancing to the next round. At the Four-Wide, four racers face off simultaneously with the two riders crossing the finish line first advancing to the next round. Each set of four riders is known as a “quad”.
Along with the race win, Arana, Jr. earned top qualifier honors with a run of 6.826 seconds at 195.19 mph. Following him on the qualifying sheets were Scotty Pollacheck on the Sovereign/Star Racing Buell with a run of 6.834 seconds at 193 mph and Matt Smith on the Viper Motorcycle Buell at 6.837/194.
S&S-Powered Buells have never been more dominant in a qualifying performance than at Charlotte, accounting for the top six qualifiers and a total of 11 bikes in the field of 16.
Pollacheck made the quickest pass of the event in the first round of eliminations at 6.818 seconds, 194 mph. Pollacheck survived his second round quad and advance to the final when Matt Smith, who was leading all four bikes in that quad, broke a transmission for second straight race.
The race format can have interesting outcomes as Arana Jr. faced defending series champ Eddie Krawiec in all three rounds including the final. Krawiec, running the Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod, qualified in the 16th and last position at 6.97 seconds.
Krawiec used a holeshot to cross the line ahead of Arana Jr. in their first round quad but Arana Jr. used superior performances to beat Krawiec in the next two rounds. In the final Krawiec got a slight holeshot but Arana Jr. powered past the Harley for his fifth career victory, 6.89 to Krawiec’s 6.92. Pollacheck came in third in the final quad with a 6.94 and Jim Underdahl, riding the Bad Boy Buggies Suzuki was fourth, also with a 6.94.
With two races in the books in the 2013 NHRA PSM season Arana Jr. is undefeated, winning both events.
“I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those years,” Arana Jr. said. “Everything so far has fallen into place for me.”
Text and photos by Matt Polito
The NHRA drag racing series has a new name and the Pro Stock Motorcycle division looks to be the most competitive it has been in years.
The 2013 Mello Yellow NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle series kicked off in Gainesville, FL, with the Amalie Oil Gatornationals. S&S-powered entries led the way with Matt Smith qualifying in the number one position and Hector Arana Jr. taking the event win.
The big news in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racing for 2013 is new rule changes, which look to bring parity back into the class. Previously, the Harley-Davidson V-Rods were allowed to run 4-valve, overhead cam engines while S&S motors were limited to pushrod-activated 2-valve heads. Now all V-Twin motors must run 2-valve heads with rocker arms and a minimum pushrod length of 8 inches.
George Bryce, who with S&S Cycle's George Smith was instrumental in developing the S&S-Powered Kosman Buells for NHRA competition back in 2002, was the driving force in getting the rule change.
"It was unfair for one team to run an overhead cam on a V-twin engine while the S&S-Powered Buells were using pushrods," stated Bryce. "These new rules will level the playing field. The competition will be closer and one team will not dominate."
The other big news in the off-season was the addition of a third Arana now in the mix. Adam Arana made his PSM debut alongside father and former champ Hector Arana and his brother, 2011 NHRA Rookie of the Year, Hector Jr.
Adam Arana made his career debut in Gainesville and qualified for the field.
At Gainesville Matt Smith qualified number one with a strong 6.804 elapsed time at 197 mph. Hector Arana Jr. and Sr. placed second and third, within one thousandth of second of Smith's performance, with identical 6.805s.
In addition to the top three seeds, S&S-powered Buells accounted for six of the top eight entries and over half – nine – of the 16 qualified bikes. The field, anchored by Chip Ellis at 6.910, was the quickest in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racing history.
Three S&S-powered bikes made the semifinals where Scotty Pollacheck of the Sovereign/Star Racing team lost to the resurgent Suzuki of Steve Johnson, 6.84 to 6.88 and the father and son Aranas battling it out with the younger Arana getting the best of his dad with a holeshot win, 6.849 to Sr.'s quicker 6.844. Number one qualifier Smith went out in round two when his bike would not shift.
Hector Arana Jr. (far lane) goes head to head with his father and former champion,
Hector Arana in the semi finals.
Hector Arana Jr. in the Gainesville winner's circle
Arana Jr., appearing in his ninth final, took the holeshot over Johnson and pulled away for the win, running 6.88 to Johnson's 6.909 for his fourth career victory.
"To grab the race win for Team Arana and Lucas Oil is a big accomplishment and it proves that having a third bike isn't going to slow us down, but actually speeds us up," said Arana Jr.
In addition to closer competition this year, 2013 may see a change to the face of Pro Stock Motorcycle drag racing. Currently two different teams are working to bring two new brands of bikes into NHRA Mello Yellow drag racing, both to be powered by S&S engines.
Riding for Viper Motorcycle will be (L to R) team owner Matt Smith, John Hall and Angie Smith.
The first is Viper Motorcycle of Auburn, AL. Viper, who makes high-end cruiser motorcycles, currently sponsors the Matt Smith Racing team and is working with NHRA to make a competition body for their new model to be released this year (currently code named Mamba). Eventually the team plans to develop a new viper-specific chassis for the racing bikes.
The other effort is being spearheaded by George Bryce and will use an EBR 1190RS as a template. EBR is a new motorcycle company started by Erik Buell. The 1190RS has been called "a street legal roadrace bike" and only 100 will be made.
With closer competition, new young riders and new motorcycle brands entering competition, the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle series is looking better than ever. S&S is proud to be an integral part of this truly American racing sport.
Exciting news in the world of Land Speed Racing: Chris Rivas is the first person to push a "bagger" over 200mph!
That's right, a bagger. (No rocket propulsion necessary. Just good ol' American made S&S horsepower.) With the offices at S&S HQ all a-buzz with the news, we called up Chris and wanted to ask him a few questions about his achievement to share with everybody. Here's what "The Rocket" had to say:S&S:
First of all, Congratulations on the world record! Can you tell us a little about it?Rivas:
Nothing about this accomplishment has come easy. For three years I have fought every part of this bike from chassis geometry to catastrophic engine and transmission failures. With all of the runs we have made at Bonneville we have not been able to get a good baseline for the tuning because of every other issue that pops up. Finally with the help of George Smith we were able to "tone down the tuning efforts" and find a baseline to run with. S&S:
The class you rode in is called APS-AG. What does that really mean?Rivas:
The official class designation is 3000 APS-PG. The motor has to measure between 2001cc and 3000cc to be legal. The "A" implies an Aftermarket Chassis. The PS signifies that there is partial streamlining body work in place. The PG means that the motor uses pushrods and runs on Gasoline.S&S:
It is the world's fastest bagger and the first bagger ever to break 200mph. Why was this accomplishment important to you?Rivas:
In the racing world there aren't too many barriers left to be broken and I know that S&S has been instrumental in breaking many barriers such as the first Top Fuel Bike to break 200. I think there is a possibility that someone else someday might also go over 200 on a bagger but there will only be one first and that is what I wanted for me and my business. Chris Rivas V-Twin has had a strong relationship with S&S Cycle for about eight years, and now we are building a great working relationship with Crane Cams. I truly believe that accomplishing these milestone goals together that can never be taken away is huge in our industry and allows us to service customers with a higher quality in mind. S&S:
How long have you been working toward breaking this record? Can you give us a little history?Rivas:
For three years now, we have been seriously trying for the 200 mph goal. I had a conversation with Carl Brouhard about building an aerodynamic Road Glide for Bonneville and he was excited to help. With his body and paint expertise Carl was able to take an idea and make it into a reality, what we know now is the design was not the hardest part. S&S Cycle provided the motor parts and the 167 inch motor is button start and has amazing power. The seemingly impossible task is to make all of the components work together in harmony at peak performance in the harshest conditions in North America. S&S:
It must take a lot of power to push a full dress, button start motorcycle on gasoline over 200 mph. How did you accomplish that? Rivas:
Our motor is a 167Cubic Inch S&S Cast Aluminum Pro Stock Twin Cam design that puts out about 250 HP. I ordered all of the parts from S&S Cycle including a special set of Easy Start Cams
, and completed the machine work and assembly at my shop, Chris Rivas V-Twin
in Fresno CA. The great thing about this combination is that we can use this same technology and the same high quality S&S Cycle and Crane Cams components for our everyday customers when we install big bore and stroker kits into their street driven bikes. S&S:
I hear the chassis and the fairing played an important part. Can you explain how?Rivas:
When we first received the chassis and put this bike together with the fairing in place, I took it out to the 2010 SCTA Speed Week and found out the hard way that the front end geometry was all wrong. On the first pass I experienced the worst front end wobble of my life and head shake that ended up throwing me off at about 130 mph.S&S:
Well that is a lesson that I'm glad you only had to learn once! Now that the bike is in a safer condition, what is your ultimate goal with this bike?Rivas:
With the data that we have received from this bike, and with the help of George Smith we know that in the right conditions it will go about 220 Mph.
Chris Rivas and George B. Smith
I understand that George B. Smith from S&S was out there. I know George has a love for the salt and he was out at Bonneville with you before
. Did he have any good advice for you this time around? Rivas:
George was instrumental in my success at Bonneville. Just as he was instrumental in my success in the NHRA racing Pro Stock Motorcycles. So I knew that when I started my Land Speed attempts I wanted George involved in the project. George has been a mentor to me for a number of years, not only in my racing career, but also in my business. With George's guidance and some assistance from the new CEO of S&S Cycle, Steve Iggens, Chris Rivas V-Twin has recently had the opportunity to partner with Crane Cams and develop a couple of new cam grinds. The Chris Rivas Signature Series Rocket Cams
are now available to the public and have been some of the best cams ever tested at our dyno facility.
Watch Chris Rivas NHRA victory in Pomona 2008
Are you coming back for the BUB meet
in 2 weeks?Rivas:
Yes, we plan on freshening up the motor at our shop in Fresno and heading back out to the salt at the BUB's Speed Trials where I hold the record for the class at 193 mph from last year. I hope to up the record to something that starts with a "2".And so do we, Chris. We tip our hat to you in respect and wish you the best of luck. We are rooting for you.
Photos and commentary by Matt Polito
S&S was once again a force in the chase for the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship in 2011. Led by the Lucas Oil Team and rookie sensation Hector Arana Jr., S&S-Powered Buells amassed some enviable accomplishment in the premier motorcycle drag racing series.
Arana Jr. joined his father, 2009 NHRA PSM champion Hector Arana Sr., on a two-bike team this season and put himself in position to challenge for the championship. In the end he could not overcome a strong finish by Harley-Davidson® rider Eddie Krawiec, who claimed his second #1 plate.
Hector Arana Jr. had a sensational year in his rookie season of NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racing. Arana Jr. took the number one qualifying position in seven events and scored three wins in five final round appearances.
Arana Jr. would finish second to Krawiec in the championship points and was awarded the prestigious Auto Club Road to the Future Award – NHRA’s Rookie of the year honor - beating out eight other eligible professional rookie racers.
Arana Jr. had a disappointing start, failing to qualify at the season-opening Gator Nationals at Gainesville, but he took the pole four races later at Norwalk – the place where his father won his first-ever NHRA event in 2008.
Arana Jr.s first-ever win came at the prestigious NHRA Mac Tools US Nationals at Indianapolis.
In all, Arana Jr. qualified on the pole in seven events and had 3 wins in five final round appearances. He took his first-ever event title at the prestigious NHRA Mac Tools US Nationals at Indianapolis.
"Overall, it was a good season, being that it was my rookie year, first time out," said Arana Jr. "I can't wait to get back to the shop, find some power, come back and show these guys who's boss. I've got a full season underneath my belt. Those last several runs, I felt like I was making perfect runs. I'm ready to go to Gainesville and start from the beginning."
Hector Arana Sr, who won the 2009 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship, set a new elapsed time record of 6.777 seconds in 2011.
His father, Hector Sr., did not win an event this season but qualified on the pole at two events and set the elapsed time national record at 6.777 seconds in Gainesville. The record remained unchallenged for the rest of the season.
Combining the Arana’s #1 qualifying performances, S&S-powered Buells took nine poles in the 16-race NHRA schedule.
Matt Smith, who brought a Buell to its first championship in 2007, went to three finals in 2011, winning at Englishtown. Smith finished the season in the fourth position.
2007 NHRA PSM championship Matt Smith took one event win in three final round appearances and held the number 4 spot in the championship points in 2011.
Chip Ellis got back on an S&S-powered Buell this season and went to the final at Chicago.
Rejoining the S&S-powered riders this year was Chip Ellis, riding the new Kuryakyn Buell of veteran owner Harry Lartigue.
Ellis has a rich history on the Buell’s, taking the prototype G2 machine to its first-ever pole at the US Nationals in 2004. He then ran the Drag Specialties Buell of George Smith and George Bryce for three seasons, finishing in the top five every year.
This year Ellis went to the final at the Chicago event but failed to make the top ten cutoff for NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship.
Lartigue stated that the team would compete again in Kuryakyn colors in 2012
2011 marked the sixth straight year that S&S-powered Buells accounted for two of the top five points earners in the NHRA series. In that time two championships were won on S&S-powered Buells, Smith in 2007 and Arana Sr. in 2009.
George B. Smith commented on the season, stating, “I am really proud of the talent, hard work and dedication of the riders, the tuners and their teams. Our technology is available to everyone and we have to race against technology that is only available to the Harley-Davidson® factory team. We built this engine as an alternative that would change the face of NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle drag racing. With the efforts of the racers, we were able to do that.”
Another exciting weekend of NHRA racing concluded at the Arizona Nationals in Chandler, AZ near Phoenix. Here at S&S we are particularly excited about the performance of Hector Arana and his son Hector Arana Jr. on their S&S Powered Buell® drag bikes.
The big news is that Hector Jr. won the event in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. This is the second win in a row for Hector Jr. and the third this season. Jr. has been on a hot streak, reaching the finals in four of the last five races. Son and father qualified one and two for this event. Hector Jr.’s number 1 qualifier was his third in a row and sixth of the season, giving him the track record for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class.
In the final Hector Jr. cut a perfect light with a 0.000 reaction time and ran a 6.884 ET at 194.30 mph, beating national points leader Eddie Krewiek and his Vance and Hines V-Rod®. As a result of his performance at this event Hector Jr. now trails Krewiek by only 10 points. Hector Sr. is 9th in the points standings. Because this is Hector Jr.’s first year of competition, his performance at the Arizona Nationals is a positive step towards winning the Auto Club Road to the Future Award given to NHRA's top rookie.
The remaining two NHRA events, Las Vegas and the finals in Pomona, will determine the national championship. Hector Jr. is in the thick of the race and could walk away with the title this year. Stay tuned for some very exciting drag racing!
Hector Arana Jr.
(October 3 Reading, PA) Hector Arana Jr. rode his S&S powered Lucas Oil Buell to the winner's circle in the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle class at the Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, PA. The finals for that event took place on Monday October 3 because the race was rained out on Sunday.
Out of nineteen entries in the class, eight were powered by the S&S 160 cid Pro Stock engine. Seven of those eight S&S powered bikes qualified with Matt Smith and Hector Arana Jr. making it to the final eliminations. Both riders were super hot and overcame all contenders until the final round when Hector Jr. took the race. In that round Arana's 6.781 second - 195.82 mph run narrowly beat Smith's 6.795 second - 194.24 mph effort. Both riders were very close to the class national record of 6.777 seconds held by Hector Arana Sr. on his S&S powered Lucas Oil Buell, making it the quickest side by side drag race in the history of the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle class!
Winning this race puts Hector Jr. in second place in the points standings, 35 points behind the #1 rider Eddie Krawiec. As the runner up, Matt Smith moves up to third place
Photos taken by Matt Polito
Hector Jr. with his mother and father (Hector Sr.)
35 points behind Arana. Advancing this far in the highly competitive NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle class is a great achievement for a rookie rider like Hector Jr. so it will be interesting to see how he finishes the season. Matt Smith is a veteran Pro Stock racer, being the first rider to win an NHRA championship on an S&S powered Buell in 2007. There are still three races left so it is possible that either of these guys could take the championship. Or not. That's racing!
V-twins have dominated the NHRA Pro Stock class since 2004, winning national championships until last year (2010) when Louis Tonglet won on a Suzuki. In the US Nationals this year at Indianapolis 27 bikes entered the field, and of the 16 who qualified, 8 were S&S powered Buells, demonstrating the S&S “Proven Performance” the company has been known for. There is a good chance that a v-twin will win again in 2011, since 4 of the top 5 bikes in the points race are v-twins. Here at S&S we're rooting for Hector and Matt, but it's not over until you know who sings!