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Wanna win a World Championship on my Harley??

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' started by rc36, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. Walter Villa DID, in fact, he won 4!!!

    In 1974, 75 & 76 he won the 250cc World Championship and in 1976 he also won the 350cc Championship.

    On a Harley???


    Well, sort of.

    In the early 1970's in order to have some bikes that could compete in the American market with the flood of Japanese imports that were arriving, Harley Davidson sought a means of marketing smaller, more appealing bikes.

    They found the solution in buying a 50% controlling interest in the struggling Aermacchi company in Italy, and began importing some of its range into America (without a great deal of success, it should be noted)

    A strange and bizzare by-product of this alliance was that the 250cc and 350cc Grand Prix bikes that were previously badged Aermacchi, we re-badged Harley Davidson.

    In the hands of the brilliant Villa, they won 4 World Titles. The bikes were, engine-wise, an almost exact copy of the Yamaha 250cc twin, but frame-wise, they were superior.


    Walter Villa in the pits in 1975 with a 250cc Harley


    The bike in colour with it's very attractive fairing fitted.


    Close up of a 1974 bike without fairing showing the delightful drum brake front end.

    These were the bikes that were brought to Australia by Villa and his team for the 1976 Australian TT at Laverton Air Force Base. From memory, Villa won both the 250cc and the 350cc race at that meeting. Two of the bikes, a 250cc and a 350cc, stayed here and were campaigned with great success by Steve Trinder from Albury in the mid-to late 1970's