Victory Motorcycles is entering professional drag racing, signing the husband-and-wife team of Matt and Angie Smith.
Matt Smith is a two-time champion in the National Hot Rod Association’s Pro Stock Motorcycle class. He finished fourth overall last year; Angie was ninth overall.
The Smiths will run a modified Victory Gunner, with bodywork designed for drag racing. It won’t be powered by Victory’s Freedom 106 motor, though; the Smiths will be using an S&S motor in their machines. Really, the machine will be more a Victory in name, than anything, as it’s going to be significantly different from what customers get when they purchase a Gunner off showroom floors. But, that’s the way drag racing works.
Signing the husband-and-wife team is definitely a savvy move; a racing family is always good for publicity, and having a woman on the team is likely good for attracting both male and female fans.
It’s also good for Victory to get involved with some sort of go-fast endeavour, as competitor Harley-Davidson has gone to great lengths to stay involved with drag racing by building the Destroyer, and also roadracing until fairly recently, with the XR1200 spec series. While those bikes might not have been competitive with a modern superbike, the XR1200 series showed the MoCo paid lip service to speed at least, and their V-Rod-based drag bikes are still tearing up drag strips around the country. It would be very cool to see Victory build their own drag bike in the future, although this announcement certainly doesn’t hint at any such move anytime soon, especially since they’re not even using their own motor in this bike.
However – there have been rumours of a new liquid-cooled Victory for some time now, and if this year’s NHRA experiment is a success, perhaps we’ll see that motor dropped into a drag racing chassis that will give the Destroyer a run for its money.