Dec 11, 2001
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Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>Buell American Motorcycle Company is at Daytona International Speedway with two testing agendas. After running 2001-spec Buell X-1-based Pro Thunder racebikes Monday, December 10, Buell's 2003-model Buell Firebolt XB9R arrived at Daytona Tuesday in both Pro Thunder and Lightning Series specifications.<BR><BR>As for the Pro Thunder racers, the bikes have received no serious changes from when the bike first appeared at the 2001 Pro Thunder series finale at Road Atlanta. The Pro Thunder bikes may not be called that for long, however.<BR><BR>Speaking at the International Cycle Show in Long Beach, California on Saturday, Buell Communications Manager Paul James said that the company had not decided if it is going to continue to sponsor the AMA Pro Thunder class, if it is going to have Buell-supported teams in AMA Pro Thunder, have Buell-supported teams in AMA 750cc Supersport or if the company will have any involvement in AMA Pro Racing at all. James said that decisions would hopefully be made before the holidays.<BR><BR>What James did know is that the Buell Lightning Series will continue as part of the 2002 Formula USA National Road Race Series. To that end, Buell brought Richie Morris' 2001 Buell Lightning racebike along with a nearly stock Buell Firebolt XB9R racer. Buell officials are trying to determine where to put the horsepower limit for the better-handling XB9R so that it can compete directly against the heavier, 95-horsepower-limited Buell Lightnings in the series.<BR><BR>The Firebolt that Tripp Nobles ran Tuesday morning at Daytona was equipped with what will become the official upper and lower race fairings, a racing exhaust system, a modified ECM, a chain drive conversion, a Penkse shock and a steering damper. Buell representatives said that the bike's rear-wheel horsepower output went from approximately 80 to 90 with just the exhaust and re-mapping. Nobles' best time on the undergeared Firebolt was a 2:10.972, well off a competitive Buell Lightning time at Daytona.<BR>