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Jun 7, 2001

Fire At Road Atlanta Didn't Kill Mike Smith's VR1000

With one lap remaining in the second Superbike race at Road Atlanta May 20, Harley-Davidson''s Mike Smith was running well inside the top 10 when he crashed coming under the turn 11 bridge. Smith''s VR1000 Superbike slid on its side, tore a hole in its fuel tank as it skipped over the outside curbing, and traveled all the way to the old pit lane entrance road where metal parts on the bike sparked on the pavement and ignited the spilled race fuel.<BR><BR>With Smith at a safe distance, his Harley-Davidson Superbike burst into a huge ball of fire.<BR><BR>To Smith and the Harley crew, it may have seemed like the bike burned for an eternity but the fire more likely lasted about two minutes before safety crews extinguished the flames.<BR><BR>Many people thought that the bike was a complete <BR>write-off, but Smith''s machine was back in service Thursday, June 7 at Road America. According to Harley-Davidson''s Communications Manager Paul James, only the fuel tank/bodywork, wiring harness, and rubber hoses had to be <BR>replaced. The bike was cleaned and a fresh engine installed before Smith rode the Superbike in promoter practice Thursday at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.