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Feb 24, 2001

Troubles At Harley VR1000 Road Race Team Not Scheibe's Fault, And New Structure Destined To Fail, Insider Says

The Harley-Davidson VR1000 project's seven-year-long struggle without reaching competitive status in the AMA Superbike Championship was caused by a lack of funding and support from Harley-Davidson, Inc., according to a team insider incensed that former project leader Steve Scheibe is being blamed for the project's lack of results.<BR><BR>The way an associate of Scheibe explained it, the VR1000 was on the verge of being cancelled every year since its inception, and was revived before the start of each season only by Scheibe's herculean efforts. And now, when the project has finally gotten the funding it needs and is set up for greatness, new management has farmed out engine development and building to Cosworth and thwarted the project's chance of success, said the associate, who added "Here this guy (Scheibe)has been pulling this old bus down the road for seven years and he finally gets it started and it runs him over. He had the team set up where it finally had what it needed, and it was going to be competitive in six months. After that it was going to run away from everybody because nobody else would be able to react as quickly as it could. That team has guys there that could build a complete car chassis from scratch in six months if they wanted to. That's the kind of capability they have here now."<BR><BR>According to the associate, Scheibe was under-funded to the tune of $400,000 per year for what he was trying to accomplish.<BR><BR>The associate also said that reports that Scheibe said the 60-degree VR1000 engine could never be competitive and asked for funding to design a new 90-degree V-Twin were untrue, as were reports that Scheibe told senior Harley-Davidson managers that rider input could not be trusted, and should be ignored in favor of data acquisition and Scheibe's personal experience riding the VR1000.<BR><BR>Those reports, published in the March issue of Roadracing World, were based on what former team members and a current senior-level manager at Harley-Davidson said in not-for-attribution interviews with Roadracing World reporters. Information from those sources had proven reliable in previous instances.<BR><BR>A Harley-Davidson spokesman could not be reached at post time to to comment on the original Roadracing World report and on the Scheibe associate's allegations.
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