We're pleased to announce that Vance & Hines Motorsports have come on board as a site sponsor. For those of you that only ride the street, you may think we're talking about the Vance & Hines you're familiar with, but we're not... we're talking about Vance & Hines Motorsports, the division of the company which heads up their Raceshop.
We're positive that their input and extensive race knowledge will help further this community and benefit you, the rider! Make sure you check out their extensive line of products including their new ZX-14 Indy Series exhaust.
Background about Vance & Hines Motorsports....
When you ask Byron Hines what he is most proud of regarding his lengthy career in the motorcycle industry, you might think it has something to do with winning. In fact, it has everything to do with winning. But it's not just the 24 national event wins he guided Terry Vance to before aiding his oldest son Matt to 30 victories and three NHRA® POWERade® Pro Stock Motorcycle championships that are testament to it. It is his never ending quest for the next win. Most recently, Byron's youngest son Andrew Hines has captured two consecutive Pro Stock Motorcycle Championships in 2004 and 2005 to continue the winning tradition.
What's most impressive is the fact that the victories and championships have been earned regularly since Hines teamed up with Vance in the 1970s. "To be able to manage and survive and at the same time be competitive over such a long period of time is something I take a lot of pride in," Hines said. "We have worked extraordinarily hard to be able to compete at the level we do year in and year out. Over the course of several decades we've had some great people in key places and for this group to work together as well as they do, and still maintain such a high level of success, is an amazing thing."
The legacy of Vance & Hines began when Byron Hines and Terry Vance teamed up shortly after Hines returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam. Hines served as an aircraft technician during the war between 1969-'71. When he returned, he and Vance started what was to become one of the most successful and recognizable names in the motorcycle racing industry. The two had been friends and bracket racing opponents during their youth and it didn't take long to realize they each brought necessary skills to the business table. They also had skill on the racetrack. By 1980 Vance & Hines was formed and the company started building race engines before adding their now-famous line of exhaust systems for drag racing entries as well as street bikes. Including his sole event victory at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kansas. In 1992 as a rider, Hines has logged 59 national event victories and four championships as a team owner and crew chief. The winning tradition started with Vance early in their careers and success has followed.
Following the success of Terry Vance, Matt Hines started his racing career wanting to play a larger role in his father's business. In seven seasons of competition, Hines - at age 25 - became the youngest champion in NHRA history when he earned the first of three titles in 1997. Hines was also the first rider in history to win three consecutive championships. In those seven seasons Hines earned 44 No. 1 qualifying awards to go along with the 30 victories in 47 final round appearances. Hines finished with an astounding .781 winning percentage, qualified for every event and never finished outside the top three in the final point standings each season. Hines retired as a rider following the 2002 season to become a technical consultant on the newly formed Harley-Davidson squad.
"What my dad and Terry have done throughout their careers is amazing," Hines said. "The industry changes so much and so quickly at that. For them to constantly be competitive is a tribute to the Vance & Hines name. I'm always impressed with what my dad comes up with to stay at the head of the pack in Pro Stock Motorcycle racing."
"When I decided to retire I was motivated to work with my dad on the new Harleys. I want to stay in the racing business for the long run and I can't imagine not working side-by-side with my dad."
When Harley-Davidson went looking for a team to lead it's Screamin' Eagle® drag racing program, they went straight to the top of the motorcycle racing industry. Byron Hines agreed to take Harley-Davidson back into the racing spotlight and the result came in the form of a V-Rod entry in 2002. With young rider GT Tonglet, the debut of the first factory-backed Harley-Davidson was less than satisfactory for all parties involved. The team failed to qualify in each of the seven events they attended - something Hines worked night and day to change. It didn't take long for Hines to turn the team around. By 2003 they added Andrew to form the two-bike squad. A complete turnaround was in the making. Tonglet and Hines each made an appearance in a final round. Tonglet added the first No. 1 qualifying position for a Harley (Denver 2003) and both riders finished in the top 10 of the final standings.
"The 2002 season was frustrating for everyone involved because we all had higher expectations," Tonglet said. "But I never got too down because I knew the Vance & Hines team was the only team that could find a way to make the motorcycles competitive in a short amount of time. Byron is incredibly talented and I knew it was just going to be a matter of time before we got the V-Rods qualified and in winner's circle." It didn't take long at all.
The 2004 season started with a major move for the Vance & Hines Motorsports "Race Shop" headquarters. The shop moved from Trinidad, Colorado to a 20,000-square-foot facility in Brownsburg, Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis. The move was the first of several successful adventures that year. Andrew Hines got off to a blazing start in Pro Stock Motorcycle competition. Hines captured the No. 1 qualifying award eight times during the season including five of the first six races of the year. More importantly, Hines took Harley-Davidson to its first victory in factory history. During the March 2004 Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida, Hines and Tonglet faced off in the first all-Harley final. Hines took the victory. It was the first of three wins for Hines en route to the 2004 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle championship. Tonglet finished sixth; giving the two-bike team their second consecutive top-10 finishes.
In 2004, at just 21 years old, Andrew became the youngest champion in NHRA history, erasing his brother's mark. "I certainly never thought I would have had so much success so early in my career," the youngest Hines said. "To win a championship in just my second full season is amazing and I owe it all to my brother and my dad. If it wasn't for them tuning the bike, I wouldn't have my first championship and my dad wouldn't have his fourth."
In 2005 the success continued and at Gainesville Raceway in March, Hines tuned his youngest son to the first sub-seven second run for a Pro Stock Motorcycle, turning in a 6.991 pass in front of a roaring crowd of Screamin' Eagle fans. Once again, the Vance & Hines name is in the record book for performance numbers. Byron Hines tuned Vance and their Top Fuel entry to the first sub-seven second run with a 6.98-second pass in 1984. Then they recorded another milestone in 1987 when Vance became the first Pro Stock rider to record a sub-eight-second time with a 7.990 run in Dallas.
"Terry and my dad have been racing together for a long time and I have heard all of their stories including how Terry became the first rider in the 7-second range," Hines said. It's great knowing that we are keeping the milestone accomplishment in the family."
In addition to racing and manufacturing the next generation of high-tech parts, the Race Shop is also responsible for their 4-cylinder engine customers. They team, led by Joe Vanderbrink, supports anywhere from 15-20 teams at a given time. When the Vance & Hines team learns something about racing in the shop, the knowledge is passed down to the customers.
"We have a varying number of customers at the track each time," Hines said. "Not all of the customers can race at all 15 events. We don't own them all and we don't want to own all the engines out there. It wouldn't be healthy for the sport. We support the customers as much as we can but it's not about having just a great motor anymore. There are so many other things that you need to win. The Pro Stock Motorcycle category is so competitive that you have to be near perfect to win on race day. You can't make mistakes and you can't get by with just a great motor. You need it all." Hines has made sure that as often as possible, he and the Vance & Hines Motorsports Race Shop team have had their act together on race day. It doesn't always work out, but over the course of four decades, Hines and his riders have always been one of the top teams to beat when it counted most.
It's all about having good contacts in the industry and staying up-to-date with the technology," Hines said. "You have to match all of that with passion. If you fall behind on any of those things, the sport can pass you by pretty quickly."/i]