The Right Stuff
Here are some of the most notable XR-750 pilots, covering the full range of its glorious history.
Cal Rayborn: Not only did he win 11 AMA nationals in seven years, Cal also held a land speed record. In 1972 he ventured across the pond where he rode his XR-750 in the Transatlantic Match races, capturing three of the six races, and tying as top scorer in the series. Rayborn raced with Harley-Davidson his entire career.
Mert Lawwill: He was the American Motorcyclist Association Grand National Champion of 1969 and one of the top professionals on the AMA national circuit during ’60s and ’70s. Harley-Davidson signed him to the factory team in 1964. Lawwill won his first AMA national at the Sacramento Mile on September 19, 1965. It was the first of 15 career wins for him. In 1969, Lawwill was voted the AMA’s Most Popular Rider of the Year. When he retired in 1977, he had claimed 161 career AMA Grand National finishes during his 15-year racing career.
Jay Springsteen: In 1975 Jay announced his presence with authority by earning the AMA Rookie of the Year Award. It was the beginning of a long line of flat track conquests; by the time he was done, Springsteen was a three-time AMA Grand National Champion with more than 40 National Championship flat track race wins to his credit. He’s considered one of the best AMA Grand National flat-track racers of all time. Between 1975 and 2003, he created the longest racing career in AMA Grand National history. Springsteen was a factory rider with Harley-Davidson for much of his career and was perhaps the racer most closely associated with the American brand in the ’70s and beyond. In total, he raced in a record 398 AMA nationals, winning a total of 43.
Scott Parker: A nine-time AMA Grand National Champion, Parker holds an all-time record 94 Grand National Championship race wins, including 55 AMA National Mile wins, and 35 AMA Half-Mile wins. He is also a three-time winner of AMA Pro Athlete of the Year. Parker, who rode for the factory Harley-Davidson flat track team for most of his career, was considered the undisputed King of the Mile. His 55 career wins on mile flat tracks was more than double that of his nearest competitor. He was also the leader in wins on half-miles. Parker won on all forms of flat track competition—miles, half-miles, short track, and TT Steeplechase.
Tammy Kirk: She wasn’t on the factory team, but her pink XR-750 stood out with the best of them at the races. In 1983, Tammy Kirk became the first woman in history to reach a Grand National Championship final when she earned a spot in the Knoxville Half Mile event. In 1986, she made history by winning a Class C flat track race in Knoxville, Tennessee. Later she jumped over to NASCAR racing. In 1994, she was named the Most Popular Driver in NASCAR’s Slim Jim All Pro Series, and would finish sixth in that series’ points two years later. Kirk became the second woman to win a NASCAR touring series event when she won the 1994 Snowball Derby.