1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4

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Lot 144
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. 1F10016H4

US$ 27,000 - 37,000
£ 21,000 - 28,000
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. 1F10016H4
• In unrestored, as-raced condition
• One of the first RR250s in the U.S.
• Ridden by John Long and John Basore
• From the Southwest Superbikes collection

Mention the name 'Harley-Davidson' and images of world-beating Grand Prix road racers do not spring readily to mind. Yet from 1974-76, Harley-Davidsons ridden by Walter Villa bested all comers, taking an impressive quartet of GP titles—three consecutive in the 250cc class and one in the 350cc division. Earlier, Harley has acquired a majority stake in the Italian Aermacchi factory, primarily makers of sub-350cc roadsters, in an effort to compete with the flood of popular Japanese lightweights in the U.S. market. Aermacchi's road racing program came along as part of the deal.

Unlike Harley-Davidson's venerable V-twin street bikes, Villa's racers were start-of-the art for the time, liquid-cooled two-stroke twins with easily removed six-speed cassette transmissions. A meticulous development rider, Villa would log countless test laps getting his mounts fully dialed-in. Come race time, he became single-mindedly focused on victory, a dedication that resulted in eight Italian national titles, 23 GP wins and his four championships for Harley, the final two a rare 'double' in the 250 and 350cc classes for 1976. No less a motoring dignitary than Enzo Ferrari took notice, calling countryman Villa, "the Niki Lauda of the bike world, a thinking man's racer."

In the U.S., Harley-Davidson eventually made RRs available in small numbers for customer use in the AMA's 250cc Lightweight class, but one enterprising dealer, aware of Villa's success in Europe and not willing to wait, bypassed Motor Company rules and had this RR250 clandestinely imported through Jamaica. It was intended for rider John Long, but because the AMA had yet to homologate the design, his time in the saddle was frustratingly limited to non-national races. The RR was quickly sold off to Harley Sprint flat-track racer John Basore, whose name we see hand-lettered on the tail section today. He campaigned the bike in Florida's hotly contested club road races, consistently placing in the top 10. When the RR was finally approved for AMA racing, he entered all the East Coast nationals—Loudon, Road Atlanta, Talladega, Daytona—with support from the Fletcher's Harley-Davidson dealership and additional sponsorship from Basore's brother-in-law, owner of the 'American Leasing Inc.' also painted on the rear cowl. Today, Basore owns Cycle Performance Products and is hugely active in vintage racing, supplying everything from parts to trackside tuning to complete CRTT-replica rolling chassis for Harley Sprint owners.

After a couple of years, the RR250's race days came to an end when Basore purchased a Harley-Davidson franchise, the day-to-day running of which took up most of his time. The retired race bike took up residence on the showroom floor, but eventually was sold to a museum. Ownership by other museums and private collections followed, until acquisition by the current steward, Southwest Superbikes in Dallas, Texas. Unstarted and unridden, this ultra-rare racer remains as it last appeared on track, some 45 years ago. Sold on a Bill of Sale.

Footnotes

  • Offered on Bill of Sale. As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.
Contacts
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
1974 Aermachhi Harley-Davidson RR250 Road Racing Motorcycle  Engine no. 1F10016H4
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