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1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT
(Original 1973 Daytona Fire Bike)
VIN #: N/A
Exterior Color: Orange / Black / White
Seat Color: Black
Production Date: 1972
Price: No Longer Available
Mark Brelsford and the entire HD Factory team switched to aluminum from steel frames in 1972 in response to the Japanese competition’s latest light and nimble designs. The bikes were not ready for Daytona but competed in the last 6 road races of the 1972 season. Brelsford won the 1972 Grand National Championship by virtue of a dominant dirt tracking season but additionally earned points on the road circuit, where he was quickly honing champion caliber skills as well, with impressive finishes at Loudon/Laconia (2nd ), Talladega (7th ) and Ontario, CA (4th ) in the season-ending venue. It was aboard this Works XRTT that Brelsford achieved those road circuit results with the plate number “87”.
By virtue of being crowned Grand National Champion in 1972, Brelsford was awarded the number “1” plate for his appearances throughout what was widely expected to be an even more dominant 1973 season for the young champion. In the early season Daytona 200 Brelsford, with his number “1” plate clipped the Harley of privateer Larry Darr, whose bike had just previously been rendered inoperable in the middle of the track. In what would become the most famous championship racing photograph of all time, this XRTT 750 can be seen clipping Darr’s bike and bursting into flames with Brelsford aboard. Brelsford suffered a broken leg along with additional injuries and this would be the first of a pair of accidents that effectively ended the racing career of what was otherwise sure to be one of the best racers ever.
The crashed and partially burned bike came into the possession of the Harley Factory team and then, subsequently and shortly thereafter, was turned over to Harley Factory Works Team tuner, Babe Demay. Demay had always intended to restore the bike but never quite found the resources or time and instead left the almost entirely original bike, including the frame, on his workshop shelves. As the original engine was burned beyond repair in the crash, Demay retained a Factory Works engine that was raced by Mark’s brother, Scott, in that same 1973 season and included that engine on the shelves with the “Fire Bike”. In 2014 the entire project was sold by Babe to its current owner, who simultaneously commissioned Harley XRTT/XR750 restoration expert, John Steel, to perform a full restoration. In 2016 the restoration was completed and is considered by Steel and others to not only be a significant piece of race history but certainly one of the most original Factory XRTTs in existence today.