Llewellyn to make track comeback?

Published: 03 January 2009

Former BSB racer Matt Llewellyn is contemplating a comeback to racing – in the all-new Harley-Davidson XR1200 Trophy that will at BSB meetings this year.

It is three years since Llewellyn, now 40, quit the sport but he has kept his hand in with race school and track-day tuition, rider coaching plus Harley and Buell Academy work.

He said: “No one has come to me and said, ‘do you want a ride?’ I think, because of my Harley and Buell connections people just assume I’ll do it. I’ll not deny I’ve looked at it and if someone offered me a deal, then I’d consider it. Maybe I’ll do some guest rides. I heard Niall Mackenzie and James Whitham might do some too.

The prize fund (with £2000 per race win) is impressive enough and is bound to attract some good names.”

Llewellyn has massive experience to draw from. He won the 1995 Shell International Superbike series (a made-for TV three-round separate series to the official BSB championship) on a self-maintained Ducati 955 and was one of the big names in the one-make Triumph Speed Triple series in the late nineties.

He reckons the Harley series will produce fantastic close racing, even if the XR1200 is not a pure-bred race bike.

He said: “One-make racing is all about everyone on equal machinery and rider ability being the focus. People seem to forget that. I’ve only ridden the XR1200 on the road so far but the brakes are good and with different pad material and braided lines (that the series rules permit) they will be adequate. 

“The gearbox isn’t a racing gearbox either but it’s good and certainly a lot better than the old Triumph ones we raced.

“The Harley is heavier than a race bike too but one of this matters. It’s one-make racing. With the Triumphs they used to dyno the top three bikes and one from random. That kept everyone in line too.”

The XR!200 has a belt drive, meaning there’s no provision for changing the gearing but Llewellyn doesn’t accept that’s an issue. “I’ll say it again, it’s one make racing.

It doesn’t matter. I remember when (the late) David Jefferies did the Triumph series. He ran stock road gearing and never changed it. He just rode the wheels off the bike.

“I think the Harley series has a lot of potential. There’s no tuning so everyone will be on the same kit. The racing will be great.”