So how does DuHamel do it? Certainly his riding ability is worth a handful of horsepower, but one must also look to the particular components on the VR, beginning with the suspension and brakes. Wilwood carved the six-piston front calipers from aluminum alloy and matched them to iron rotors; all-out stopping power isn't equal to the Smokin' Joe's RC45's carbon HRC system (Smokin', SR, Dec. '94), but feel and feedback are exceptional. That, combined with DuHamel's insane late-braking ability (remember Sears Point 1993?), allows the Harley to almost make up what it loses on longer straights. Front suspension is too important a component to not have perfect, and the megabuck Öhlins system saved the day by giving DuHamel a familiar starting point. After all, if you don't trust the front, you'll never go quick, and the Öhlins brought peace of mind along with fabulous performance. Harley stayed committed to the Penske shock, developing the American-made damper throughout the season by relying on DuHamel's feedback; the H-D team doesn't use an onboard diagnostic system yet. "I'm the computer," Miguel told us, "and I download to Steve Shiebe. Between the two of us, we figure it out."