While nobody has sauntered up to the start line with a VR1000 hung in a dirt-track frame, XL-powered Harley-Davidsons did have a fairly successful year. Although the AMA bumped the displacement limit to 1250cc midseason, the most successful XL dirt-tracker, the Moroney’s bike ridden by Mike Hacker, never exceeded 1200cc, and the team had success on the half-miles with a 1000cc machine. On the podium several times, Hacker was fourth in the championship, even though he didn’t ride at Del Mar after the bike dropped a valve during a Sacramento Mile heat race and there was no time to rebuild. Pat Moroney says the 1200 is making about 100 bhp at the rear wheel and they’re really only looking for about 5 more ponies. New twin-carb heads are in the offing, and he says they’ll try a shorter-stroke, bigger-bore engine next year to help get the thing off corners. “We tailored the powerband to be just like an XR, just making more horsepower everywhere,” Moroney said. But he thinks the real advantage the XL has over the Japanese engines is its effect on handling. “We made all our time up in the corners. The way the Harley is designed with the flywheels in the middle of the motor, size of the flywheels, I think that’s why it handles so awesome.” Moroney’s Harley-Davidson also sells Hondas, Suzukis and Yamahas, but Moroney said that in the end, he really takes satisfaction in making a two-valve pushrod motor run with the latest and greatest Japanese stuff.