Andrew Hines, near lane, ran 6.77 in the final round to defeat 2015 winner Eddie Krawiec's holeshot-aided 6.81.
For the sixth time in his career, Andrew Hines emerged as the winner of the NHRA Pro Bike Battle specialty race following a thrilling 6.775 to 6.811 race against Screamin’ Eagle teammate Eddie Krawiec in the final round. The factory Harley team has dominated the specialty race with nine straight wins over the last decade. Overall, the Vance & Hines team has won the NHRA Pro Bike Battle 12 times in 21 attempts.
“I always want to win, and I’ve been pretty successful in these [Pro Bike Battle] events. Maybe it’s because this race is not for points, and I seem to obsess over points," said Hines. "We seemed to finally stumble on tune-up today. Coming into today, we knew we had some work to do. The whole class was quick; we had the quickest bump spot we’ve ever had. I got a double bonus in the final because I had to improve my qualifying position and win the race. I managed to do both, including set the stage for tomorrow by moving from fifth to third.”
Hines, coming off back-to-back national event wins in Chicago and Denver, ran his win streak to 11 straight rounds by beating Hector Arana Jr., Matt Smith, and Krawiec in the all-star event, which is open to the top eight riders in the class as determined by a year-long competition based on qualifying results. Hines, who earned $7,500 for the victory, topped Arana with a 6.803 and then improved to a 6.772 against Smith, who grabbed a big holeshot advantage but couldn’t make it stick when his Victory Gunner would not shift gears. Hines also gave up a slight starting-line advantage in the final round but had enough of a performance advantage over Krawiec to take the victory.
“Eddie has made me a better racer since he joined our team," said Hines. "He changed my perspective. Without him being so good, it wouldn’t have pushed me to be better. He’s got a lot of wins. We don’t always have the quickest bikes down the track, but we were working on the tune-up all weekend long. We may not be quick off the trailer, but if you give us more runs, we’re going to figure it out. That’s the way we look at it.”
Krawiec, who won the NHRA Pro Bike Battle in 2008 and 2015 and defeated Hines in the final round both times, started his day with a track record 6.751 win against veteran Steve Johnson and guaranteed an all-Harley final round when he posted a 6.79 to 6.87 victory against Chip Ellis’ PiranaZ Buell in the semifinals.
On Friday, it was confirmed that the NHRA Pro Bike Battle would return to Sonoma for the 2017 season. Qualifying for that event begins with this weekend's Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals.