CHRIS “MAD DOG” MOELLER
Prior to this, my desert racing experience amounted to getting my 1964 Avion camper and 1989 F250 diesel 4x4 stuck in front of some buggies in the 2017 Baja 1000 buggy class south of Ensenada. It was fireside on that same trip that Bill cooked up the idea of racing a Harley in the upcoming NORRA. I think getting our vintage rig through a deep silt bed coming into camp, with a wine spritzer in one hand and two 3-year-olds in the extra cab, demonstrated the kind of tenacity Bill was looking for in a teammate, and although I’m not a Biltwell employee like the other guys, I was asked if I wanted to ride, and I jumped at the chance!
During my two days and roughly 400 off-road miles, the terrain included some wide-open dirt roads, lots of steep, rocky climbs and descents as well as deep silt beds, rocky riverbed crossings, and seemingly endless sandy whoops. Although we only tested in a couple of these conditions, the setup was surprisingly easy to ride in all of them. On climbs, the Harley pulled like a tractor and never stalled. Engine braking on descents really worked well. Our secret weapon, the Rekluse clutch, kept me upright in frantic silt, sand, and rocky situations. Due to the low gearing, our top speed was only 60 mph without tucking down behind the fairing, and 63 down low. Having more speed could have come in handy but might have gotten us in trouble too. At the end of some very long days, the Harley needed little more than some extra throttle to stand up and pull out of just about any situation, which was nice because when laid down, she took some coaxing to get back on two wheels.