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Cycle World’s Don Canet Crashes Testing New Victory on Pikes Peak – Don OK, Bike Destroyed (with video)


This just in from Victory regarding the Project 156 Pikes Peak racer:

Medina MN – Friday June 19th, 2015: The Victory Motorcycles Project 156 suffered a setback on Saturday June 13th in a practice accident on the Pikes Peak race course. Cycle World Editor and Project 156 rider Don Canet did not suffer any serious injuries, and was immediately up from the crash, however the motorcycle was damaged enough to require a complete strip-down and frame straightening.

“We have been making significant progress on the engine tune of the motorcycle each time it went out, and were able to start focusing on the handling aspects of the bike,” said Canet. “As I was going up the mountain I lost the front end under braking, asphalt temperature was extremely low and, counterintuitively, I think the tire was getting colder as the run went on.”  Canet took third position in his rookie season in his debut at the “Race to the Clouds” last year.

The Falkner-Livingston team transported the race bike back to the Roland Sands Designs headquarters in Southern California for evaluation. “Not going to lie…” says RSD project leader Cameron Brewer, “Project 156 is really beat up. But we are racers at heart and I can promise Victory Motorcycles, Cycle World Magazine, RSD and Pikes Peak fans that we will rebuild the bike – she took one hell of a hit, but we are committed to this program.”


Video frame grab showing Canet’s body sliding near guard rail.

“The first question was if Don is OK – when we heard that he was, that was our biggest relief. Racing is serious business, and it takes commitment, planning, guts and skill to get through these situations,” said Victory Motorcycles General Manager Rod Krois. “Victory Motorcycles took this endeavor on to challenge ourselves and make history by putting a competitive American bike back on Pikes Peak. Commitment is not for the weak – and I know that our team will make the decision that is best for Don and our brand.”

A video of the crash and interviews with Don and the RSD team are here:

The Victory Motorcycles, Cycle World and Falkner-Livingston teams wish to thank those who recognize the enormity of the challenge, and support us in the Race to the Clouds.

For continuing updates on the repair of the race bike and its return to Pikes peak, fans can follow the story at, and through the Victory Motorcycle official Facebook page,



  1. cyclemotorist says:

    Is it my imagination or is this place full of paid sockpuppets?

  2. Jeremy in TX says:

    It would have been cool if Victory had also entered their electric IoM bike in this race as well.

  3. azi says:

    Cycle World has just published news that Project 156 has been rebuilt. Incredible stuff!

  4. Ricardo says:

    It takes a lot of guts to 1) Design and Build a bike from the grown up and 2) Race that bike in a ruthless environment such as pikes peak.
    KUDOS to these teams for the commitment and great work!!

  5. Trpldog says:

    He musta hit a crawdad. I feel for Don. Certainly a tough way to get into the history books.

  6. Auphliam says:

    Last word is the bike has been rebuilt and ready for tech.

    Haters gonna hate. BTW, what have you built today?


    Yeah, that’s what I thought

  7. chris says:

    I can’t believe all the hater’s and the negativity about this, I think this is great for Victory .Lets see what you haters can come up with .

    • Chrisgo says:

      I totally agree Chris. I am impressed with Victory (and Indian), I have no doubt they will make a bike I can’t live without in the near future.

  8. Agent55 says:

    Glad Don was nothing injured, but this whole project is just silly. Looks like the bike weighs a ton and that power plant is just all wrong. Btw, nice Ducati 899 swingarm, how is this a Victory?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “how is this a Victory?”

      it’s a streetfighter custom, just go with it.

      • Agent55 says:

        If Victory wasn’t explicitly calling it a “Victory”, I’d totally agree with you because yes, it absolutely is a street fighter custom. Same goes for the IOM TT Brammos electric bike that Victory bought and slapped a sticker onto, just clumsy and embarrassing decision-making like most everything Polaris has ever done.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          “just clumsy and embarrassing decision-making like most everything Polaris has ever done.”

          Clumsy and embarrassing? Polaris? How so? Everything they’ve been doing lately seems pretty brilliant. This kind of stuff won’t sell more cruisers, but I think it would play a positive part in reinventing the Victory brand, if that is indeed what they are doing. This is marketing, not a race effort. Polaris are just testing the waters right now before deciding if they want to go for a swim.

          • Agent55 says:

            You do realize Victory has been an absolute sales failure from day 1 don’t you? Polaris has never been able to understand their own brand enough to make it profitable, Victory has been propped up by the mothership this entire time. Only the engineers over there have any clue what’s going on. Hiring various celebrities to ride or tweet about your bike is not creating brand identity, it’s simply saying “we don’t know what f*** we’re doing, but let’s keep throwing money in the wrong direction”. The product is sound, no doubt. Everything else surrounding it is clueless, and would’ve tanked years ago were it a standalone company.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Polaris is a multi-billion dollar company with very successful product lines across lots of powersport categories. Victory for a time – not the Big 4 Japanese – was the number one seller of heavy-weight (which I think they defined as 800+cc’s – don’t remember for sure, can’t find that article) cruisers behind HD. Indian has been a big success so far. None of that seems the results of clumsy and clueless activity to me.

            To your point, I think Polaris probably does realize that the Victory brand isn’t particularly strong and is actually further threatened by the presence of Indian in the quiver. I’m just speculating here, but Polaris appears to be reformulating the Victory brand, which is no easy feat for any brand, possibly to reposition the company from a cruiser company to a multi-line motorcycle manufacturer. It is smart to both recognize the problem and bold to attempt to do something about it. Time will tell what they are really up to and if the strategy – whatever it is – works.

        • fast2win says:

          And what would the right direction be? You calling Victory a failure does not make it true. Victory sales are up from last year. You claim to be knowledgeable yet your statements clearly point to quite the opposite. Looks heavy? power plant all wrong. How so. This bike shows me Polaris is interested in more market share, by diversifying their line up. Smart move to me.

    • Blackcayman says:

      The whole purpose of this exercise is to showcase their new motor –

      You are upset about the swingarm? but not the brakes, forks…

      Polaris is a Manufacturing giant. When they release a civilian version of this it will have a Polaris swingarm. Right now they just needed a light weight high performance part.

    • Auphliam says:

      Nope, not a Victory…nothing for you to see here. Now, back to your paint chips with you.

      • Agent55 says:

        I’m sorry you’re so clueless on this subject, whereas I know too much on this subject, hence the disappointment. Now, back to your Koolaid sweetie.

  9. Scottie says:

    All 15 radiators still intact.

  10. TimC says:

    “As I was going up the mountain I lost the front end under braking, asphalt temperature was extremely low and, counterintuitively, I think the tire was getting colder as the run went on” – this does not surprise me in the slightest – we’ve been unseasonably cold/wet this Spring – just getting real summer temps here in Denver this wkend actually.

    So I imagine it was indeed pretty damn cold going up there last weekend….

  11. mr_dirtrider says:

    I would like to see some boards nailed across those guardrail post. At least have a flat surface to hit (with a haybail on the first one.)

  12. Norm G. says:

    top off the midnight oil…

  13. Grover says:

    I hear that the makers of Geritol have expressed interest in sponsoring this Pikes Peak attempt. They are gonna need all the help
    they can get.

    • J Lowrance says:

      Dude, you’re an idiot.

      Canet is a very quick rider…has been his whole career. The exposure Victory will achieve from coverage of this event in Cycle World (and other media outlets) is priceless from a marketing stand point.

      Grow the f@#$ up.

      • Grover says:

        If Victory was serious about this attempt they would have invested a lot more money in it. Also, they would’ve hired a race bike builder and not a custom bike builder to produce a machine that is capable of winning.

        • J Lowrance says:

          Much better post than your last two attempts.

          You are correct in that it’s not a huge effort. Victory appear to be dipping their toe in to test it out…and that’s fantastic. They do not have a line of bikes to promote yet to justify a big buck effort so their current path makes sense.

          All of the positivel press they are getting from this effort could well lead to bigger and better things.

          Fingers crossed. It would be fantastic to see a legitimate American manufacturer get into the percormance end of the motorcycle spectrum.

        • C MIKE says:

          Seriously Grover? Throw MORE money at it? Developing a new motor, even it is originally based on a current motor and being re purposed, is no small financial undertaking. And as far as race bike builder, you do know Roland Sands had a nine-year professional racing career at the top of the AMA 250GP ranks, including a national championship in 1998. In 2000, after winning a few races stateside, Sands did a stint in the British Super Cup series on a factory Honda. He still currently holds four track records including Daytona, Sears Point, and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. (thanks wiki).
          And I would be willing to bet Canet could put a spanking on you on probably any type of course, on or off road.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I hear that the makers of Geritol have expressed interest in sponsoring this Pikes Peak attempt.”

      not cool Zeus, not cool.

    • stinkywheels says:

      I don’t want to see a “serious effort” by a professional bike builder take this over. Keep it low key, realistic, fun. Don Canet isn’t a top flite rider, just very good, just like the bike wants to be. IOMTT and Pikes Peak are races for guys, companies to race on places that will make you smile.

  14. relic relick says:

    Another victim of the push on the handle bar school of riding.

  15. John says:

    A little duct tape and wire and it will be working perfectly.

  16. john says:

    can’t they at least afford a few bales of hay?

    • mickey says:

      when I rode up there last June there were hay bales all over the place. Don’t know why they didn’t put some in front of that steel barrier.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Don’t know why they didn’t put some in front of that steel barrier.”

        “nothing happens until something happens”. a fatal flaw in the animal human.

  17. Mark Pearson says:

    These guys are freaking nuts. I used to ride public roads like a track day. Fortunately I wised up and took it to the track before I got seriously hurt. There’s no way I could charge at an Armco barrier like that.

  18. R.Downer says:

    Work hard, never quit, GO GET ‘EM!!!!!!!

  19. todd says:

    It’s a big set back but now people are routing for them to do it even more. My hat’s off to the entire team.

    If it were me, I wouldn’t have crashed. I wouldn’t have been able to be going that fast in the first place!

  20. MeanChuck says:

    They only built one bike?

  21. RRocket says:

    If this was a serious attempt, why have an old guy like Canet race?

    • mickey says:

      The old guy finished 3rd last year I believe. beat a bunch of young guys to the top.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Yep, he is fast. No question about it.

        • RRocket says:

          Competition must not be very stiff I guess. I’m no other form of motorcycle racing is a 50+ year old relevant.

          • Norm G. says:

            OG was haulin’ the mail. definitely a bike/geometry/set-up issue. as they say, “any crash you can walk away from.”

          • fast2win says:

            You apparently never heard of Joey Dunlap, Who was still winning races at 48 years old. From a marketing stand point this does make sense. RSD is well known and if all goes well, Victory and RSD could make a good pair. If you take some of his product ideas and apply them to sport bikes built by Victory it could work. We are already seeing cool custom sport bikes like the Beemer in this very site.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “(In) no other form of motorcycle racing is a 50+ year old relevant.”

            FISTPUMP…!!! there’s hope for us all.

          • fast2win says:

            You apparently missed the point. RRocket statement diminishes the ability of everyone racing up that mountain. Moto GP and FIM superbike are not the only forms of racing were the competitors are relevant. Until you put your ass on the grid shut your pie hole.

  22. Dale says:

    Damn. It wasn’t supposed to go this way. Crossing my fingers they can get back in the race. Good luck guys.

  23. Mike Simmons says:

    Glad Canet’s OK. A setback for Victory but never give up! Never, never, never!

    Semper Fi!

  24. jon says:

    I can’t f*cking believe they have those style of limb-amputating armco barriers at Pike’s peak when motorcycle races take place there. Ridiculous.

    • garjo says:

      i concur,

      • Dave says:

        It’s a public road, not a race course. The race is issued a permit to use the road and the racers accept the risk, or don’t.

        • tla says:

          wow, i guess you have to have quite a bit of confidence in your riding skill…and maybe something else.

    • Tom R says:

      Just check out the Isle of Man TT. That is even MORE nuts.

    • LarryC says:

      Well, you can hit the Armco or you can go over a 1000 ft cliff. Racing the mountain doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense, which is why I never did it.

      In the shadow of Pikes Peak.

  25. TURBOMAN says:

    Its good news Canet is well but ive done as a dealer for test riding for Ducati and if you crash it you own it CHARGE the parts account!!

  26. Starmag says:

    First, great news Canet is OK. Second, I feel bad for him having to go back and face the crew that built a one-off. Double drag. There will be no pulling parts off the shelf to fix it. Bad luck that it stuck in the guard rail like that. RSD says can do. Awesome.

    The course seems almost as crazy as the TT in it’s own way.

    Started in 1916, it is the second-oldest motorsport event in America after the Indianapolis 500.

    • Gary says:

      To be fair to Canet, the crash may not have been his fault. In fact I’d be surprised if it was. One-off protos are pretty notorious for component failures and/or bizarre handling characteristics.

  27. Blackcayman says:

    SO glad it was the bike that slid into the guardrail and not Don. That is fortuitous. The bike can be rebuilt.

    Tire warmers???

    I recently lost the front and low-sided at a track day at 65mph, right at the apex… My gear saved me from many serious injuries. Got a bruised rib from compressing with the pavement. Factory plastics on the left side are a total loss as is the clip-on, foot peg and seat. I am grateful for safe run-off areas at the track, for me and the bike.

    I hope to see this project / bike reborn and competing on race day

    • TimC says:

      Re tire warmers – altitude increase is substantial, and as indicated in another post, it’s been cold/wet here – unseasonably so – till just this week really. So his remark about the tire actually losing heat going up makes quite a bit of sense.

      • Provologna says:

        Once upon a time I visited Mt. Shasta, California. It was early in the visitor season, possibly June. Cage was a nice 2004 Saab Aero “Estate” with temperature gauge. Weather was nice in town, T-shirt OK, not a drop of snow. For a period of time driving up the mountain, temperature dropped almost 1 degree F per second. Plenty of snow by the time we got halfway up the mountain.

  28. Hot Dog says:

    Cold tire lowside, sliding is one thing but stopping with the help of a guardrail is bad. I’m glad Canet is ok, RSD can fix anything except a broken heart.

    • bikerrandy says:

      Maybe running racing slicks on a cold public road isn’t a good idea. When the accident happened I saw no normal logical reason for it to occur.

      • Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

        I’ve ridden up that course a number of times over the years. Getting the tires set to the best compromise is difficult. It’s not a matter of finding the ideal pressure like at a true race track where you might have a maximum of 50 ft in elevation change and a consistent temperature.

        The road is colder the higher you go despite more UV exposure and the tire pressure that would normally drop due to the cold, increases as the air thins, so the tire warmers are really only good for a couple minutes of riding, enough to get you going at 100%. You gotta lower the psi in the tires by a couple points. And some shocks and forks need to have the air purged or pressure decreased. Bike setup is difficult there. And this is just what I noticed as a traveler, not as a racer.

    • Bart says:

      Looks like he was using a super sport front or maybe a cut slick. Either way, the front had very small amount of loading due to climbing under throttle load and rearward attitude of the bike when DC touched the brake. There was no collapse of the front end, it just locked and tucked. I think main issue was no heat or loss of heat in the front. When climbing, there is no flexure of the front tire carcass to generate/hold the heat. I’d ask for longer swing arm, try a more street oriented compound that might work better at low temps, softer setup on the front, maybe change the front master cylinder or pads for lees bite. RS knows his stuff, I wanna see this go up the mountain!

  29. Tank says:

    That’s a race course?

    • bikerrandy says:

      It’s a public road and this ‘race’ is a hill climb contest. About as safe as racing in the Isle of Man on public roads, except on the Isle at least they don’t race in inclement weather. 8^ 0

    • halfbaked says:

      You think the asphalt looks sketchy until 2011 approximately 30% of the course was dirt.

      • bikerrandy says:

        I’m sure they didn’t use race slicks then.

        • Dave says:

          Not slicks but DOT race tires I believe we’re used on the Multistrada 1200 that held the record at the time. I imagine it’s a similar philosophy as supermoto- maximize pavement speed, deal with the compromise on the dirt.

          The thing used to be almost all dirt. Slower but even more nutty..

  30. mickey says:

    First ..good thing Canet isn’t hurt did he wad up that bike

    • bikerrandy says:

      The guardrail wadded up the bike……….otherwise it would have taken a helicopter to retrieve what was left of it.

      • mickey says:

        Lol.. Good point. Wonder if the drop off the mountain would have done better or worse as far as damage to the bike goes.

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