January 16, 2018, Santa Fe Springs, CA – Vance & Hines is proud to announce a return to Top Fuel racing with rider Doug Vancil and tuner Mike Romine to compete in the Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley category of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
The championship will expand to 10 events for the 2018 season with the nitro-burning Harleys kicking-off the season at the Winternationals in Pomona, February 8-11. The new championship class will also mean that the Top Fuel Harleys will run alongside the Pro Stock Bike category at both the Gatornationals and the Harley’s season finale at the US Nationals on Labor Day weekend.
The 2018 team will see Vance & Hines reunite with longtime rider Doug Vancil, with whom the team amassed a dominating six Top Fuel Harley championships. “I can’t wait until we start running! We have a fast bike and with Mike Romine tuning, I think we are really going to be a top runner in the class,” stated Doug on the announcement of the team.
Mike Romine brings four decades of experience building, racing and winning on nitro Harleys. “I’m very excited to see the Vance & Hines name on the bike,” remarked Mike, “and really looking forward to working with Terry Vance and Doug in the upcoming season.”
“The NHRA has done a great job of developing the Harley class to create a new two-wheeled championship category in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series,” said Vance & Hines founder, Terry Vance. “And bringing together two of the biggest names in Top Fuel in Doug and Mike, I couldn’t be more enthused about getting the season started.”
Keep up with the latest throughout the season @vanceandhines on Instagram and Facebook as well as vanceandhines.com.
2018 Top Fuel Harley Schedule
Winternationals, Feb 8-11, Pomona, CA
Arizona Nationals, Feb 23-25, Phoenix, AZ Gatornationals, Mar 15-18, Gainesville, FL Four-Wide Nationals, Apr 6-8, Las Vegas, NV Spring Nationals, Apr 20-22, Baytown, TX Southern Nationals, May 18-20, Topeka, KS Thunder Valley Nationals, Jun 15-17, Bristol, TN New England Nationals, July 6-8, Epping, NH Northwest Nationals, Aug 3-5, Kent, WA
US Nationals, Aug 29 – Sep 3, Indianapolis, IN
13861 Rosecrans Avenue, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670 Phone: 562-921-7461 Fax: 562-802-0110
Vance & Hines designs and manufacturers high quality aftermarket performance accessories including exhaust, air intake and fuel management systems for American v-twin, metric cruiser, sportbike and off-road motorcycles. All Vance & Hines products are designed and manufactured in the United States at its facilities in Southern California and Indiana. For more information, please visit vanceandhines.com, facebook.com/vanceandhines and youtube.com/vanceandhines.
Practical, functional and bad ass cool? That’s DEI’s new Exo Wrap (as in exo skeleton) stainless steel mesh pipe wrap. It was one of the coolest new products at the V-Twin show in Cincinnati last weekend.
They developed it, said DEI’s Powersports Brand Manager Brian VanKoevering, because they saw the need for a more durable wrap for heavy-duty applications. The product is made with two layers: the fiberglass layer for insulation then the mesh (really 2 more layers since this mesh is a flattened tube with the ‘glass layer inside) for abrasion protection. This super-strong construction holds up to boot scuffing, won’t rust and generally lasts longer.
Application is like any other pipe wrap, perhaps even a bit easier, says VanKoevering. That’s because as you wrap, the mesh interlinks so it’s almost self-tightening. So it installs in about the half the time.
Cosmetically it looks amazing and it comes in tan and black. Is discoloration a concern? Because it’s fiberglass, the pigment will eventually lighten up, like most wraps. But DEI’s tests have shown that the ‘glass layer didn’t lose color until it was power-washed, and it performed well under normal riding and use conditions. Besides, as VanKoevering says, “It looks angry! This is truly the next evolution in exhaust wrap.
DEI also introduced their new heatshield frame, shown here. They had introduced the black fabric ‘shield last year and it’s done well in the market but some customers wanted a more finished look – so they added the stainless frame. Mainly a design element, the frame is separate from the ’shield so it can be finished any way you like: coated, engraved, polished – whatever you can imagine – while still maintaining the performance. They ship flat so you bend the frame to the appropriate radius for your exhaust system. Installs easily with stainless straps.
The name Vance & Hines has become synonymous with high-performance exhaust systems among V-Twin riders worldwide, most especially in racing circles. And there are good reasons for this.
See, the friendship between the company’s founders, Terry Vance and Byron Hines, began when they met at a racetrack in 1972. When it became clear that Byron was the better tech and Terry was the better rider, they divided duties and quickly conquered records. In the process they developed race components for their own efforts that garnered a following among other racers – and in 1979 a business was born.
Since then V&H has grown into one of the largest V-Twin aftermarket companies in the United States, going way beyond race-only components to exhaust systems for street riders of a dozen different makes and the V&H FuelPak fuel management system. And it won’t surprise you to learn that Vance & Hines has continued to support racing efforts both large and small with unflagging enthusiasm since the company’s inception.
The Vance & Hines manufacturing facility in Santa Fe Springs, California is a vibrant, bustling production factory that makes about 800 sets of exhaust pipes in a day. It’s more than a factory; you might call it a campus because as the company grew it absorbed buildings adjacent to the original one where Terry and Byron first started out, as V&H President Mark Finnie explained while he showed us around.
The manufacturing process begins with raw steel stock that is cut and bent to specification as required. More automation is soon to be implemented in this department to increase productivity. Lines of CNC machines pound out components as carts are filled with the various parts that make up an exhaust system; up to 100 pieces per set, including hardware.
The welding department is huge and impressive. Traditional welding booths surround a central area, supplemented by several state-of-the-art robotic welders, which are mesmerizing to watch in operation. More equipment of this type is being brought online to continue increasing not only production but efficiency and quality, too.
Just as impressive is the expansive polishing department; all polishing is done in house and that’s saying something considering that 3300 to 3500 parts per day come through this area. Then every item is inspected, cleaned, and wrapped. Components being plated or black ceramic coated are sent out, the only processes not handled on site but done nearby. They come back to V&H for final inspection, packing and shipping.
Since this is the company’s home, administrative offices are here, too, encompassing engineering, marketing and a high-tech testing and R&D department, as well. As you might expect, it takes plenty of people to keep an operation of this size churning; they employ about 450 people at this location. Another smaller facility in Brownsburg, Indiana just outside Indianapolis, opened in 2004, initially to house the Vance & Hines race team. Now it also produces handlebars and smaller run specialty items. This “smaller” location has 150 employees.
Since coming to Vance & Hines less than a year ago, Mark Finnie has instituted workplace improvements that have reduced employee turnover substantially. He also started a safety program that rewards good ideas. “Of 255 suggestions, 200 have been implemented just since January 2014,” he said.
In addition to introducing new exhaust systems to meet changing tastes and model requirements, Vance & Hines’ range of products is constantly being improved upon and upgraded. “You always look to get more performance at less cost, to improve the product,” said Finnie. “And reducing production costs keeps retail prices steady for the customer.”
A couple of young drag racers likely had no idea what would result when they decided to join forces back in 1972. Their desire to go faster combined with their ability to make it happen resonated with riders on the strip and street whose goals were the same. And that’s been good not only for American riders but American workers, too.