The American company entered this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) with Project 156, a large-capacity V-twin prototype. The motorcycle was co-designed by Roland Sands Design, which made the chassis and minimal bodywork.
All of this was just two weeks after Northern Ireland's Lee Johnston finished third in the Isle of Man TT Zero electric race on a Victory, lapping at an average speed of 177km/h over the 60 kilometers course.
Both road racing attempts - along with their National Hotrod Racing Association drag bike – are part of a huge effort to raise the profile of Victory as the home of 'American Performance'. The firm's heritage brand, Indian Motorcycles, is tasked with taking the fight to Harley-Davidson, while Victory Motorcycles concentrates on performance.
Head of Product for Indian Motorcycles and Victory Motorcycles, Gary Gray, told reporters: “We are still going to be a part of the cruiser and touring market with Victory, because it's a huge potential market and very, very important to us. But that doesn't mean we can't change the way we do things in these segments, and you will see the motorcycles are going to become more aggressive in terms of performance and styling, and we will move into more sporting segments.
“Whatever changes we make to the future of the Victory brand will work alongside Indian and we will ensure we make small,legitimate, steps.”
With fellow American performance brand Erik Buell Racing (EBR), in financial upheaval, did Polaris consider a buy-out? “Not really,” Says Gray. “We need to build our own motorcycles, and that's more of a priority for us. Buell has done some really cool stuff over the years and I am sure Erik Buell is working hard to get EBR back up and running again.”
While Victory Motorcycles remain adament the Project 156 is nothing more than an engineering prototype, some suggest work is underway to produce sporty production motorcycles. But it may not be as simple as just producing a Project 156 offspring. It's likely that this engine – believed to be around 1000cc and delivering close to 170 horsepower – will become the top-end performance engine in a wide variety of Victory's.
Rod Krois, General Manager of Victory Motorcycles, told reporters: “Project 156 is a concept motorcycle we will learn from. It makes us better as a company and we can then apply those lessons to commercialisation for the future. We have the Indian brand to look after the classic and heritage side of the market, but we want Victory to be about 'American Performance' and that's how the brand is going to develop from here on.”