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Common Tread

Project 156: Race To The Clouds, the finale

Jul 02, 2015

Before we get any further, take a second to guess how Don Canet and the Project 156 finished at the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb (PPIHC).

The Project 156 story seemed like it was going to be a dull one. Victory seemed content to post commercials for America as their video updates for the race, and it looked like it was safe to assume we'd probably see several more culminating in the final race. 

Fate had different plans in mind, and during the first week of practice sessions, Canet went down on the Victory prototype race bike just eight days before the race. He lost the front in a second gear hairpin, low-siding at 75 mph and wrapping the bike around a guard rail.

Canet, luckily, was fine, and the bike was immediately sent back to Roland Sands Design in Southern California where it was taken apart and rebuilt. This cost the team crucial practice time, but they set out with a mission to ride in the PPIHC and they were going to do it come hell or high water. To Victory's credit, they posted the entire thing, including the onboard crash footage, in the next video in their series.

Roland's team was able to get the bike fixed and back to Colorado in time for the race and they were back on the mountain Sunday morning with the rest of the heavyweight motorcycle class. Canet qualified for the race with the fourth overall best time out of the 60 entries. Then, during the race, he was on pace to finish well with the second-fastest time in section one when he low-sided again in section two.

Project 156
Don Canet qualifying for the race. Victory photo.

He was able to remount the bike and was rolling again within 23 seconds (the guy can move much faster than those gray hairs would have you believe) and was back on pace through the third section. But damage done to the bike required him to pull over during the fourth section, around the 13,000-foot mark.

Obviously, this is a pretty disappointing finish for both Canet and Victory, but I applaud their attempts to stick with it through adversity and to continue to cover their progress even as things didn't go their way. Canet is one hell of a rider and it's exciting to see what Victory will do with this prototype motor next.

Better luck next year fellas. We're just glad you're OK.

Postscript: Honda's Jeff Tigert was the fastest motorcyclist, climbing the mountain in a shade over 10 minutes on a CBR1000RR. See the full 2015 provisional results.