Throwback Thursday: Picotte’s Awesome Finish on the Harley VR1000 Superbike

Larry Lawrence | August 9, 2018
Pascal Picotte matched the best AMA Superbike finish ever for Harley-Davidson when he led late in the race, but ultimately finished second at Pikes Peak International Raceway in 1999. (Henny Ray Abrams photo)

In this week’s Throwback we wind back the clock 19 years to the year 1999 at the AMA Superbike Championship Finale at Pikes Peak International Raceway. In this photo you see a very rare thing, a Harley-Davidson VR1000 leading an AMA Superbike race. That’s Canadian Pascal Picotte at the controls and Picotte led the race, much to the delight of the crowd. A Harley leading an AMA Superbike race had only happen a couple of times before in series history. On this day it seemed Picotte had the best chance ever to win on the VR1000 on the short, tight and twisty PPIR circuit, where the grunt of the Harley out of corners put Picotte in the hunt.

Late in the race a roar came up from the stands as Picotte passed Yoshimura Suzuki’s Mat Mladin for the lead. If Picotte could hold on for seven short laps he would make history. Unfortunately for him and Harley-Davidson, Nicky Hayden (shown chasing Picotte in this photo) got around him with two laps to go. When Hayden went underneath to pass Picotte, it pushed them both wide and that’s all Chandler needed. A couple of turns later he got by both to take the victory. Picotte held off Hayden to finish second, just 1.5 seconds behind Chandler. It marked the best dry finish ever for the VR1000.

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