Into Production


Box-stock racing was a tough pill to swallow for some racers, teams, manufacturers and fans in the 1970s. Basically if a rider or team wanted to go racing prior to a box-stock class you bought a racing spec bike or built one.

“Superbike Production” is a class with, now, a great many men who can rightfully or boastfully claim paternity. Superbike as we know it today began as a exhibition class and was in some ways a red-headed step-child of AMA racing until 1985 or so.

One of the first true production racing classes as we know it today was Lightweight Production.
One of the first true production racing classes as we know it today was Lightweight Production. Al Ivins

One class that ran alongside “Superbike Production” was the almost forgotten Lightweight Production series.

Superbike, for the first ten years of the series life, was a true bastion of cheating. Or if not cheating, then lax rules enforcement coupled with creative rulebook interpretation. The same was true in the short-lived Lightweight Production class of the mid-1970s. While many of the bikes of the Lightweight class appeared box stock, it wasn’t uncommon, like in the early days of Superbike, that racing exhaust systems were constructed inside of the chrome walls of OEM exhaust, the largest pistons that were available were dropped into over-bored cylinders, and the like.

Lightweight Production faded away, but Superbike remained. In the 1980s “Supersport” rose from the production bike racing ashes and remains alive and well today.


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