John Tibben’s Harley-Davidson CR 250 Short Tracker

For 1959, the AMA reduced the engine size for Class A quarter-mile short track. Harley-Davidson didn’t have a model to fit—until, that is, Harley bought the motorcycle company Aermacchi, which sold a single-cylinder 250cc Sprint street bike.

In 1961, for the Short-Track National, Harley-Davidson  built up this CR 250 for AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Carroll Resweber.

After Resweber’s career ended abruptly two years later, Hall of Famer John Tibben rode this bike for eight years in AMA Class A short-track competition, primarily at Santa Fe Speedway in Chicago but also at races in Long Beach, Vallejo, Gardena, Daytona, and a few other short tracks.

The bike was continually overhauled, modified, upgraded and strengthened to stay competitive.

In 2009-10, Tibben rebuilt the bike with the goal of making it perform as it did when he started racing it in 1963. The frame, rear wheel and sprocket, exhaust mount, carburetor and forks are original parts. The engine had to be sourced from an early 1966 CR 250. Tibben fabricated new foot peg mounts, pegs and bolts out of aluminum. The axles are also aluminum. Tibben installed a race-worn Pirelli on the rear and a Dunlop K-70 on the front.

National No. 60 is the racing number Tibben earned in AMA Grand National Championship competition.

This bike is currently on loan to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame from Tibben. You can see it and many others that helped shape the history of motorcycling in America at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio.

American Motorcyclist October 2019