The stock 992cc V-twin already made decent power, so Pegram's engine-builder Dave Weaver just flowed the head and installed a set of Ducati Performance cams and high-compression pistons. That boosted output to 94 horsepower at the rear wheel-slightly stronger than a good-running Harley. "The difference is an XR motor lasts one weekend, while this thing will go thousands of miles," Pegram quips. "It's a lot cheaper, too," adds David Lloyd, who's a big proponent of production-based engines. "It costs $25,000 to build a competitive XR, whereas we've got less than half that in this bike."
Pegram debuted the Ducati at the Springfield Mile last Memorial Day weekend, and still remembers the reaction. "When we unloaded it people were laughing, but they stopped after I transferred directly from the heat race."
Unfortunately, the main event didn't go as well. Pegram ran just outside the top 10, but the bike lost power as it got hotter. A red flag due to rain gave him a second chance, but the bike blew an oil line and he crashed unhurt.
A conflict with an AMA roadrace meant Pegram couldn't compete in the second Springfield Mile on Labor Day weekend, but he did take part in the Indianapolis Mile the same weekend as MotoGP. For that the Lloyd brothers got serious, hit up Ducati for a second engine (which came from one of the Hypermotards used to make Terminator Salvation) and had Vintage Motorcycle Components build a custom frame, tilting the engine up and moving it forward to put even more weight on the front end.
Pegram found the "framer" handled even better than the stocker, and ran as high as fourth in his heat race before falling while challenging for third. That put him on the third row for the semi, and the best he could manage was fourth-one position away from making the show.
So what next? The Lloyd Brothers would like to contest the entire 2010 AMA Grand National Championship, but finding funding is proving more difficult now than it has in the team's five-year history. They need a top rider who can win races, but none of them want to get off their Harleys because they get parts allowances and contingencies. "That's too bad, because if this thing wins, it would be the best thing to happen to dirt-track racing in years," says David. "I ask guys, 'Do you want to be just another rider to win on a Harley, or the first to win on a Ducati?'"
Pegram is also keen to do more dirt-track races, but would like to pick and choose which events he competes in-and may not even be available for those. "I'd like to go to a few of the good tracks, but if I'm in the hunt for the Superbike title, I wouldn't be allowed to. So hopefully, I won't be allowed to!"