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Fri, April 19

Harley-Davidson will roar into proving grounds

TONY CAMPBELL/Route 66 Motor Sports and Mother Road Harley-Davidson<br>
Jenni Coliukos shows off a classic Harley-Davidson at Route 66 Motor Sports and Mother Road Harley-Davidson in Kingman. Harley-Davidson has signed an agreement with Chrysler to use the Arizona Proving Grounds near Yucca to test its new bikes.

TONY CAMPBELL/Route 66 Motor Sports and Mother Road Harley-Davidson<br> Jenni Coliukos shows off a classic Harley-Davidson at Route 66 Motor Sports and Mother Road Harley-Davidson in Kingman. Harley-Davidson has signed an agreement with Chrysler to use the Arizona Proving Grounds near Yucca to test its new bikes.

KINGMAN - Yucca residents soon might hear something other than the roar of Chrysler engines at the Arizona Proving Grounds.

Officials from Harley-Davidson and Chrysler have confirmed that an agreement to test motorcycles at the desert proving grounds has been finalized.

The details of the agreement are confidential, and it is currently unknown how many new jobs Harley-Davidson could bring to the area, said Patricia Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the company.

"We're really excited," she said. "The site has a lot to offer."

Harley-Davidson will occupy several buildings at the site and will use the five-mile, banked, oval, high-speed test track and 18-acre vehicle dynamics area to test new models of the company's signature motorcycles and its Buell sports motorcycles, she said.

"The site certainly has the capacity to handle multiple clients," said Mary Beth Halprin, a spokeswoman for Chrysler.

Harley-Davidson had to find a new test site after General Motors closed and sold its proving grounds in Mesa, Sweeney said. The agreement between Chrysler and Harley-Davidson will go into effect in July 2009.

This is not the first time the company has tested its motorcycles at the Arizona Proving Grounds, Sweeney said. The company had an agreement with Ford, the previous owner of the proving grounds, between 1998 and 2003.

"We're really looking forward to it," said Tony Campbell, general manager of Route 66 Motor Sports and Mother Road Harley-Davidson in Kingman.

"This is nothing but positive for the area. I love the fact that they're testing again in our area."

Harley-Davidson is one of a few motorcycle companies that actually test their products in high temperature climates, he said.

Mohave County Supervisor Tom Sockwell said he was unsure what effect the agreement would have on jobs for Bullhead City and the surrounding area.

"But, I'm always happy to see new jobs coming into the county," he said.

Supervisors Buster Johnson and Board Chairman Pete Byers were unavailable for comment.

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