We just got an update from Richard Hatfield at Lightning Motors about his team’s progress on the 2011 “Flying Banana” (there’s no escaping that name Richard), and without having seen all the bikes for this racing season, we would peg Lightning’s as the one to beat.

When we talked to Lightning at the end of last season, the stated goal for the 2011 bike was to remove 150 lbs, and add 150hp to the machine. With the parts coming together, Hatfield informs us that the team is on-track to achieve that goal – translation: this bike is going to be wicked fast and agile…and of course, yellow.

Working out of Ray Abrams’ garage in San Carlos, the Lightning Motors team doesn’t have to go far to find inspiration on how to build a game-changing motorcycle. For those who weren’t alive in the 70’s or not familiar with one of the most prestigious names in flat track racing, one of Abrams’ claims to fame is building the Yamaha TZ 750 that King Kenny Roberts Sr. rode to a come-from behind victory at the Indy Mile back in 1975.

The TZ 750 sits in a quasi-gallery of functional two-wheeled racing art just a couple rooms away from Hatfield’s operation. With countless years of racing experience around him, we think more than just a color choice has rubbed off on the Lightning Team.

It’s amazing what our Bothan Spies can accomplish with a six-pack of suds, and a sunny afternoon. Below is the results of their labor. No Bothans were lost in this covert operation, some photos were though.

Source: Bothan Spies