Flat Rivalry Reignited
The flames of an old and long standing rivalry are about to be fanned in the AMA Pro Flat Track series. In June came the news that Indian Motorcycles was reentering the world of flat track racing. This represents the first factory backed race team from Indian in this arena since the 1950’s.
Indian has a long history in flat track racing. Perhaps best known was the Indian Motorcycle Wrecking Crew, consisting of Bill Tuman, Bobby Hill and Ernie Beckman, who won race after race in the late 40’s and early 50’s. This also means the long-standing rivalry between Harley-Davidson and Indian on the racetrack will be revived.
The Indian factory team will enter the fray with an all-new proprietary liquid-cooled 750cc four-valve V-Twin engine specifically designed for flat track racing and engineered into a specially built chassis. The details as reported thus far are the engine produces an impressive 109 horsepower and weighs in at 105 pounds. The AMA has approved it for racing use.
“We are very excited to return to the AMA Circuit,” said Steve Menneto, President of Motorcycles for Polaris Industries. “We have established the new Indian Chief and Scout series as the cornerstones of our production line-up, and now is the time for us to return to racing in a big way. We know that fans of Indian Motorcycle have been anticipating this announcement and can’t wait to see Indian Racing back in action.”
Multi-time AMA Grand National Champion Jared Mees has agreed to join the Indian Team as a test rider this year. Mees, 30, won the AMA Grand National Championship (GNC1) title in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The Indian will race the new motorcycle at a track to be determined sometime in September of this year in preparation for a full season of competition in 2017.
More Flat Track News
If the renewed rivalry between Harley-Davidson and Indian wasn’t enough H-D announced in May the release of the XG750R, its first all-new flat track race bike in 44 years. The XG features the liquid cooled and fuel injected motor based on the H-D 750 Street power plant. The frame and running gear appear to be adapted from the current XR750 platform.
The XG750R made its official competition debut May 29, at the AMA Pro Flat Track Springfield Mile. Davis Fisher piloted it to a respectable 8th place finish. Fisher is in his first season racing with the H-D factory team and is a rookie in the GNC1 series. The 18-year-old racer from Warren, Ore., won the 2015 AMA Pro GNC2 championship. Brad Baker, 2013 AMA Pro Grand National Champion, will continue to race aboard the XR while Fisher races the XG750R through its developmental stage. The XG will eventually replace the venerable XR750, but during this racing season both machines will be campaigned, as the XG is refined through experience in competition.
The XG750R has shown great potential in testing and the first few races this season,” said Kris Schoonover, H-D racing manager. “But as with any new racing motorcycle, there will be work to do. We’re excited to continue testing the XG750R in real world competition, and as we make our way through the season, we will evaluate the performance of the bike and our factory riders to see if Baker might switch to the new bike.”
Sadly H-D has no plans to offer the XG for sale to the public at this time.
It’s A Car, It’s A Bike, It’s A…
Autocycle. In June Governor Dayton signed into law a definition of an autocycle. The new law defines the autocycles as motorcycles that have three wheels in contact with the ground, seating that does not require operators or occupants to straddle or sit astride, has a steering wheel, is equipped with anti-lock brakes and was originally manufactured to meet the federal safety standards for a motorcycle. This law allows drivers with a standard drivers license to operate an autocycle without needing a motorcycle endorsement. This was good news for the Polaris Slingshot, Campagna T-Rex, and other autocycle makers, which have lived in a weird state of appealing to non-motorcyclists, but requiring a motorcycle endorsement to operate.
An Evel Place
An Evel Knievel museum is scheduled to open later this year in Topeka, KS. Historic Harley-Davidson of Topeka is building the museum as a 16,000 sq.ft. addition to the dealership. The attraction will include bikes and memorabilia as well as exhibits on the science, technology, engineering, and math tied to the feats of the motorcycling daredevil. One attraction will be a bike that visitors can climb aboard to experience a virtual reality jump. Mike Patterson, the dealership owner, claims it will be the largest collection of Evel memorabilia if the world.