Just two weeks after Harley introduced its first new flat track racer in more than four decades, Indian Motorcycle has announced a return to the iconic American motorsport.
Why should we be interested in the two American companies waging on-track war in the AMA Pro Flat Track series? Simply because it could lead to new production bikes from both manufacturers.
The American motorcycle companies have produced special motorcycles for the purpose, Indian even making a proprietary 750cc water-cooled engine for the job.
The Harley XG750R flat tracker is based on the water-cooled Street 750 which is the bigger brother of the Street 500 learner-approved bike which has taken Australia by storm.
The handsome bike looks a whole lot like the XR1200 production bike from 2008 to 2012 and many are tipping it could lead to a retro flat-track racer production bike.
Similarly, a 750cc Indian production bike would be a welcome addition to the line-up and increase interest among a younger demographic.
Indian Motorcycle hasn’t raced in AMA Pro Flat Track with a full-factory bike since the 1950s when it dominated the sport.
On its departure, Harley took over and the XR750 was immortalised in the iconic 1971 motorcycle documentary On Any Sunday.
There is no word yet on when the Indian Motorcycle racing team will return to the track, although they say it will be some time this year with a full racing schedule in 2017.
The only photos available so far just show the engine and a production Scout.
However, it is unlikely the flat tracker will be based on the low-slung Scout frame, according to multi AMA Grand National Champion Jared Mees who will race the bike.
“We will have a lot of work to do to develop a 100% new race platform,” he says.
It not only requires a new platform, but also a new engine as the one in the photo does not look too similar to the current 1133cc and 983cc engine from the Scout and Scout Sixty.
However, if they can drop the capacity over 150cc in the Scout, perhaps they could drop the capacity in the 750cc race engine by 100cc so it becomes a learner-approved motorcycle in Australia and New Zealand!
Steve Menneto, President of Motorcycles for Polaris Industries says the Indian Chief and Scout are the cornerstones of their production line-up.
“Now is the time for us to return to racing in a big way,” he says.
Is it also the time to break into naked sports bikes as well?
Victory already has the 1100cc water-cooled Project 156 naked racer which stormed Pikes Peak last year and returns for another tilt at the 100th international hillclimb in July.
These are all big hints that Polaris-owned Indian and/or Victory will soon produce a production naked sports bike.