The second of four back-to-back AFT rounds takes place at the Sacramento Mile today. Watch it on fanschoice.tv
Is it going to be another Indian FTR750 whitewash? Very possibly. Sammy Halbert is coming close on his Estenson Racing Yamaha FZ-07. Meanwhile, the factory Harleys are looking further away than they did at the Daytona TT, round one. Only Jake Johnson made the main at last weekend's Arizona Mile and he came 14th. Coolbeth and Robinson, some of the best mile riders around, didn't even make the main. Johnson's XG750R was the only Harley in the whole main.
I'd love to know what the problem is with the new bike. Is it power? You wouldn't think so, Vance & Hines, who run the team for Harley are expert tuners. Surely they can get 95-100bhp out of a fuel-injected 750 twin. Is it power delivery? The bike is fuel-injected, they can fit whatever ignition they like, this isn't a proddie bike class. Is it chassis? There's enough knowledge out there to get a chro-mo chassis working.
Is it all three and more, in small degrees that add up to two seconds a lap, even for an expert mile man like Coolbeth? It's a vicious circle though, because if the bike isn't right and the riders aren't feeling progress are being made, they're not going to put their necks on the line on an under-performing bike, so it doesn't improve, the team get more demoralised, the riders morale suffers more.
Hopefully they've found a solution between last week and this week, as unlikely as that seems. If not, someone has to swallow some pride and bring someone in to sort out the XG750R project, because this can't continue for a company with the emotional and historical investment in flat track. Or, worse than that, H-D look at strong touring bike sales and think perhaps they don't need flat track after all and step back from it.
Read what we think about the 2017 American Flat Track shake-up in Sideburn 29 in an 11-page deep thinking dissection.
Read about when we rode the Indian FTR750 in Sideburn 27.