Yesterday American Flat Track and Harley-Davidson announced a huge contingency fund to A: Support privateers who have kept the faith with Milwaukee machinery B. Stem the tide of privateers choosing to buy Indian FTR750s for the 2018 season. This is what the press release said:
Harley-Davidson announced today its 2018 American Flat Track Contingency Program totaling $562,500 – the largest contingency posting in the 65-year history of the sport. The contingency payouts are available exclusively to privateer riders mounted on either Harley-Davidson XG750R or XR750 machines.
A total of $31,250 will be offered by Harley-Davidson at each of the 18 American Flat Track rounds in 2018. The contingency payout is structured as follows:
To be eligible to collect contingency payouts while competing on the XG750R, riders are required to run the official Harley-Davidson factory bodywork.
So while I've made no secret of the fact I'm not a huge fan of contingency payments, a rider like Jeffrey Carver (pictured above winning the Texas round in 2017 on an XR750. Photo courtesy of AFT) could pick up $15,000-$20,000 or more in extra prize money over the season, for riding the same machine, to the same results, as he did in 2017 (though he swapped between manufacturers this year, sometimes racing a Kawasaki).
Some of the comments section under the post on AFT's official instagram were so wrongheaded I felt I should comment (that was my first mistake.). Anyway, here's the transcribe, with all my typos included, that I was doing when I should have been enjoying my time inbetween acts at the Gorillaz gig at the O2 London.
This is the original comment. The name in red is the user name of the private account (that means no one can see their feed without being accepted. Trolls often remain private, but not all private accounts are trolls of course.) I'm going to change the names, because I don't want to turn into a troll by calling people out.
hbomb Still gotta thank Indian for the largest contingency package ever....HD would not of had to step up without Indian Motorcycle jumping in and messing up their playground...
This is my reply, then it goes back and forth...
sideburnmag @hbomb512 Harley were integral in keeping the sport alive for the last 30 years.
hbomb512 @sideburnmag ask Honda how that worked out...
sideburnmag @hbomd512 what are you taking about? Honda came for three years, threw a massive budget it it then left & NEVER came back. HD stayed, through thick & thin, paying riders, sponsoring racers, encouraging fans to attend races while every other manufacturer left the sport.
harleynot @sideburnmag Honda came in, won everything. Harley complained, got the rules changed. Honda proved their point and moved along. Got your journalism ears to the ground? Harley is whining again about a competitors engine... ask around. Hell, google it...
sideburnmag @hbomb512 we're fans of the sport not one manufacturer. The sport would be DEAD without HD. So you think only HD are upset that Indian got a free pass to race a prototype? Why did Triumph leave? Ducati came for half a season then skedaddled. Why are there ZERO other factory teams? Indian didn't break any rules, it's time for someone else to win. I'm not anti Indian, you'd know if you read Sideburn, but don't knock HD for supporting a sport they've competed in for 100 years. It doesn't make sense.
Then someone else joined in, backing up harleynot
drewj26 @hbomb512 I agree man. I don't see how they think you are dogging HD. Indian is making the sport move forward now HD, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and others have to step up there game. Back in the day when Kenny Roberts put a Yamaha TZ750 engine in a flat track frame and the bike was band from the sport. Instead of stepping up there game people get pissed. I think Indian is doing this sport wonders.
sideburnmag @drewj26 the TZ750 was never banned. The US Yamaha team chose to withdraw it
drewj26 @sideburnmag it also was banned though. Kenny Roberts Yamaha's factory racer of the time said the famous line "They don't pay me enough to ride that thing". But it also was banned from flat track competition after the first race. So yes Yamaha did pull it out of competition but it also was banned.
My well reasoned facts, badly typed facts were tilting social media on its head. This couldn't be allowed to happen so back-up was called for to argue the point and someone else called me out, with the catch all caveat 'that's what I heard'
shotc @sideburnmag ya I’m pretty sure it was banned or atleast that’s what I heard...
sideburnmag @shotc I've interviewed Kel Carruthers who ran the team Roberts races for and he said they decided to stop racing it. Rules to limit race bikes to two cylinders followed later. Yamaha made their own decision according to someone who was actually at the centre of it
sideburnmag @shotc Yamaha agreed with the decision. It wasn't banning it because it won one race, but because people would get badly hurt on them
That's when I gave up and got back on with my life...