Chris Carr Replies

I sent the Not The Time For Dream Scenarios to Chris Carr for his perusal (it was written in response to his recent podcast) and he replied with this.

There are times I spitball ideas that are a little short on specifics or details. Maybe the way I say certain things gets misinterpreted, maybe not. What I will say to your counter-opinion, is that I am not offended that you don’t agree with what I have stated. The fact that you made a point to post a counter opinion on your blog tells me that we are at least, gaining traction (pun intended) outside the AFT regular community.

At some point, I will follow up on your blog on the podcast. Until then, I will counter a couple of your counter points.

MX and or SX, yes, they are at 450cc. That did not come to be out of thin air. First there was the YZ400, then the YZ426, and then the CRF450. After the Honda came out, it was then that the OEMs and the sanctioning bodies put a stop to the growth in size of new models and a cap of 450cc was agreed upon by all parties as the basis for displacement. It was, naturally adopted, over time, as the basis for entry level professional flat track. CC

This makes sense, but it doesn't change the point I was making. AFT used someone else's well-established engine rules and made it the basis for a good AFT Singles class. It didn't make the engine rules. GI

I am a firm believer that AFT, and the manufacturers, have gone too far up in displacement, I think there is a number that can be agreed upon by enough manufacturers in SuperTwins. Each OEM can still promote their model. Example: Let’s say that engine displacement in SuperTwins was agreed by each OEM that wished to promote their production bikes were capped, for competition purposes at say, 825cc, that KTM could still promote their 890cc models as long as they met the competition displacement cap of 825cc? Or any number agreed to by all. CC

This makes sense, but without a basis in production engines and the exclusion of race-only engines the situation does not change. I don't doubt that AFT can and should set a cc limit, weight limits and other tech limits that are agreed by consensus (even if not unanimously), but my point was that OEMs are not going to build race-only engines to compete with Indian's race-only engine. There isn't a desire in the OEM world. AFT simply isn't a big enough draw at the moment. It's a national championship that struggles to attract five-figure crowd numbers to even its biggest races. If the sport wants to attract more manufacturers to a solitary twins class it seems obvious that it must go down the production route, or do what it is now, try to walk a tight rope of limiting the Indian enough for it to get beaten, but not beaten so often that there's no point in it racing and Indian leave. How do you do that? That's what AFT are trying now. And if Indian do leave, who is going to replace them? Pro flat track doesn't have a great record of attracting OEMs to the twin class in a factory-supported basis. GI

SuperCross and MX is capped at 450cc singles, and MotoGP is capped at 1000cc multi-cylinder, and all OEM participants agree to that going in. One is based on production models, and one is prototype. I believe that there is a production-based formula for flat tracking Twin cylinder motorcycles at a certain displacement with a max throttle body mm, with or without ride by wire and/or secondary butterflies, and maybe a maximum crank diameter. They just have to get in a room and agree like they did for the other series. But, that may just be the dreamland scenario to which you are referring to. CC

We're agreed! But this would spell the end for the FTR750 (and Indian's participation, unless the cc limit was 1200, or the FTR1200 could be sleeved down, but it's a big engine, so that's unlikely). Chris has already said he thinks the cc limit is too high, at the newly proposed nearly 900cc, and I bow to his greater knowledge. Race-tuned 750-800cc bikes on dirt in the hands of the best in the world is enough. The dream scenario I was referring to is trying to get OEMs to build race-only dirt track engines, but perhaps I misunderstood where Chris Carr was coming from, and if so I apologise, but I enjoyed thinking about it and writing about it. GI

Remember to listen to Chris Carr's Carr On Two Wheels podcast for great insight and strong opinions wherever you find podcasts (Apple, Soundcloud, Spotify...)

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