Gary Birtwistle officially sewed up his first DTRA Twins title at the final round of the season, but it was in little doubt. It was also Royal Enfield's back-to-back championship win in the same series. We are huge fans of how Enfield have moved into the dirt track world, what they've brought to UK and US racing, and also the focus and professionalism Gary approaches his racing with.
Birtwistle picked up an injury last year, opening the door for his team-mate, and Royal Enfield roadbike development rider, Paul Young to win Enfield's first dirt track national title. Gary wasn't going to let it happen again. He dominated every round, despite his team-mate riding like a man possessed.
It would take a special rider to beat Birty in the Twins class, and the only downside of the team's UK success is the fact that the Royal Enfield effort is so strong, so professional, the racers so good, that very few riders are joining the Twins class to challenge them. What are Enfield supposed to do? Put worse riders on? Put a cup of diesel in the petrol tank? They're doing what teams are supposed to, but they seem to have scared most of the opposition off. A handful of riders have competed in Twins, but, with all due respect, no one the calibre of the combination of Birty and the Enfield.
The Twins race with the Thunderbikes (mainly framer singles, and modified roadbike singles, lots of Rotaxs and Yamahas). On occasion the fastest Thunderbike riders have beaten one of the Enfields, but never the one with Birtwistle on board. Birty is unbeaten in the class when he's started a race. He also won his first Pro class championship this year, on the Evolve Motorsports Husqvarna 450, making it a double title season. He won every round of the pro series, except the final one, when Jeffrey Carver beat him.
If anyone isn't clear, the difference between the DTRA's Hooligan and Twins class is that Hooligans must have standard road frames, from the same model of bike as the engine, and the Twins must have custom frames. I'd like to see Jack Bell, on the Devitt Vanoni Ducati Scrambler 1200 hooligan race against the Twins. It seems a better fit than Twins against Thunders.
Adrian Sellers, head of Royal Enfield’s Custom and Motorsports programmes, and father of Twin FT, said 'Royal Enfield’s transatlantic racing programme has achieved back to back success with just 24 months of development, from concept to the completion of a second winning season. Our in-house powertrain engineers combined with the expertise of Harris Performance’s chassis development team, all share a genuine passion and confidence in the race team and our committed riders, that has driven us to develop a championship-winning machine that is truly competitive on the world stage, spearheaded by completion in the DTRA and AFT series.'
We have featured the US and UK Royal Enfield Twin FT racers a few times in the magazine.
SB47: Sideburn exclusive track test of the UK Twin FT
SB43: Johnny Lewis's first AFT win on the Twin FT + Interview with Adrian Sellers
SB41: Development of the AFT Production Twin race bike written by Johnny Lewis
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