The DTRA season kicks off this weekend, at the Greenfield TT, and the Royal Enfield factory twins team returns for their second season with the same rider pairing of 2021 Twins Class champ, Paul Young #75 and Gary Birtwistle #11. Birtwistle was leading the championship until injury forced him out, leaving the door open for Royal Enfield's senior road test development rider to take the inaugural class win.
Royal Enfield's involvement in the series is a huge endorsement for the not for profit amateur race series. From my point of view they manage to be incredibly professional (as you would imagine a factory team would be), but with a very light touch. The team leader is Adrian Sellers, who we have interviewed numerous times about the Enfield Twin right back to the first appearance of the concept through to their AFT Production Twins wins, and feel the UK team is an extension of his personality.
It knows what it's doing, it has to look right, it has to perform, but it isn't in anyone's face. They never demand a prime spot in the pits, conversely, they often set up in a corner, or around the back. They don't ask for special treatment, beyond working with the DTRA to introduce a class for the Twin to race in, one that slots between Hooligans and the predominantly single-cylinder Thunderbikes. The Twins class needs more bikes in it, but the speed and success of the bike, especially when Birtwistle is stretching its throttle cable, might have scared off much of the prospective opposition. So the Twins race on track with the Thunderbikes, on the short track-focussed DTRA schedule.
Sellers says, 'With that initial success motivating us going into 2022, we’re excited to once again get out on the track. We all know that defending a championship is even harder and we are very conscious of the pressure that brings with it, never mind the new challenges of the European tracks that we hope to race at as well this year. New tracks, new environments, and new challenges - we couldn’t be happier! Whatever the outcome, we know we’ll learn a lot and have fun in the process. After all, that’s what this is all about.'
For more info on the series, visit dirttrackriders.co.uk
As Sellers says, Royal Enfield also plan to race at select European events, though they are yet to be announced.
The DTRA Royal Enfield Twins, and when I (Sideburn ed) tested it in Sideburn 47
The story of the AFT development & first win with Johnny Lewis in Sideburn 43
The tale of turning a show concept bike into a racer, written by Johnny Lewis, Sideburn 41
The original Twin FT concept in our STORIES section of this website
Now come on someone, use all that to make a replica...