American Flat Track's big cheeses ordered a rewrite of the 2022 rulebook to allow KTM to race their parallel twin. Before that, the 890cc Austrian was too big for the Twins classes. With the door open Wally Brown Racing saw an opportunity to move from the Singles class to Twins. Team owner Wally gave us the lowdown on the decision, the bike and its early races, with James Rispoli, on board for out current issue. The team are only contesting the mile races (so far, at least), but they won first time out.
Read about the Wally Brown Racing KTM 890 in Sideburn 50. Photo: Scott Hunter.
Still not publicly confirmed is whether the proposed merging of Production Twins and SuperTwins, into one single Twins class is going to happen in 2023, as was outlined earlier this year. It is already September. The 2023 season starts in just over six months and no plans have been made public. We've already seen the first steps towards the merger this season, with the top finishers from the Production Twins race invited/encouraged to race in the SuperTwins Main just a few minutes later. There's room for them, because the SuperTwins class has shrunk further this season, with Brandon Price dropping from an ever-present to a less regular attendee.
If there is a combined twins class then at least one of the following is going to happen:
A. The Indian FTR750 is restricted even further to allow the Production Twins to get close to it. If this happens who is going to be left on an Indian?
B. The Estenson Yamahas have their traction control and 'twingling' privileges revoked. If they don't reign in the top Yamahas then they will simply blitz the privateers. And if they do change the rules regarding the Yams, they will definitely have to restrict the Indians further or they are just handed the advantage back.
C. If the SuperTwins are not reigned in, and significantly, the air-cooled Royal Enfield will struggle to compete on anything but short tracks. The stock Royal Enfield engine is already giving away 240cc or so, to the KTM, and putting up a heck of a fight in Production Twins, but making a step to compete with current SuperTwins seems unlikely.
Enfield have invested heavily in the series, both with a factory-supported team, but also the women-only Build.Train.Race class, that is bringing something new to the sport. They must be confused by the change of direction after committing to a class that might be
The Enfield team can bore the barrels out to increase capacity, but only so far until it breaks through or compromises the cases.
D. There's some kind of club racing fudge that sees two separate classes racing at the same time, to different rules, with two podiums for one main. So, the three best Production Twins on the night could come 8th, 10, and 15th, but still get a 1-2-3 podium. Not too different to what they are doing now, but with a podium. Why do this? To get away from the spectacle of five riders in a semi, and eleven riders in a main.
E. The class goes full Production mode, outlawing the Indian FTR750, and encouraging Indian to race a road bike engine they manufacture. If Royal Enfield can do it...
There would be no traction control, no crank weighting, no twingling, no sophisticated electronics. This was, after all, the plan just prior to Indian gaining permission to build and race the FTR750.
F. None of the above. The combined Twins class is shelved and AFT continues with two half-full grids.
More turbulence on the horizon...