Indian Running Away With It

June 5, 2018

The Indian FTR750 is ripping up the 2018 season, just like it did in 2017. The Kentucky Mile saw an all-Indian podium, the fifth consecutive all Indian podium of 2018. The last non-Indian to make a podium was Briar Bauman on the Zanotti Kawasaki at the third round of the season. He was sandwiched between two FTRs. 

 

You want more figures?

 

At the Springfield Mile nine of the top ten were riding FTR750s (the odd man out was Mikey rush on a Yamaha in 8th)

 

At the Sacramento Mile the top seven were on FTR750s.

 

Yamaha's great hope, Jake Johnson, has had an FTR750 bought for him by the Estenson team. 

 

All of the top five in the championship are either full-time Indian riders or privateers who race Indians and other brands (Carver, who has also races an XR750, and Wiles who raced a Kawasaki in the early rounds).

 

But... Harley's revamped XG750 is making some inroads. Brandon Robinson scored a fifth at the Arizona Mile. Sammy Halbert won his heat race (but none of the championship contenders were in it) and came fifth at last weekend's Kentucky Red Mile. Vanderkooi scored a third at Atlanta (after Mees was disqualified for tyre irregularities), but hasn't backed it up.

 

The Indian isn't the first bike to dominate pro flat track. The XR750 did for decades. If there is a difference, it's AFT's desire to introduce more manufacturers (and their sponsorship dollars) into the series. That's the business plan, or part of it. The FTR750's dominance is scaring manufacturers away. 

Triumph aren't making noises about returning. Ducati put up a huge amount of contingency - $181,000 was the headline figure, but they'd only pay out to a Ducati rider to score a top five. A team would get £5000 for a win. To remind you, one Ducati has ever won a GNC twins race EVER! So all that contingency, that seemingly blue chip industry support is smoke and mirrors. There is one Ducati in the series, the Lloyd Brothers bike, and Ducati pulled their direct funding from the team. 

 

Riders are ditching their Kawasaki and Yamaha framers for the FTR750 and immediately scoring podiums (Chad Cose third at Texas and Davis Fisher fourth in his first race on an Indian at Springfield). And who can blame them?

 

Sure, US importers might be giving spares and technical support to teams, but other than Indian and Harley-Davidson, there doesn't seem to be any support for AFT Twins teams other than these kind of contingencies. And the only company paying out contingency money is Indian. 

 

I can't see how AFT can change it. It would need a company like KTM or H-D, to put a huge effort to challenge Indian. But perhaps it doesn't need fixing. One manufacturer and one rider is dominating. That's happened before and flat track survived. 

 

Read when we rode the Indian FTR750 in Sideburn 27

 

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