Flat Track, formerly a Harley playground, changes rules mid season to reign in the dominant Indians

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7/15/2021 11:26 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/15/2021 11:28 AM

https://www.cyclenews.com/2021/07/article/american-flat-track-supertwins-rules-update-for-the-2021-season/

We can only dream of MX Sports and Feld leveling the playing field for 2t's and electrics and homologation.

"However, at minimum, these changes seem to be about sending an unmistakable message — both to Indian and the other manufacturers (those already participating at some level and others who may be tempted to)—concerning a very real commitment to create a more balanced battleground that will lead to a larger, more diverse field and less predictable results"

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7/15/2021 11:43 AM

AMA has been tweaking the rules of Class C racing since the beginning of time. Way back they tried to open it up and Honda developed the RS750 that put the Harleys on the trailer and they changed the rules almost as fast to handicap the Hondas. Honda promptly took their ball and went home. They stayed the same for a long time until this latest iteration and the Indians have been killing it. We'll see what happens with these new rules.

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7/15/2021 11:58 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/15/2021 12:49 PM

hahaha....it's supposed to be the "premier" flat track racing class in the world, but it has been and continues to be a rules package class aimed around giving Harley Davidson a chance to compete for wins.

Harley has had DECADES to be better with their R&D to make a better chassis, a more potent motor, and overall a better racing machine. However, they refuse to develop in ways that are innovative enough to make a serious race machine. They are more or less still running the same package and program for the last ~15 years now.

Indian comes in with a brand new machine, that they sunk millions of $ in to develop, and immediately sees good results because they brought a superior machine to the class. Better design and engineering, more power, and better handling have set the Indian as the benchmark since it became available. And they did it all within the AFT rules at the time.

And now AFT wants to slap Indian on the wrist for having such a good bike because the piss-poor HD Vance & Hines team still can't get their shit together and develop a better race bike. This isn't about having a more even playing field, as they say, its about politics specifically targeted to appease HD and keep them limping along.

I don't get it. AFT should be opening up the rules package to foster innovation and development to make bikes faster AND safer for riders. Yet they want it to be more of a limited class where the technologically challenged HD bike always has a "chance" at competing. Yamaha is seeing some success with the MT platform and I believe they are closing in on the Indian platform. I can't wait until KTM gets a twin class bike together and they join the field with Indian and Yamaha and just make HD all but extinct in flat track racing.

AFT....you want this to be a serious class....open up the rules and allow manufactures to innovate. This is the equivalent of AMA/MX Sport re-defining the 450 MX rules down to Suzuki's platform...ie no e-start, heavier min weight limits, less HP from the engine, etc. which would essentially penalize Honda/KTM/Yam/Kaw for their continued development of race bikes over the last 10 years.

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7/15/2021 12:25 PM

This is the exact reason class C racing all but died out, Harley crying and the the AMA changed the rules to handicap everyone else. Class C has made a bit of a come back over the last few years but will soon die out again. Bottom line is Harley hasn't made a competitive bike since the 1970s. All the AFT is a a new name for the AMA who screwed flat track so bad that its a county fair side show at best.

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Ed Johnson

7/15/2021 12:48 PM

ban the AMA. Back in the 1980's Honda dominated Flat track even after they had to add weight 2 times and add restrictors. The Milwaukee company obviously can not build a competitive race bike. Kind of like holding the whole 3rd grade class because one person did not apply themselves. Back when the mile, half and tt were in their heyday, many of these racers became road race world champions or top contenders.

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7/15/2021 12:48 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/15/2021 1:16 PM

The part you guys are missing is that Harley Davidson was told that the Twins class would become production-based (meaning, based off a production street bike motor). So they moved on from the XR750, and created the XG. Then Indian shows interest in flat track racing, AFT sees dollar signs, and they are allowed to bring in the race-specific FTR750, which catches everyone by surprise.

Everyone keeps blaming this latest set of rule changes on solely on Harley. There’s more Yamahas in the class, and more money behind the Estenson Yamaha team at this point. Very little HD factory involvement anymore.

I’m not a Harley fan, especially the way they piss and moan to get their way. The same could easily be said about Honda in MX and road racing, though. So that’s the irony behind them leaving flat track in the ‘80s.

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7/15/2021 12:56 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/15/2021 12:58 PM

mxtech1 wrote:

hahaha....it's supposed to be the "premier" flat track racing class in the world, but it has been and continues to be a rules ...more

You are right about much, but you should read the article. This is about protecting guys running showroom Indians against factory Indians, there are certain things that can't be done on the showroom models.

The AMA doesn't make rules anymore, the promoter that owns the series (Michael Lock) and is trying to fill the seats (and market TV) does. There have been several changes in the last few years.

Most are missing the point I'm trying to make, nothing ever changes in MX worth mentioning. This is not about Harley, they are already dead in flat track.

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7/15/2021 1:24 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/15/2021 1:25 PM

Johnny Depp wrote:

You are right about much, but you should read the article. This is about protecting guys running showroom Indians against ...more

I read the entire article. I guess I had a different interpretation on what it means than you did. But then again, most of the quotes and responses from the involved parties were generic and beating-around-the-bush so it's easy to interpret this several different ways on how it's going to impact the field.

To my knowledge, most of the top racers are not racing the showroom Indian FTR model. Rather, they are buying the purpose built FTR750 race bike that is available for $50k. So, if you have the money and can get an order filled, anyone has access to this bike technically making it a "production" offering. I think this is where the rule is being applied. Rather than being able to go all in and buy the race prepped bike from Indian at $50k, which essentially is closer to a "spec" bike for all those riders, they want riders to start with the "showroom" FTR750 and then build it into a racer from there. Why? To take a "showroom" FTR750 and make it competitive, it would need extensive frame mods, a different swingarm, extensive motor upgrades, aftermarket suspension, exhaust, new triple trees, racing bodywork, racing wheels, etc....probably can't do that for $50k by the time you factor in the original purchase price.

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7/15/2021 2:47 PM

"Show Room FTR750" ???????????

There is No such bloody thing. There's the FTR750 Race Bike, and No FTR750 Street Bike ( and the FTR1200 has nothing in common with the FTR750, other than colour ) comparable to various brand parallel twin Road Bikes, and the XG750. Yes, you can buy an XGR750 through Vance and Hines as a 'ready to race' Flat Tracker, but it's so far behind the FTR750 Indians it's not funny.

It's Not about helping the privateers on FTR750s. Yes, certainly the Indian Team riders will have advantages, but things like the adjustable flywheel weight set up, is a Standard FTR750 race engine feature. Bikes, Engines and parts, are sourced through S&S, as far as I know. And, Indian ( unless it's changed recently - there are now a few FTRs in different liveries), would only give contingency payments to Indian riders if they retained the standard colour scheme, and frame etc. So, you'd get nearly all the bikes looking the same on the track. Not a good look.


Though, the Crosley Howerton Team, has made different chassis, but I don't think Bryan Smith, or anyone has raced them at an AFT National:
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It's about trying to get more bikes in the Supertwins class, that aren't FTR750s.

It's pretty much all in that article.

They've tried this Supertwins 'thing', with 'buy in' & 'presentation' rules ( I think teams had to pay something like $20 /$30K a year, and, maybe even per rider / bike they entered), with limited entries guaranteed / allowed (something like 18, but I'm probably wrong on the number), but they aren't even getting that. AFT were a few years early on this whole glamorization / up marketing of Flat Track. Well, the reality is that it was never going to be a 'glamorous' side of MC sport. Just a Great, minimal BS and Hype, form of real, hard Motorcycle racing, that I, and others love. There's a distinct lack of divas and BS in the sport.


Now, a fair few people have come to regard Indian as the "big bad", like many did with Harley, but hell, They made a Racer to meet the rules as they stood. Other companies could have - and bloody Harley should have , what with their history in Flat Track. But no, they are more interested in selling arseless chaps, bandannas and T shirts.....

If you're interested, chase up Kevin Cameron's articles about the development of the FTR750. The engine was developed / made by Swiss Auto.

So, an Engine / Bike made purely for racing Flat Track, has stomped the hell out of bikes made with Showroom Street Motorcycle Engines. It's no wonder it blew the class apart. Good on Indian. Other manufacturers could have chosen to do so.

But, it's making the "SuperTwins" class, damned near a One Make Class. Even more than it ever was when the majority of bikes were the XR750. The Brit bloke who is running AFT, has make a fair few errors with his Premier Class plans, that's for sure.

I hope Yamaha stick with it, and those on privateer Yamahas and Kawis, the XGRs and now, the Royal Enfield (here's 2 versions - a 3rd type recently won , again, this year) PhotoPhoto stay in the Production Twins, and the 2 / 3 that are in SuperTwins stay. And, of course, hopefully KTM - whatever 'brand' they choose to call the bike - gets into Production Twins. Maybe someone will try with the Aprilia 660 engine as a base. And then there's the plethora of Chinese made Vertical Twin engined brands out there.......whistling

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7/15/2021 3:20 PM

Bearuno wrote:

"Show Room FTR750" ???????????

There is No such bloody thing. There's the FTR750 Race Bike, and No FTR750 Street Bike ( and ...more

Bearuno comes out of the closet.

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7/15/2021 3:24 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/20/2021 1:10 PM

endurox wrote:

ban the AMA. Back in the 1980's Honda dominated Flat track even after they had to add weight 2 times and add restrictors. The ...more

And there was a grand national championship that combined flat track and road racing IIRC.

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