Indian Motorcycle has announced it will be returning to AMA Pro Flat Track for the first time in more than half a century, racing an all-new 750cc liquid-cooled platform.
This news comes hot on the heels of Harley-Davidson’s unveiling of its XG750R –– its first new pro flat track platform in 44 years.
Meanwhile, Indian has not fielded a full-factory racing effort since the 1950s. The Indian Motorcycle Racing Team will contest the series with an all-new and proprietary liquid-cooled 750cc four-valve V-Twin competition engine specifically designed for flat track and engineered into a specially built chassis.
AMA Pro Flat Track is highly competitive and has evolved into a demanding, technical, and specialized event that typically sees bar-to-bar action and sublime motorcycle control at high speeds on varied dirt surfaces.
Indian has a significant history in flat track, at one time dominating the sport with legendary riders and motorcycles. Perhaps best-known was the Indian Motorcycle Wrecking Crew, consisting of Bill Tuman, Bobby Hill, and Ernie Beckman.
Multi-time AMA Grand National Champion Jared Mees will join the Indian Motorcycle Racing Team as a test rider in 2016. Mees, 30, won the AMA Grand National Twins Championship in 2009, AMA Grand National Singles Championship in 2012, and the unified AMA Grand National Championship (GNC1) title in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
“We are very excited to return to the AMA Circuit,” said Steve Menneto, president of motorcycles for Polaris Industries. “We have established the new Indian Chief and Scout series as the cornerstones of our production lineup, and now is the time for us to return to racing in a big way. We know that fans of Indian Motorcycle have been anticipating this announcement and can’t wait to see Indian Racing back in action.”
Meanwhile, Mees, who has spent most of his career racking up wins with the Harley-Davidson XR750 platform, says he’s happy to be heading up Indian’s efforts.
“I can’t express how excited I am to be the guy to bring Indian Motorcycle back into the forefront of AMA Pro competition,” said Mees. “We will have a lot of work to do to develop a 100-percent new race platform, but I’m committed and excited at what I have seen on the drawing boards, and what the plans are for Indian Motorcycle Racing. This is history for the brand, and being a part of it is truly exciting for me and this sport.”
The news is obviously good for American motorcycling, as well. Intensifying the rivalry between Indian and Harley-Davidson is likely to improve the product of both brands. However, as with Harley’s XG750R there appear to be no immediate plans to release a production version of Indian's 750cc platform.
Indian says it will start racing later this year and be ready for a full season of competition in 2017.