Judging from a few bits of news popping up around the Interwebz, it seems Indian might be planning to finally start another race program, with a return to flat tracking.
Since the introduction of Project 156 last year, it’s looked like Polaris subsidiaries Victory and Indian are splitting duties: Victory appeared to be aiming for the performance market, while Indian focused on retro machines with lots of chrome and tassels. Now this looks like it might not be the case.
Motorcycle.com is reporting the AMA has approved an Indian 750 for flat track racing. Hrm. There’s no 750 cc motor in Indian’s lineup right now, and there’s nothing even remotely resembling a flat tracker in their showrooms. Even last year’s Project 156 — a tracker-style bike built around an engine derived (it appears) from the motor in the Indian Scout — bore the Victory brand.
But this week, along with the AMA announcement there’s also an Indian press release about their SuperHooligan race series, using Scout 60 motorcycles as base models for flat trackers. This appears to be a sort of exhibition series that is going to travel to high-profile bike events; it ran at the the Mama Tried custom show and also at The One Show.
The bikes were built in conjunction with Roland Sands Design, the same racer-led outfit that built Project 156. The title photo shows one in action at Mama Tried.
Polaris has already proven quite willing to mess around with that liquid-cooled powerplant from the Indian Scout (there are two versions for the Scout, and it appears the Victory Octane also uses a permutation of that motor), so it’s not hard to imagine a sleeved-down version (or maybe with shorter stroke?) in a flat track chassis.
If we really do see Indian take up racing, that’s good news. Race programs breed better motorcycles, as long as what’s learned is passed on to development and design teams. Harley-Davidson dominated flat track racing for decades (partly thanks to rules favouring its XR750), yet never seemed interested in applying its track know-how to its street lineup. If Indian can avoid that trap, the future could be bright for America’s reborn cruiser company.