An old saying goes, “Racing improves the breed,” and it seems Royal Enfield is taking that principle to heart. The Indian manufacturer is launching a new spec series for its Continental GT650 cafe racer.
Alas, the new Royal Enfield Continental GT Cup is only slated to run in India … at least, for now. However, it seems Royal Enfield’s headed in the right direction with this four-weekend series, with three races in late 2021 and one in early 2022. They’re making sure the riders who participate can do so safely, and they’re setting out a plan to bring more riders into the racing world, which is the biggest problem that race series face these days.
To get into the races, there’s an online application system that closes at end of September. Royal Enfield will take those applicants and narrow the field down to 100 riders considered for the first event; from those 100, only 18 will actually head to the track for the first race.
It’s a massive cull, but Royal Enfield certainly doesn’t need a few dozen hoons on-track running into each other with their racebikes.
Furthermore, Royal Enfield is requiring racers to have proof of attending a track school and track day, as well as proof of participating in the FMSCI race series, and a valid race licence. They also require a medical fitness certificate, and dual COVID-19 vaccination, and some personal safety equipment. Presumably, Royal Enfield will provide the rest of their safety gear.
It also appears from reading India’s moto-press that all 18 riders will be on machines provided and prepped by Royal Enfield. These will actually be the Continental GT-R650, a race-only variant of the machine. No doubt the engine will see different tuning to make more horsepower, and we’d also expect upgraded suspension, tires, and other changes.
The race series is run with help from the Federation of Motorsports Club of India and JK Tyre Motorsports. Once this season is over, Royal Enfield says it plans to open race schools across India, giving a new generation of riders go-fast skills.
What about here in North America? Royal Enfield has teamed up with MotoAmerica and American Flat Track to run exhibition races featuring amateurs, and even has the MotoAnatomy team in the AMA’s flat track series. However, at this point, there’s been no gossip about a spec series based around Royal Enfield’s bikes, far as we’ve heard—given the relatively sparse dealer network in many regions, it seems unlikely the company would be able to drive much interest.
However, a few years down the road, perhaps that could change. There’s always interest in a well-run spec series, and some of the toughest-fought battles in racing come from series based around a single model, or series that descended from spec series (like the current CSBK Lightweight Sport Bike series, a spiritual successor to the CBR125 and CBR250 spec series of a decade ago). A Royal Enfield-based series might even bring a new element to the track, and put the “racer” back into “cafe racer.”