Indian's Triumphant Return to AMA Flat Track Racing

Discussion in 'Indian Motorcycle News' started by NickJ, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. NickJ

    NickJ Administrator
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    Photo: Indian Motorcycle

    Indian's Triumphant Return to AMA Flat Track Racing

    Yesterday, Sept 25th, marked the first time since 1953 that a factory backed Indian Motorcycle lined up for an AMA Flat Track race. Indian Motorcycle Racing fielded their new FTR750 at the last Flat Track event of the AMA season as a glimpse into the next season of racing.

    Joe Kopp came out of retirement to pilot the FTR750, that has been under development and testing for months, at the Ramspur Winery Santa Rosa Mile. The day before the race, the Indian FTR750 debuted itself to the public for the first time on track.

    In his first heat race, Kopp grabbed the holeshot and was able to hold off the Harley Davidson 750s in the long straights of the mile-long race. The Harley machines were able to reel the FTR750 back in the corners, but the Indian had the drive and horsepower to pull them back on the straights.

    Leader, Brad Baker had an engine failure late in the race and had a DNF result. Brandon Robinson, a privateer Harley 750 rider, was able to edge Kopp out on the Indian for the top spot on the podium. In a great show of sportsmanship Kopp headed back around the oval to give Baker a push from the back stretch back to the paddock.

    With a top 4 finish, Kopp was secured a spot in the Main. The top 4 finishers of each heat race transfer to the main and the remaining riders must battle it out in two Semis. Baker was able to swap bikes and start at the back of the pack for his Semi race. With some terrific riding, he was able to secure one of the remaining spots in the main by getting a spot on the podium, as the top 3 finishers advance to the Main.

    After the Semi races, the Dash for Cash was lined up for some manufacturer bragging rights and $2500 going to the winning rider. In a very exciting race, Harley and Indian were dicing it up in the corners and the FTR750 was able to pull ahead in the straights and fend off the HDs in the corners. Kopp, 48 years old, was able to edge out the Harley contingent and take the top step on the podium and with both those bragging rights and cash in his pocket.

    Kopp_IndianFTR750_Santa_Rosa-10.jpg
    The lineup for the Main was set and it was time for the Indian v. Harley showdown to begin. Kopp once again got the holeshot and ran away from the pack along the back stretch. He was able to keep the lead all the way through lap 1 but was being stalked by Brad Baker on his Harley. Within a few laps, Kopp had fallen to 4th while the racers in contention for the Championship led the race.

    As the race wore on, Jared Mees was able to overtake Kopp to take 4th. Once in the dust, the Indian fell rapidly to 9th place. Baker continued to expand his lead over the rest of the pack. Mees continued to push his pace, make some big passes and needed to make up 6 seconds in 15 laps to overtake one more position and position himself for the Championship win.

    While Baker was well ahead of the pack, the real race was for 2nd place and the Championship between Jared Mees and Brad Baker. It was a hell of a race as well. On the last lap, Mees capitalized on a Smith mistake and was able to overtake the Ninja 650, but it was for naught. While Mees was carried wide by his momentum in the last corner, Smith was able to sneak back inside on the tight line and retook his position for the second spot and his first Grand National Championship.

    Kopp was able to work his way up to a 7th place finish. This was likely a strategy adopted by the Indian Racing team as a win or podium finish would have done nothing but interrupt the season-long battle for the championship. By getting out front and leading a lap, Indian was able to prove that it was going to be a force to be reckoned with next season. The FTR750 will take the off-season to continue to test, tune, and hopefully be able to tighten things up in the corners, where it showed the most weakness this weekend.

    We are very excited to see the battles next season. It looks like it will be between the Harley XR750s, the Indian FTR750s, and the Kawasaki Ninja 650s. I am looking forward to see how many factory bikes Indian will field next year. More to come on that soon.

    Full Race Results here: Santa Rosa Mile AMA Flat Track Race Results | Indian Rider - Indian Motorcycle Forums
     

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    #1 NickJ, Sep 26, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
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  2. sidecarsam

    sidecarsam Gold Member
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    And are they (Indian) going to sell some version of the FTR750 to the public? I, for one, hope so.
     
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  3. NickJ

    NickJ Administrator
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    The bike is a race only machine that will likely be available to a select group of racers, so they can tailor who gets to ride for them and get their machines on the podium as much as possible.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the engine, in some form, ends up in a street machine, but I imagine that is a ways off.
     
  4. sidecarsam

    sidecarsam Gold Member
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    Hmm. Maybe the could put the engine in a Dual Sport, like the KLR650 or the F800GS. I would LOVE that. :)
     
  5. Baldhead_J

    Baldhead_J Gold Member
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    Thanks for the update. I look forward to more of this with a new rider and some tuning next year.
     
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  6. Drydock

    Drydock Well-Known Member

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    I want a leather jacket like that.
     
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  7. NickJ

    NickJ Administrator
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    Based on the number of IMRacing polos I saw in my social media feeds, you might just get your wish.
     
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