Indian Wrecking Crew Continues To Dominate The 2017 American Flat Track Championship

Yesterday evening, leading the charge around Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arizona was reigning Grand National Champion Bryan Smith. Smith drew upon every last ounce of his trademark Mile magic to position his No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750 ahead of the identical No. 6 Indian Scout FTR750 of Brad Baker at the checkered flag by a scant 0.057 seconds. It was the fourth sweep of the factory Indian Motorcycle trio. Smith now sits perfectly even on top of the AFT Twins title fight with Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) at 87 a piece. Mees retained a share of the points lead by furthering his season-long string of podium results with a close third.

Following two red flags and with the sun quickly headed to the horizon, the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event was reconfigured into a dramatic five-lap shootout. At the second and final restart, Baker again resumed his place at the front of the field and appeared well on his way to grabbing his first victory of 2017. However, Smith had other ideas, ducking down the inside at the opening of the penultimate lap and held strong from there. Thanks to the combined efforts of Smith and Mees early in 2017, the Indian Scout FTR750 has now opened its first full season of American Flat Track competition by claiming a victory in each Grand Slam discipline (TT, Short Track, Half-Mile, Mile).

Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Richie Morris Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650) completed the top five, finishing just ahead of the similarly mounted Briar Bauman (No. 14 Zanotti Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650) andJake Shoemaker (No. 55 Weirbach Racing Kawasaki USA Kawasaki Ninja 650).

Harley-Davidson’s early-season woes continued at Turf Paradise. Jake Johnson (No. 5 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) was the only rider among the firm’s trio of factory-backed talents to make the Main Event. To make matters worse, Johnson’s day then ended in a crash which brought out one of the aforementioned red flags.

You can follow American Flat Track Races with live stream at Fans Choice TV and catch all the American Flat Track racing action on NBCSP.

17 Responses to “Indian Wrecking Crew Continues To Dominate The 2017 American Flat Track Championship”

  1. 1 Aaron! May 14th, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Indian is humiliating HD again just like back in the day.
    Maybe HD should’ve worked on a new design instead of having the rules changed in their favour the last 40 odd years?
    The “rushed to the race track” 750 Street based bike is a slug.

  2. 2 Ray May 14th, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I bet that at the end of the season Harley will have a zero podium result.

  3. 3 NoH2oh May 15th, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Pretty darn good results for a first year team. First season bike packahe as well.

    Now, Indian, make a performance focused bike please.

  4. 4 Coffeebeans May 15th, 2017 at 8:56 am

    If you’ve seen the actual races, the Indians are just running away from the pack.
    Nothing else is even close.
    It’s sorta like golf legend Bobby Jones’ quote about Jack Nicklaus: “He is playing a game with which I am not familiar.”

    There was a meme posted on the internet over the weekend, with a picture of the FTR 750, and the caption read something like “Indian brought a gun to a knife fight…”
    No kidding.

    Any bets on how long it’ll be before Harley-Davidson is crying foul to the rules committee, like they did with Honda?

  5. 5 Train May 15th, 2017 at 9:03 am

    AMA/American Flat Track is bending their own rules to suit Polaris. The Indian is a max effort prototype racing engine designed and built in Europe by Swissauto. Polaris did not design nor do they build the engine or the motorcycle. Polaris was given a pass with this race motor. Probably to bribe them into the series.

    The Polaris-Indian is the dirt racing equivalent of a F1 car or Moto GP Bike. Awesome!

    The new H-D is a commuter bike motor bolted into a race frame. Lame!

    Good for Polaris! I hope H-D does the same thing.

  6. 6 Hillbilly Jim May 15th, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Until it really hits the moco in the wallet, they’ll do absolutely nothing.

  7. 7 Coffeebeans May 15th, 2017 at 9:25 am


    Swissauto is wholly owned by Polaris, so saying Polaris didn’t design or build the motorcycle is not exactly correct. It was designed and built by a Polaris company, and the ‘rules bending’ is not really accurate either. The rules were followed to the letter.
    Indian has one year to either have a bike based on the FTR 750 for sale, or lose it’s exemption.
    Any manufacturer can do exactly the same thing Polaris did.
    HD, Yamaha and Kawasaki just DIDN’T.

  8. 8 kent May 15th, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Some Harley fans are into alternative facts, just admit it, Harley had a fifty year break and they squandered it. Bucks instead of performance, just look at the prices on their bikes.

  9. 9 Stony Crane May 15th, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Indian got the right formula and the right riders too!

  10. 10 SYF May 15th, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I don’t think you guys are giving the riders any credit.
    What if the Indian rider swapped bikes with the H-D?
    At this level of racing, I’m not sure Harley has been asleep or that their engine is just a “commuter” bike engine.
    Both bikes make 100+ HP and should be pretty competitive, but given the best rider, one will always win.

  11. 11 Doug Wozney May 15th, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Looks like H-D has spent so much time slanting the rules in their favor with the Pro-Stock Motorcycle class in NHRA over the last few years that they haven’t devoted enough time to do some back-scratching in Flat track… 😉

  12. 12 fuji May 15th, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Polaris wants to be number one in flat track racing.

    To do so they had to go after the team with the biggest target on their back and that was Howerton racing ,Bryan Smith the rider on a Kawasaki. national number #1 .

    The big game isn’t Indian verses Harley as they want to promote but the other teams such as Kawasaki
    Yamaha etc.

    Kawasaki has been the twins “champion for the last four years ” and over 50% of the field are on Kawasaki’s so to pretend that Harley’s have owned flat track is misleading.

  13. 13 BCKustoms May 16th, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Indian’s not racing the same Championship. Indian put much more money in that project. Either HD and privateers can not reach such performance. HD could have done so also. So it’s not Indian vs Harley, it’s Indian vs rest of the field. For me, American Flat Track is responsible of that: They put so much efforts in that Championship promotion but they now allow Indian to erase their effort by having prototypes with F1 engineered engines against the others. OK: Indian has 3 top riders but last years, they were still battling with the others. They won Championships ’cause they were having results along the all Championship. It’s time now to modify the regulations: They have to add restrictions on Indian or to remove some restrictions on the other bikes. The ache with second solutions would be performances to raise until a dangerous limit which would cause serious accidents, point AMA doesn’t want to finish that 20017 Championship the worst way. Come on AFT!! It’s your time now to balance teh forces and keep this Championship attractive.

  14. 14 fuji May 16th, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    BCK AMA Flat track has been hiding in the dark ages for years.

    DMG has put light on the sport thanks to new management., maybe not perfect but more in step than before.

    The rules that you suggest are very similar to the rules that put Flat Track in decline particularly in the 1980’s.

    Manufactures of various brands are reluctant to invest in the sport , engineering, time ,money etc and then have rule changes to benefit the company that was lax on design.

    Proven fact back in the 1980’s Honda dominated flat track for several years with the African twin 750 cc engine [not a Harley clone] only to be penalized with extra weight etc, then eventually dismissed because it cost to much to maintain as per the AMA sanction body.

    Why do we want to go backwards unless its to benefit a particular brand.

    What would be interesting to see is Bryan Smith on his Howerton Kawasaki against the field.

  15. 15 fuji May 16th, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    BCKusstom. Good points, so if you win this week you should have to add 15pounds for the next race so the slower bikes have a chance to win. that way every one gets to win eventually.

    Look at all the money you would save trying to make your bike faster or handle better.

    Shame on Indian for building a better mouse trap.

    Maybe we should go back to an all XR 750 because we know they are cheap to operate and maintain. Right !

  16. 16 Train May 17th, 2017 at 10:10 am


    I don’t understand why everyone loves it when companies go outside their doors for engineering expertise. Except H-D (or GM.)

    All I ever hear about the V-Rod motor.”its a Porsche design,bla bla bla. Then the H-D drag Racing Team. “its got Zero H-D parts, Its all Billet, Designed by Vance& Hines Bla Bla Bla. So what? The Suzukis in NHRA are 100% custom race motors also. and H-D’s relationship with Porsche goes back to early Evo Development.

    All motor companies hire outside contract engineering. The only difference is that Polaris bought the resource (Swissauto) rather than pay them. Nothing wrong with it. I just get sick of the double standard.

    I know that Polaris followed the rules “to the letter”. They helped write the rules. Just like H-D did in the 1970’s and 1980’s

  17. 17 Tim Weaver May 29th, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    There’s really no reason for The Motor Company to spend the money building a competitive engine to race against the Indians and metric bikes. Most of their current customer base have never been to a flat track race and have no interest in it whatsoever. The era of going to races as moto-social events is over. I find this sad but it’s true.

    Prediction? Indian will win the battles but end up losing the war that matters–the sales war.

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Cyril Huze