Cycle News

Cycle News 2015 Issue 28 July 14

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 28 of 127

IN THE WIND P28 INDIAN TO RETURN TO THE MILE! C ycle News can exclusively reveal that the historic Indian marque will return to the mile and half mile dirt tracks of America next year with a full factory effort, but with the exact date yet to be set. Polaris Industries' Motor- cycle Vice President Steve Men- neto made the announcement to Cycle News' Alan Cathcart in an exclusive interview, which starts this issue on page 80. "In calendar year late 2016 or early 2017 you'll see Indian go racing in AMA [Pro] Flat-Track," Menneto said. "I don't have anything more to tell you at this stage, beyond the fact that the decision has been made, and we're definitely going racing with Indian in the oval-track world with a factory-supported team." Menneto would not disclose further details about the upcom- ing project, while hinting that the company may yet build a 750 twin to take on the hordes of XR Harley-Davidsons head-on in an American dirt track grudge match. "Sorry, that's all I can tell you right now [regarding the engine]. But we're really excited about this, and will give it our best shot!" Menneto said. Polaris has been making serious performance moves of late and has been busy reposi- tioning its Victory range to be the new home of performance motorcycles from America. This year the company has put fac- tory backing behind Matt and Angie Smith's NHRA Pro Stock team with their Victory Gun- ners, as well as racing at the Isle of Man TT with Lee John- ston and Guy Martin with their new Brammo-derived Zero TT electric superbike. There have also been persistent rumors of Victory's desire to compete for speed records at Bonneville, not to mention the huge undertaking that was the Pikes Peak Project 156 with rider Don Canet and engineering partner, Roland Sands Design. The decision to bring Indian back to the mile ovals of Amer- ica rather than Victory is the counterpoint to this, given the 114-year old brand's glorious his- tory of serial success in dirt track racing during the early part of the past century, until the company went bankrupt in 1953. Its cur- rent revival under Polaris owner- ship, after the Minnesota-based powersports company acquired it in 2011, has seen Indian go head to head with Harley-Da- vidson in the showroom with an expanding range of distinctively styled, individually engineered and well-priced streetbikes. Now that rivalry looks set to resume on the racetrack, in the uniquely American world of dirt oval rac- ing. We'll have more on this story as it unfolds. Alan Cathcart Miny Waln took home four first places on his Indian at Bakersfield, California on May 4, 1931. PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF INDIAN

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