The quest to Make American Racing Great Again continues, with a new AMA Pro Hillclimb series, and a new Indian FTR750-based machine built to compete in it.
Hillclimb racing is exactly what it sounds like: Motorcycles racing each other up a hill, trying to get to the top in the shortest time. Typically, the bikes run up one at a time, because when things go wrong (and they frequently do!), the motorcycles and riders get flung all over the place, thanks to gravity—what goes up must come down, and all that. Anyone who’s watched On Any Sunday should remember watching an old-school hillclimb race, where the riders struggled to even reach the top of the hill. In modern races, there’s more emphasis on getting to the top of the hill in a good time, turning it into more of a time trial with a twist.
Because of the weird physics involved with racing uphill, most hillclimb bikes have extended swingarms, sort of an unholy union of drag strip design with an offroad chassis. That’s what we see with this new hillclimber from Indian: It’s got the same basic frame and engine as the flat track version of the FTR750, but there’s a dirtbike-style front end and a drag bike-style swingarm. There’s a custom exhaust from S&S, and a Rekluse clutch, to reduce the risk of stalling. Indian signed John “Flyin'” Koester to ride the machine in the AMA’s Pro Hillclimb series, in the new Twins class. After spanking Harley-Davidson in flat track for the past few years, no doubt Indian is hoping to do the same at hillclimb racing. Find out more about the AMA’s Pro Hillcimb series here.