Automorbit, Motorcycle – Indian is returning to its hill-climbing roots entering the 2020 AMA Pro Hillclimb Racing series with a modified FTR750. This marks the first Indian factory hillclimb racer since 1939.
The Indian FTR750 will be racing in the series’ new Twins class, which includes overhead cam Twins displacing 650cc to 1203cc or push-rod Twins from 650cc to 1800cc. AMA Pro Hillclimb created the class with the intent of drawing OEMs like Indian.
Signaling its intent to be immediately competitive in the new class, Indian signed John “Flying” Koester. A ten-time AMA Pro Hillclimb Champion, Koester has won titles in the series’ former Unlimited, 450 Pro and Xtreme classes. In 2018, Koester became the first American racer to win titles in all three National Pro Hillclimb classes in a single season. He followed that up last year by winning the Unlimited and Xtreme classes while finishing runner-up to Logan Cipala in the 450 class.
“It’s an absolute honour to represent Indian Motorcycle as it makes its dramatic return to hillclimb racing on the same machine that literally changed the game for flat-track racing over the past four years,” says Koester. “We’re excited to unleash the FTR750 on the hill, with our minds firmly fixed on the ultimate goal of capturing a championship.”
Koester and his father and crew chief, Gordy Koester, lead the FTR750’s modification, turning the flat tracker into a hill-climber. They added an extended swingarm, knobby tires and an upgraded Rekluse clutch designed for the increased demands of hillclimb racing. The subframe and tail were redesigned, resulting in a sharply rising tail. The team also worked with S&S to design a new exhaust system that would fit with Koester’s riding position.
The 2020 AMA Pro Hillclimb season begins Sept. 19 at White Rose Motorcycle Club in Spring Grove, Penn., and continues Oct. 11 at the Dayton Motorcycle Club’s Devil’s Staircase in Oregonia, Ohio.