It’s a tale as old as time, and it’s not stopping any time soon.
The Harley and Indian rivalry dates back 100 years, with each trying to beat out the other in not only the sales floor, but on the race track too.
No race more embodies this tradition than American Flat Track, which has been going on since the 1920’s. These two American V-Twin giants battled it out head-to-head (or should we say bar-to-bar) for decades. However in 1953, Indian went bankrupt and closed its doors. For the last 60 years, Harley Davidson has practically dominated the sport, taking home 50 championships since 1954. But in 2017, that changed. Indian was resurrected by Polaris and made a return to flat track in 2016.
Armed with their Scout FTR750 along with the famed “Wrecking Crew”, Indian swept flat track with a 1-2-3 championship with a total of 14 wins, 37 podium appearances, and six podium sweeps. In fact, one of their riders, Jared Mees, set a single-season record of 17 podium appearances.
Now it appears, Harley Davidson is keen to win it’s title back.
The Motor Company announced it was putting up a handsome $562,500 for the 2018 American Flat Track contingency program. This is the largest contingency ever put up in the history of flat-track racing.
To help you get an idea of how important this is to H-D, their entire program from just 2 years ago was only $96,000.
Now, to be fair, Polaris is putting up a healthy sum of $350,000 in incentives as well. It looks like both companies are taking this rather seriously.
For each of the 18 races in the 2018 season, Polaris/Indian is offering $18,500 per race, with a $5,000 award for a first-place finish. Harley-Davidson is almost doubling that by offering a total of $31,250 to privateers riding either its XG750R or XR750. A first-place finish will get a $10,000 prize. Both companies will offer incrementally lower amounts to lower placed finishers. However, Indian is also offering a $25,000 award if a privateer wins the championship aboard the Scout FTR750.
The 2018 flat track season is should to be an interesting to say the least.
Tell us what you think about this rivalry in the comments below. Do you think Harley Davidson is scared? Do you think Indian is in for another sweep in 2018?
The 2018 American Flat Track series begins March 15th in Daytona, FL