Indian Wrecking Crew Sweeps Flat Track Podium for 2nd Time This Season

Indian Wrecking Crew sweeps podium at 2017 Arizona Mile

The Indian Wrecking Crew (L-R) of Brad Baker, Bryan Smith and Jared Mees swept the podium for the second time this season in American Flat Track. (Ricky Fuentes Photo)

Reigning National Champion Bryan Smith Secures Second Consecutive Victory, Brad Baker & Jared Mees Finish 2nd & 3rd, Respectively

Indian Motorcycle Racing continues its dominance in American Flat Track racing with its second podium sweep of the season. Indian’s “Wrecking Crew” is living up to its legendary nickname, as Bryan Smith, Brad Baker and Jared Mees finished 1-2-3, respectively.

After two red flags, and as the sun began to set, the main event was forced to reconfigure to a five-lap shootout. Smith earned his second consecutive victory by ducking inside Baker with two laps remaining – edging him out by .057 seconds.

“My team has done an incredible job, and the Scout FTR750 is performing like nothing else I’ve ever been on,” said Smith. “The mile races are my favorite, and with four of the next five races being miles, we’re excited to keep it rolling.”

After four races this season, the Indian Scout FTR750 has secured 10 of 12 podiums. Smith and Mees are neck-in-neck at the top the American Flat Track leaderboard – having reached the podium in every race with two first place finishes, a second and a third. Baker has earned two second place finishes.

“After the long break following the Charlotte Half Mile, we were all excited to see how the guys would perform on the season’s first mile,” said Gary Gray, Vice President – Product Development for Indian Motorcycle. “Their dominant success at each race is a tribute to how hard each rider and his team are preparing.”

Indian Motorcycle Racing, backed by Allstate Insurance, will look to stay on top as American Flat Track heads to the Sacramento Mile on May 20.

Bryan Smith Edges Brad Baker in Five-Lap Shootout at Arizona Mile

Shayna Texter ends win drought in an AFT Singles thriller

The Indian Wrecking Crew once again lived up to its moniker in the fourth round of the 2017 American Flat Track championship. The trio of factory riders secured a dominant sweep of the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines podium at the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle.

Leading the charge around Turf Paradise 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.

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.

Bryan Smith edges Brad Baker Arizona Mile 2017

Mile master Bryan Smith ducked under Brad Baker with two laps to go then held on for the win in a five-lap shooutout on the Arizona Mile. (American Flat Track/Mitch Friedman Photo)

“It was a little bit of strategy,” Smith said. “I just sat on Brad’s rear tire, and luckily it worked out where I got by him with two to go. I went on by him and had just enough where I was a little bit better, mostly off of (Turn) 2.”

The cagey performance was the 20th Mile victory of Smith’s career, good enough to rank fifth most in American Flat Track history. It was also his 28th overall AFT Twins win, which ties him with fellow Michigan natives Bart Markel and Henry Wiles for tenth on the all-time order.

“It’s pretty cool at 28 wins that I tied Bark Markel, the original godfather of the Michigan Mafia,” Smith said. “And it’s pretty special for me to be, I believe, the only rider to win a Mile on three different brands and tie his record. Hopefully next weekend I can break it.”

Runner-up Baker said, “I wanted that win so dang bad. I don’t think I’ve wanted a win more in my life. This type of track is one I typically struggle at – one that’s dry, slick, one-lined – where you kind of have to go slow to go fast and ride with a lot of discipline.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed and angry. But they call Bryan the “Master of the Miles,” and he’s great at this. This is definitely a heartbreaker because I was the guy to beat all day… We’re on identical equipment so it’s not like I had any more horsepower than him or he had any more horsepower than me. It was all about who was the best rider, and today, Bryan proved his experience and craft on the Miles.”

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 apiece. Mees retained a share of the points lead by furthering his season-long string of podium results with a close third.

Despite struggling with shifter issues, Mees managed to keep Smith and Baker honest throughout and finished just over a half-second back of the win.

“It was good for Indian Motorcycle, but we just didn’t quite have it today,” Mees said. “Honestly, we were third place all day… I was pretty much a sitting duck in third; we couldn’t really do anything. I was just grateful to get it into gear really quick off the line and kind of latch onto these guys. Brad had a helluva pace early on, but hats off to Bryan – he just put in a veteran move in on that last lap and a half and made it happen. I feel like Brad was probably the fastest, but Bryan out-schooled him.”

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).

Sammy Halbert continued to make his mark as the top privateer with a solid fourth-place run aboard the No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07. Halbert actually had to put in a charge just to snare the final qualifying position in the LCQ in order to advance into the Semis. But following that early scare, Halbert proved himself to be the only rider capable of reliably keeping the Indian Wrecking Crew in sight in Phoenix, even if only for a handful of laps at a time.

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.

Texter Takes Title Lead With AFT Singles Triumph

Shayna Texter stepped forward to seize control of the AFT Singles class with a hard-earned win aboard her No. 52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R.

Texter was hounded throughout the Main by Tristan Avery (No. 16 Ron Ayers Honda CRF450R) and Brandon Price (No. 92 DPC Racing/Don’s Kawasaki KX450F), but proved almost impossible to draft by and even more difficult to stay in front of.

Texter said, “It was a long 15 laps. I just tried to stay smooth and make as few mistakes as I possibly could. I knew those guys were on me; I could see them in my shadow going down the back stretch. I just tried to be smart and keep them behind me.”

The narrow .041 of a second win was the seventh of Texter’s AFT Singles career and her first since the 2013 season. Her 2017 campaign is trending upward in a serious fashion; she’s now logged third-, second-, and first-place finishes in consecutive events.

“It feels awesome to get back up there – it’s been a rough couple of years,” Texter admitted. “I finally get to ride a motorcycle that’s stable and allows me to show what I have under the helmet. It’s really exciting to get back up here.”

The Law Tigers Arizona Mile will air on NBCSN on Thursday, July 27, at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. For race highlights click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-PAGlT4c_E

American Flat Track powers right into the second of its run of four Miles in four weeks with the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile presented by Cycle Gear on Saturday, May 20. Live coverage can be viewed on FansChoice.tv beginning on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. PT). Tickets for the Sacramento Mile are on sale and can be purchased at http://sactomile.com/tickets/.

Fans can also keep up-to-date with race day action by following American Flat Track on Facebook (American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack).

Award Updates:
AFT Singles
McElroy Packaging Lucky 7 – #52 Shayna Texter
Motul Move of the Race – #52 Shayna Texter

AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Ohlins Fastest Lap – #1 Bryan Smith
McElroy Packaging Lucky 13 – #1 Bryan Smith

Indian Resurrecting Wrecking Crew in 2017 with Mees, Smith & Baker

Three World Class Racers will pilot all-new Indian Scout FTR750 race bike in historic return to racing with one goal — winning!

Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, announced the all-star members of its 2017 Wrecking Crew. Named after the famed Wrecking Crew of the 1940s and 1950s, the three riders will make history in 2017 as Indian Motorcycle continues its bold and aggressive return to AMA Pro Flat Track racing with its first factory racing effort since 1953.

The three riders were announced at the American Motorcyclists Association Flat Track Awards banquet following the Ramspur Winery Santa Rosa Mile AMA Pro Flat Track race in Santa Rosa, California. Indian Motorcycle is committed to winning, signing three of the world’s top riders who will live up to the legacy of the Indian Wrecking Crew of the 1940s and ‘50s that included Ernie Beckman, Bill Tuman and Bobby Hill.

Indian Motorcycle FTR750 Santa Rosa Mile

Indian Motorcycle Co is resurrecting the Wrecking Crew in 2017 and will field a team comprised of the top three flat track riders around – Jared Mees, Bryan Smith and Brad Baker.

Indian Motorcycle 2017 Wrecking Crew Team Members:

Bryan Smith:
“Flyin’” Bryan Smith, 33, from Flint, Michigan, began racing BMX at age six. He then moved to Flat Track and Ice Racing at age seven, and has been competing at the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship level since 2001, gradually climbing the ranks every year. In 2015, Smith competed in his first X Games, winning gold in the Flat Track event. Smith earned his first Grand National Championship in the 2016 season.

Brad Baker:
AMA Pro Flat Track Expert Grand National Champion Brad “The Bullet” Baker, 23, originally hailing from Dryad, Washington, is the third youngest Grand National Champion in the history of the sport. Baker won his first two career victories at the Hagerstown Maryland and Pomona California half-miles and was also the 2011 GNC Expert Rookie of the Year. Baker took a dominating win at the Santa Rosa mile.

Ricky Howerton is the team manager for Smith and Baker.

Jared Mees:
Multi-time AMA Grand National Champion Jared “Jammer” Mees, 30, won the AMA Grand National Twins Championship in 2009, the AMA Grand National Singles Championship in 2012, and the unified AMA Grand National Championship (GNC1) title in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Mees also became a Gold Medalist in the X Games in 2016, won the Superprestigio of the Americas in 2015, and the Troy Bayliss Classic in 2014. Mees earned a second place in the 2016 season. Mees’ race bike will be handled by legendary flat track tuner Kenny Tolbert.

Indian Motorcycle Racing

“Indian Motorcycle has a DNA in motorcycle racing. We will continue that push towards excellence on the street and in competition with the introduction of the Indian Scout FTR750,” said Gary Gray, Product Director for Indian Motorcycle. “AMA Pro Flat Track racing is highly competitive and we leaned on a global team for this factory effort and have engaged some of the best riders to exhibit our commitment to this legendary sport. That said, we are entering the series to do one thing – win.”

Having now successfully developed a lineup of nine award-winning models, Indian Motorcycle has fully dedicated its resources to a successful return to AMA Pro Flat Track racing with a purpose-built new race-only engine, a clean sheet design race bike, and world-class racing team that reflects the history and rich heritage of the brand. Indian Motorcycle was born out of competition, and throughout its history has used racing to develop and improve the product as well as expand the appeal of the brand.

The new Indian Scout FTR750 is powered by an all-new, race-only 750cc V-Twin that was developed in-house for professional flat track competition. The chassis and overall design comes from the team at the Indian Motorcycle’s Medina, Minnesota headquarters with input from highly experienced race team personnel. The #3 Indian Motorcycle FTR750 was piloted in its debut by AMA flat track racing legend Joe Kopp on Sunday, September 25 at the Ramspur Winery Santa Rosa Mile AMA Pro Flat Track race in Santa Rosa, California. Kopp’s debut of the Indian Scout FTR750 was highly successful with strong heat races that put him on the inside front row for the final race. After quickly locking in his position in “the show” he attacked the Dash for Cash race and won. In the final race, Kopp took a holeshot when the green flag flew, and led the first lap. Over the course of the race the rough track conditions slowed the veteran racer, yet he still earned a solid 7th place in the final.

“Our team worked hard and had a pretty confident feeling coming into the weekend,” says Reid Wilson, Director of Marketing for Indian Motorcycle. “Our goal was to make the main event, a great achievement for a 100% new motorcycle racing a highly competitive GNC1 class. Joe was outstanding on the motorcycle and taking a strong win in the dash for cash was an epic first AMA Checkered flag for Indian Motorcycle since the early 1950’s. With our performance this weekend, and the announcement of the new riders, we are showing our commitment to both the sport and the history and future of Indian Motorcycle.”

Learn more about Indian Motorcycle by visiting IndianMotorcycle.com and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media channels.