Royal Enfield has made history by debuting in the American Flat Track (AFT) competition.
- Royal Enfield participated in the Production Twins category
- Marks a new chapter in the history of Royal Enfield
- Custom flat tracker was ridden by Johnny Lewis of team Moto Anatomy
Royal Enfield participated in the 'Production Twins' class of the 2020 AFT season, marking a new chapter in the history of the company, during the race weekend at the Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania, USA. The purpose-built Royal Enfield flat track motorcycle was ridden by racer and flat track instructor, Johnny Lewis for 'Team Moto Anatomy powered by Royal Enfield'.
Lewis said that it was quite a journey to get to where the team was, following months of developing the Royal Enfield Flat Tracker. In fact, Lewis planned to unveil the concept Royal Enfield FT at the Daytona AFT round in March 2020, but due to COVID-19, the races were rescheduled.
Besides the pressure of performing in a debut race, the going could not get any tougher for the team as the latest iteration of the race machine was shipped from India on September 7, 2020, and only arrived in the US three days before the race.
Given the time taken to assemble the motorcycle and set it up, Lewis could only roll the bike out for practise on Friday. Nevertheless, he managed to surprise the field by finishing 3rd in the semifinals and 6th in the Main Race on day one. The next day, the team made a few tweaks to the chassis to improve the handling. However, an issue with the head gasket in the Semifinals forced Lewis to return to the pits and fix the bike. Once done, he joined the field in 13th position and managed to bring the bike home, securing an overall 7th place finish for the team.
What makes the motorcycle so special is that it is based on the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, albeit with the requisite modifications to turn it into a competition spec flat tracker.
The motorcycle has been developed by Royal Enfield with inputs from chassis specialist Harris Performance and S&S Cycle, an engine tuning expert. It is based on a steel frame, with a USD fork at the front. While the bike rides on Dunlop knobby tyres.
The Royal Enfield Flat Tracker is powered by the same parallel-twin engine that you see in the Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 production motorcycles.
Johnny Lewis says that he is upbeat about the future races. He also adds that the Royal Enfield Flat Track motorcycle performed well, and they've got a great foundation to build upon. Royal Enfield is clear that it wants to focus on developing the motorcycle throughout the first year of its time at the 2020 AFT, in preparation for the 2021 season.
Besides competing in the races, Lewis will also coach budding flat track riders at the Royal Enfield Slide School, astride the track prepped Royal Enfield FT411 Himalayan motorcycles.
To reiterate, Royal Enfield has partnered with the American Flat Track (AFT) association, where it plans to hold experience zones for customers to take short spin on Royal Enfield motorcycles. Additionally, Royal Enfield North America also announced the ‘Build Train Race’ programme that will bring its all-female flat track motorcycle programme to select AFT rounds in 2020. The contest will see four women use the Interceptor 650 as a base, and customise and race their machines across the country.
The next round of the 2020 American Flat Track competition will be held from September 25-26, 2020 at the Dallas Half Mile.