A lot of things have changed for 2020, and for the 71st Edition of the Devil’s Staircase one of the most dramatic changes in terms of the racing will be the return of Indian Motorcycle to Hillclimb Racing! Indian will be returning to a sport it once dominated more than 80 years ago with an exciting new bike piloted by 10-time AMA Pro Hillclimb Champion John “Flying” Koester. Regarded as one of the sport’s top riders, Koester was the first U.S. racer to win all three National AMA Pro Hillclimb titles in a single season.
“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,” said 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, along with his father and crew chief Gordy Koester, spearheaded the dramatic transformation of the FTR750 from a flat track race bike to a full-fledged hill shredder to participate in the new TWINS CLASS of the AMA PRO HILLCLIMB SERIES. Modifications include an extended swingarm, knobby tires, redesigned rear tail, and an upgraded Rekluse clutch to account for the increased clutch use demanded by hillclimb racing. The team also worked with S&S to design an exhaust system specific to Koester and his riding position.
“When we created the new Twins class, our intention was to attract leading OEMs like Indian Motorcycle to return to this uniquely challenging and exciting form of racing, and we couldn’t be more excited to now welcome Indian Motorcycle back to the hill for the first time in more than 80 years,” said Rob Redmann, Director of AMA Pro Hillclimb. “There is nothing like Hillclimb racing – fast, quick and exciting. We believe brands such as Indian Motorcycle will dramatically impact our ability to draw more fans and help grow this incredible sport.”
Since 1901, racing has been a part of the Indian Motorcycle DNA. Founders George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom met at a bicycle race and maintained their passion for speed and competition when developing the brand in its infancy. Today, Indian Motorcycle has honoured its forefathers by continuing the brand’s racing prowess through various forms of racing, including flat track, landspeed, bagger racing at the upcoming, inaugural MotoAmerica King of the Baggers event, and now hillclimb.
“We are always looking for exciting and unique opportunities not only compete, but to also demonstrate the prowess of our engineering and design teams and the capabilities of the incredible motorcycles we develop,” said Gary Gray, Vice President Racing, Service and Technology for Indian Motorcycle. “We’re not only fans of hillclimb racing, but with our brand’s history in the sport, it was a no-brainer that we’d make our return after all these years.”