Harley-Davidson introduces the sport; holds races at a dirt track near Jaipur
With the aim of popularising one of the oldest forms of motorcycle racing in India, last week Harley-Davidson debuted its first flat track experience in the country. Flat track racing, also called dirt track racing, has its roots in the early 1900s and it gained immense popularity during the 1920s, especially in the US. Unlike motocross or road races where the riders are spread out over a large area, a spectator in the stands at a flat track race has access to action at all times. Harley-Davidson has enjoyed a strong dominance on the dirt track, especially with racer Joe Petrali, popular as Smokin’ Joe, in the 1930s.
Last week’s event was led by Marco Belli, the international flat track racer, and was held at the John Singh Speedway in Shahpura town near Jaipur. Flat track racing calls for motorcycles that can cater to the unique requirements of the sport.
For the Indian experience, four Harley-Davidson Street Rod motorcycles were customised by Rajputana Customs, the Jaipur-based motorcycle customisation company. These machines have modified handlebars, seats, fuel tank, exhaust, wheels and tyres. Also, front brakes are removed, as using front brakes in flat track racing can cause these motorcycles to lose control.