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Indian Inauspiciously Debuts FTR750 Dirt Track Racer as Roland Sands Rides Off Stage Injuring Spectators

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The beautiful Indian FTR750 dirt track racer (pictured) has debuted at Sturgis. An unfortunate accident last evening at the Buffalo Chip campgrounds saw builder/racer Roland Sands ride one of the new machines onto a stage, lose control and plummet off the stage and into the crowd (video below). Note that some reports indicate Sand’s was piloting a different Indian race bike, not the new FTR750, when he crashed.

Reports indicate four spectators were injured, but an update from a local newspaper states that one or two of the spectators that went to the hospital have since been released.  This report also indicates Sands was attempting a burnout on stage.  A difficult task considering the bike apparently lacks a front brake.

Here is a press release from Indian on their new racer, followed by a You Tube video of the accident last night.

MINNEAPOLIS (August 8, 2016) — Indian Motorcycle®, America’s first motorcycle company, unleashed its all-new Indian Scout FTR750 flat track race bike in a place synonymous with the brand – the 76th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The event is the latest milestone in the historic return to professional flat track racing for the brand, while the Scout FTR750 represents Indian Motorcycle’s bid for a strong return to AMA flat track racing.

The Indian Scout FTR750 was revealed at the “Motorcycles as Art” industry event that took place at the famed Buffalo Chip in Sturgis. Special guests on-hand were the two surviving members of the legendary Indian Wrecking Crew, Bobby Hill and Bill Tuman, both of whom are AMA Hall of Fame members. The third member of the Wrecking Crew, Ernie Beckman, passed away in 1999. The motorcycle featured the #51 of Bill Tuman, as a tribute to the last rider to win a Grand National Championship on an Indian in 1953.

“A heritage of racing and winning is in the lifeblood of this brand, and everyone in attendance was clearly proud to be a part of this important moment in the historic return of Indian Motorcycle to professional flat track racing,” said President of Motorcycles Steve Menneto. “We have an incredible team of engineers and designers working on this initiative, and all of us are deeply committed to building a world-class racing program that will live up to our legendary history on the track.”

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The all-new Indian Scout FTR750 features a high-revving, racing V-Twin engine developed in-house and is wrapped in a unique steel frame that allows for a tight wheelbase, large centrally located airbox and unique lightweight carbon fiber body.  The design of the race-only bike reflects the heritage of key Indian racing models from history including the Big Base Scout; a historic bike that won in Daytona, dominated events across the country and is still raced in Vintage competition today.

More information on the race only Indian Scout FTR750will be made in the future. The motorcycle will be on display in the AMA Paddock at the Black Hills Speedway during the fans walk, and will be shown in the Indian Motorcycle factory display on Lazelle Street through the rally week.


See more of MD’s great photography:

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60 Comments

  1. Rudedog4 says:

    Put lights, turn signals, and a front brake on it, and get it in the showroom! I’d love a bike like this for the street.

  2. Spike says:

    Well at least it didn’t catch on fire as most Polaris product are prone to do! This is hardly a coup. Their sales numbers are grossly exaggerated and overstated. Besides, it’s not really an Indian…..the original Springfield plant closed in 1952 or so and this is just a company that had enough money to purchase the name…..lliving on nostalgia. The bubble may have burst with this debacle.

    • Half Baked says:

      Actually relatively few Polaris vehicles have caught fire and no motorcycles are involved in a fire danger recall so your statement is seriously misleading. And if you have actual proof that Polaris Industries Inc. is providing false information regarding their sales figures that should be reported to the SEC immediately.

  3. Mick says:

    There are so many of these current street bike engined dirt track bikes popping up to such positive response, that it amazes me nobody ever starts with one and do whatever needs to be done to get it on the road, ala KTM EXC bikes, and run with it.

    Instead they simply get one drunk and have it sleep with some six pack and shots minimum bar stool cover and hang a number plate on the obese progeny to try to fool you.

  4. Asphanaut says:

    Looks like he tried to stop by grabbing a fistful of front … Whoops!

  5. oldjohn1951 says:

    Stupid waste of what could have been great publicity; just like Royal Enfield’s”Footpeg Gate” incident with their Himalayan. However, that Scout would make an absolutely wicked street-legal bike. I bet they do it before Harley Davidson does with their 750.

  6. RD350 says:

    That is a beautiful and super cool bike. Finally a modern Indian I would spend my money on (if there was a fairly close street version).

  7. -D says:

    LOL at RS! He must have had one too many that day.
    Seriously though, thank God no one got killed.
    You know that Indian is going to eventually come out with a street legal version
    of this bike. Its inevitable…

  8. waitman says:

    Coup for Polaris/Indian? No I’d have to say the absence of anything approaching professional video speaks volumes. Doesn’t it make sense that Polaris/Indian would have had a video crew documenting this event? Instead what we got is cell phone videos from the 55th row. Why anyone would think it intelligent to introduce a race machine of any kind at Sturgis is beyond me. Most of this crowd are drunk doctors and attorneys with their “bitches” in tow that trailered their bikes to the “freak show” and really have no interest in motorcycles; just the pose-ability quotient. I’m guessing the pro video is locked away in a vault somewhere deep within the walls of Polaris Corporate or it’s been erased and some alien lifeform will pick up its digital footprint 3 light years from now. They’ll probably get a good laugh out of it too. It’s a damn shame because the bike is bad-ass and, hopefully, competitive. As I stated earlier, the Octane would have been a much better candidate for this hilarious cluster-eff. I’m sorry. Paybacks are HELL Polaris/Indian/Victory. I’m still giving you the “skunk-eye” for Project 156. Forgive me.

  9. Gary says:

    How it happened is open to debate. More interesting is the question of whether this is a disaster or a coup for Indian. Conventional wisdom is that any publicity is good publicity, but my sense in this case is that the accident eclipsed the launch … to an extent that few people are talking about the actual bike. Thoughts?

    • mickey says:

      yea I hardly see this as a coup for Indian. This is not the kind of publicity they want I am sure. Lawsuits to follow.

      Yep, wrecking crew is taking on a whole nuther meaning for Indian.

      • Gary says:

        You may be right. But on the other hand, the story of Sands’ crash was trending on Yahoo for several hours. There’s no way a simple product launch by Indian would have garnered so much “free” press.

        • mickey says:

          Were they talking about what an idiot Sands was? or talking about how cool the new Indian was?

          When the French moto journalist dumped the new FJR in the harbor, no one was talking how cool the FJR was. Doubt Yamaha got a boost from it.

          Doubt Indian is getting a boost from this either

  10. Tommy D says:

    Tracker and Scrambler styled bikes are in. Motorcycle manufactures that are capitalizing on it are from the UK and Italy. Harley and Indian are stuck in the cruiser mode. It’s too bad because Harley’s flat tracker version of their Street 750 and this Indian FT racer are spot on gorgeous. Stick a couple LED lights on the number plate and a reg plate holder and blinkers and you would have a bike even the hardest core cruiser guy would want as a second bike. I know I would want one.

    • Matt F says:

      +1 and in fact not just the hardest core cruiser guy, but guys like me that have never owned a cruiser, but would love to buy something American.

      This would be a great all around “American Naked” which is a naked that leans cruiser rather than sportbike.

  11. Provologna says:

    Re. the author’s choice of the word “accident” instead of “crash.” Heard an interesting report recently how over time, the word “accident” replaced “crash” because the latter implies fault, responsibility, and avoidance potential while the former removes fault and implies fate, degree of inevitability, and circumstances “beyond the control” of the person at the helm, in this case Roland “Motorcycle Doofus” Sands.

    The Titanic sinking and loss of life resulted from a large sequence (about a dozen IIRC) of apparently totally unrelated circumstances. Possibly more than one error resulted in Roland’s clusterwhat. (If you decide to read only one book on the Titanic, read the one Re. the US Congressman who oversaw the Congressional Hearings comprising first hand sworn testimony under penalty of perjury, a great read.)

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      In all fairness, we don’t know what the cause of the crash was. Rider error, mechanical failure, a combination of both?

      Crash, accident… semantics. Use of the word “accident” does not have to imply fate or no fault, though there is one definition of the word that certainly does. The primary definition of the word accident simply means that the event was unintentional and unexpected which I’d say most crashes, including this one, are.

  12. beasty says:

    Seems to be some schadenfreude goin’ on here. Hope all of the injured recover fully.

  13. chris says:

    Great looking ride, Now I wonder if the brass at H.D. are wondering how they are going to compete with that ,It appears from past history Harley does not know or care about engine development EX. Vance and Hines has developed the drag bike engines and are also responsible for the XG powered flat track engine just as Porsche engineering and Erik Buell helped develop the V rod engine.

  14. Vrooom says:

    Wow, there is no delay, straight on the stage and straight off. Hope those injured recover quickly. A burnout with no front brake and odd shifting, probably a recipe for disaster. His actions after climbing back on the stage are odd too. He raises his arms like someone is going to cheer him, then skulks off.

  15. Frank says:

    Nicely styled bike, like most of the ones he does…his entrance could have been better.

  16. Tank says:

    I don’t think Roland Sands understands what it takes to be a member of Indian “Wrecking Crew”.

  17. Auphliam says:

    Wow, talk about generating some bad publicity from what should’ve been a great moment for Polaris/Indian. Bummer for those involved. Glad nobody was seriously injured. Was Roland high or something? I can maybe understand him making a mistake with the peculiar mechanics of a flat tracker, but how he/they handled things after the fact is oddly unprofessional at best. Irresponsible at worst.

    With that said, it’s a great looking piece. Can’t wait to see Jared Mees get down with it next year.

  18. waitman says:

    Now THAT’S the way they should have introduced the Octane.

    • Auphliam says:

      Drive it off a stage? LOL

    • HS1..... says:

      Great comment, waitman. For the Octane debut, though, I would have prefered off the Snake River Canyon with a parachute for only the rider.

      • waitman says:

        I really do feel sorry for Mr. Sands and the unfortunate recipients of the blunt force trauma generated by his ungraceful, combined entry/exit. Having said that, his little hands-out, semi-bow and exit stage right was very reminiscent of a Daffy Duck magic trick gone bad. All that was missing was the musical “TAH-DAHHH”.

    • Asphanaut says:

      ++ hilarious

  19. stephens501 says:

    Part of the cause of this accident may have to do with the unique foot controls of this flat track racer. A close look at the right side of this bike reveals a shifter way up high and a rear brake way down low. Both placements are intentional to help prevent accidental input when racing. I think there is a fair chance that he missed the brake pedal, though the video does not show him madly trying to hit the brake as he went across the stage. And it still doesn’t explain why he didn’t turn left and ride off the other side of the stage. The fact that he didn’t try much of anything to avoid riding off the stage makes we wonder if he wasn’t ploughed. I know the people back at corporate are both furious and sick at the same time. The bike is beautiful and I wish them the best in racing. I really hope nobody in the crowd suffered permanent injuries. What a mess!

  20. The Spaceman says:

    Rowland Sands says: “Crank your savings with Geicoooooooo!”

  21. Joe says:

    What a shame. If this thing becomes a race winner it will help, in time, to mitigate the shame of it’s debut..
    Sands’ reputation, however, may have suffered irreparable harm. Not to mention the bodies of the injured.

  22. Mark R says:

    Really like the flat tracker. Nice job.

    Also, trying a burnout with no front brake? Say it ain’t so!

  23. Provologna says:

    I know Roland has some real motorcycle history. But at this point, I think of him as one of those idiots who are “famous for being famous.” Wonder if he was drunk. Today someone at Victory accepted personal responsibility to breathalyzer-test every rider representing Victory prior to giving them the bike to ride at marketing events like this one.

    Classes is an understatement Re. Roland’s actions after the crash.

    Victory: I’ll buy the bike if it’s too banged up…she’s purty.

    • notarollingroadblock says:

      Now let’s see if Polaris is smart enough to disassociate themselves with that idiot.

  24. HS1..... says:

    Maybe this event should forever be known as “the Roland Sands Squish and Run”?

  25. Hot Dog says:

    Opps. You don’t need no stinkin’ front brake. At least the loud pipe saved more from being sacrificed.

  26. Jack says:

    I’m wondering if someone didn’t play a prank by levering the rear brake pads apart while the bike was back stage. Somehow I got the impression from his body language as he exited the stage that he resembled a racer when a mechanical failure causes them to crash or dnf by something that wasn’t there fault. Just a thought.

  27. Mr.Negative says:

    So, he injures 4 people and runs away. What a guy.

    • HS1..... says:

      It’s just wierd the way he snaps both his hands up and runs off. The gesture seems to say either, “give it up to me anyway”, “screw it”, “wasn’t my fault”, or “I’m disgusted at someone else”. It doesn’t say “I’m so sorry”.

  28. HS1..... says:

    It appears that at about -2:39, Roland climbs back on stage, sheepishly looks for crowd approval, and then exits to back stage when he doesn’t get it. That is just a wierd way to handle the situation.

  29. paquo says:

    i despise cruisers-the culture,the bikes, the companies but i would give your left nut for a street version of that indian, it is beautiful

  30. Jabe says:

    I spent part of a day at the Sturgis Rally about 15 years ago. I was actually on my way to Montana for a much better time than anything Sturgis could offer. I remember lots of tattoos, lots of nudity, lots of idiotic riding, and a lot of wrecked bikes. Maybe Roland was just trying to fit in.

    That Indian looks good.

  31. Grover says:

    If that happened at my job a drug and alcohol test would be administered.

  32. redbirds says:

    Chances of seeing a street version are slim I would think. Too bad as I would buy a street legal version if available.

  33. Starmag says:

    I know it’s too much to ask for, but can I get a street legal version of this instead of yet another foot-forward cruiser? I’m looking at you Octane. Say, 350lbs with gas and 100 or so horsepower? In the home of flat tracking, which is gaining popularity around the world, why does NO MANUFACTURER offer something like this?

    Although this engine contains no new technology, Polaris felt they needed to seek help from the Swiss for it’s design. For an engine for the quintessentially American sport of flat track. WTF?

    • Bob says:

      Perhaps Polaris’ in house engineers and development staff were best utilized working on the product lines for the street. That’s where the money is. There’s apparently a lot going on at Polaris’ two wheeled divisions right now, and I could see where it makes sense to sub out the design in order to focus the manpower on the profit center.

    • Fast2win says:

      Swiss auto is wholly owned by Polaris. What they do. Build race engines.

    • Fast2win says:

      Swiss auto is wholly owned by Polaris. That’s What they do. Build race engines. No shame there

    • Randy B. Singer says:

      >>I know it’s too much to ask for, but can I get a street legal >>version….Say, 350lbs with gas and 100 or so horsepower?

      I don’t think that you are going to see any mass production street legal motorcycle with that much horsepower and that little weight. The closest thing to it is the KTM 690 Duke, with about 65hp and about 326lbs (dry). The 690 Duke is one of the largest singles on the market. So, to get more horsepower you will have to go up to a twin or multi, which will be more in the over 400lbs range.

      A Yamaha FZ-07 only offers about 70hp, but it comes in at just a bit under 400 pounds. And it’s a lightweight in it’s class. (The new Suzuki SV650 weighs about 30 pounds more.)

      In my garage I have a motorcycle from 2003 (the only year it was imported) that makes about 120hp, and weights about 410lbs. It is a Suzuki SV1000 naked. It would be great if Suzuki offered an updated version, but if they did they would probably not offer it with an aluminum frame again (too expensive) and it would gain weight, like the new SV650.

      A KTM 1290 Superduke is about 420lbs, and makes about 170hp. That sounds like fun! But it still is quite a bit off from your request for a 350lb bike, and it would be on the expensive side.

  34. Jeremy in TX says:

    Somewhere in France, a certain French moto-journalist known for falling into a sailboat after driving a shiny FJR test bike over the edge breathes a long sigh of relief as Sands takes the baton of shame.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e05ayLVTOoM

    Glad to hear that injuries are minor. So did the rear brake fail or something? Anyone heard?

  35. HS1..... says:

    In related news from Polaris: “to stay consistent with our corporate history of public relation debacles, the FTR750 has been rebadged as a Victory”.

  36. Dan says:

    Hope everyone recovers fully – unfortunate that spectators were injured. As for Roland – well, he will be the butt of jokes until some other motorcycling celebrity screws up – at least he didn’t make it his LAST mistake, like Indian Larry.

  37. Gary says:

    Either Sands was engaging in a bit of Buffalo Chip revelry or he forgot that dirt trackers don’t have front brakes. My guess is a combination of both.