The FTR750 proved its worth straight out the gate as Joe Kopp grabbed the holeshot in its first-ever Main at the Santa Rosa Mile. Indian Motorcycle’s flat tracker has been virtually unbeatable since, winning every American Flat Track championship since its debut. When Polaris Industries bought Indian Motorcycle Co. in 2011, it committed to honoring the storied brand’s racing heritage. Flat track was the first step. Now Indian has AMA Pro Hillclimb in its sights.

“Everything we do, we do it to win, so if we want to go attack the hill, we want to win,” said Gary Gray, Vice President Racing, Service and Technology for Indian Motorcycle.

To “attack the hill,” Indian has built a specialized FTR750 hillclimber and has enlisted the services of one of the best professional hillclimbers around, John Koester, to pilot it. Koester will compete in AMA Pro Hillclimb's new Twins class. If the formula sounds familiar, Indian did the same thing in flat track when it poached the three top riders at the time (Jared Mees, Brad Baker, and Bryan Smith) to ride its new motorcycle. Koester was the first to win all three National AMA Pro Hillclimb titles in a single season and is a 10-time AMA Pro Hillclimb Champion.

“It’s an absolute honor 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 in a press release. “We’re excited to unleash the FTR750 on the hill, with our minds firmly fixed on the ultimate goal of capturing a championship.”

Koester and crew chief Gordy Koester, who doubles as John’s dad, helped Indian engineers design a competitive hillclimber around the FTR750. They punched the adjustable swingarm out and crafted a slick little tensioner for the extra-long chain, gave it a dirt bike-like makeover including a redesigned tail, and added proper hillclimbing knobbies. Just like it did with the FTR750 flat tracker, Indian once again enlisted the services of S&S Cycle to design a custom exhaust, tailor-made to Koester’s lanky frame. The stock clutch was swapped out for a Rekluse which is more suited to the demands of hillclimbing.

“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.”

The new race bike is the company’s first factory Indian hillclimber since 1939, and Koester is its newest factory rider. Be sure to watch Koester's run near the end of the video. Looks legit, right out of the gate.