You may have heard of the Indian Motorcycle original Wrecking Crew, the legendary factory racers who kept the original Indian Motorcycle atop the race podium in the early 1950s. From 1950 to 1953, Ernie Beckman, Bobby Hill, and Bill Tuman tallied an amazing 14 AMA National wins between them. It would take 64 years for the marque to revisit racetrack glory, when Jared Mees rode the new Indian Scout FTR750 to victory at the Daytona TT in 2017. And now it's a new crew doing the wrecking.

The Grand Slam-winning Mees has established himself as the top racer of the reinvented American Flat Track (AFT) series and helped propel Indian to a near-sweep of the 2018 AFT season. So when Indian Motorcycle Racing recently announced its 2019 AFT factory race team, it wasn't surprising to see the return of the reigning champ. For the 2019 version of the Wrecking Crew, Mees will be joined by Briar and Bronson Bauman, brothers who showed serious speed in 2018.

All three certainly have the chops, but the 2019 AFT season won't be without its challenges, beyond the fact that every other rider on the grid will be gunning for the FTR750 riders. There's a new rule change allowing competitors using "production bikes" to run 40mm throttle bodies, while restricting FTR750 riders to 38mm throttle bodies. Then there's the new track layout for the Daytona TT, the first AFT race of the season. The totally redesigned racetrack incorporates the legendary Daytona Speedway tri-oval start/finish asphalt straightaway as part of the actual racing surface, and form a high-speed front straight. You can see the new course here. Dirt to asphalt? Yep, should be fun to watch.

We chatted with the three Wrecking Crew riders about that new track configuration, their bikes, their favorite tracks, and more about the upcoming 2019 season.

So as far as your training goes, what does the off-season look like? There must be weeks you spend off the bike.

Jared Mees: Mostly in the off-season I cross-train on some motocross stuff… I'm on a 450 motocross bike, then some cardio, little bit of strength training. The last time I rode my flat-track bike was in November. Not a whole lot of training on a flat-track bike unfortunately.

Briar Bauman: Yeah, it's kinda difficult—we don't get to do a lot of riding on an actual race bike. Ninety-five percent of it is on a motocross bike, the other 5 percent we try to find a short track or TT we can ride our flat-track or motocross bikes at. Obviously the change from knobbies to Class C tires [for flat-track racing] is difficult.

Describe the first race on the calendar (Daytona). Does it set the tone for the season?

JM: It's important but you can't win the championship in the first round. Winning a race, it's a great confidence booster, but at the end of the day you went out there, got some good points, moved on. At the end of the year, that could be a win.

Getting to the more technical stuff, how is the new rule with the 38mm throttle body restriction for FTRs going to affect you?

JM: I think some of the big mile tracks will give the advantage to some of the other brands, but overall in the half miles and short tracks and TTs it's not going to really change a thing, and at the end of the day we only got six miles [tracks to race]—one third of the schedule. I think on some of the miles [tracks] you might see at the end of the straightaway a little bit of power difference on the bike.

Bronson Bauman: [It'll be] business as usual. Indian has a wonderful motorcycle. I think we're still gonna be the number-one guys.

Do you have a favorite track?

JM: I would probably say Lima Half-Mile. It's kind of my hometown track; it was my first Grand National win… I just like the place. It's an old-school cushion flat-track event…and really defines what flat track is.

Briar: I enjoy most of them—TTs, miles—as long as they're prepped correctly. Lima is a deep cushion so they keep a lot of water on it. Sacramento is kinda what it is.

Bronson: Well, we're all gonna try supermoto for our first time at Daytona, so we'll see how that goes. But I just love riding motorcycles, racing them, always happy to be on them.

Lima Half-Mile
“Old-school cushion flat track” is how Mees describes his favorite track, the Lima Half-Mile.Scott Hunter/American Flat Track

What's your take on the FTR 1200 and that kind of style hitting the mainstream?

JM: I never was really much into streetbikes, but now the FTR... It's kind of a fun streetbike. Being a flat-track guy and a racer, you want something with a little snap and a little bit of feel. It's kind of like a racing flat track on the street. It's good. Especially with an aftermarket exhaust.

1200 S
The FTR 1200 fleshes out the FTR750 racebike and makes it street legal (and much heavier). Shown is the 1200 S in race replica paint.Courtesy Indian Motorcycle

Any final thoughts on the 2019 season?

JM: I just wanna go out there and do what I've doing the last couple years... Anything less than the number-one plate will be a disappointment.

Bronson: This is what we dream of. To be on the factory team. Last year I learned so much... I went from a middle of the pack rider to a front-runner. It's such an honor to be here.

American Flat Track series
The 2019 American Flat Track series starts March 14 with the Daytona TT in Florida.American Flat Track

Indian also just announced its renewed partnership with American Flat Track for 2019, and the Minnesota company has tossed in nearly $360,000 in contingency offerings, along with sponsorship of several of the events, like the Lima Half-Mile; the Buffalo Chip TT; and the Minnesota Mile. American Flat Track will kick off the 2019 season with the Daytona TT at the Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, March 14, 2019. For more info visit: americanflattrack.com.