Never been to a flat track race before? You are in for a treat.
Here’s some stuff you need to know…
AMA Pro racing’s oldest and most traditional type of racing is flat track (sometimes called dirt track). How old? The term “old as dirt” comes to mind, it’s roots date back to the early 1900s. After World War II the sport evolved into its current “modern” structure, which until recently when Marc Marquez embraced it for his SuperPrestigio event, was a uniquely American type of motorcycle racing. Riders finesse their machines sideways through the turns inches apart at speeds over 130 miles an hour. Image about Moto3 speeds, only WAY closer, (I know, how is that even possible?) on dirt, with NO FRONT BRAKE, everybody going sideways at once. Kind of like drifting with less smoke and more dirt. It’s seriously badass and if you need proof of that, this year it’s even being included in the Summer X Games in Austin, TX.
Here’s how it works:
The races are made up of two classes, AMA Pro flat track GNC1 and GNC2. Troy Bayliss will be competing in the GNC1 class, this is considered the premier class, it’s riders the “bad boys” of dirt track racing. As the premier class these riders are considered “experts” and they travel the country competing on four different styles of tracks: Mile and half mile tracks, short tracks and TTs. For this lesson we only need to know about the Mac Daddy’s, the Miles.
Troy Bayliss will be entering the five one mile races. It is his dream (like many others including Nicky Hayden), to win a mile. He will be teamed up with well known pro rider Johnny Lewis, and riding for the Lloyd brothers, who are the first and last word in Ducati racing on dirt. No team in the world is better at this sport using theses bikes, period.
What is Troy riding?
Like MotoGP or NASCAR, this sport uses hand made, purpose built machines. Every part of the bike is crafted for going fast and turning left, on dirt. They use performance tuned Ducati 1100cc 2 valve air cooled engines, with VMC frames and Penske suspension. Four bikes, two for each rider is what goes on the truck. It shares the visual and soul of a Scrambler but like a NASCAR racer, not much else comes from the street machine.
I want to go! When should I get to the race track?
Unlike road racing these guys are in and out quick, one day of racing starting in late afternoon covers Practice and Qualifying, Heat Races, the “Last Chance Qualifier”, the Semi Finals, the Main event and the 6 rider “shoot out” called the Dash For Cash. You won’t be bored, the action is non-stop.
Tell me about the tracks?
Tracks aren’t fancy purpose built circuits. Well they are purpose built, but probably for horses! Think country fair food, ice cold beer and family friendly ticket prices. Bikes and riders are not locked away in fancy garages, it’s old school – motorcycle racing as good old fashioned family entertainment. After a MotoGP when the only time you see the riders is on the diamond screen this is pretty crazy. You can tell your friends how tiny (and fast) Shana Texter is, get autographs and see the bikes without a garage door slamming in your face. So MANY races! How does this work? Each round of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship is conducted in a single day, typically according to the following model: 1. One Timed Practice Session 2. Two Timed Qualifying Sessions a. Fastest 48 Riders from all Qualifying sessions proceed to Heat Races. 3. Three 8- or 10-Lap Heat Races (16 Riders) Based on the results of those: Finishers 1 – 2 proceed to Dash for Cash. Finishers 1 – 4 proceed to Main. Finishers 5 – 16 proceed to Semi. 4. One 4-Lap Dash for Cash (6 Riders) 5. Two 8- or 10-Lap Semis (18 Riders) a. Finishers 1 – 3 proceed to Main. 6. One 25-Lap Main (18 Riders)
Want to see Troy try and pull this off? Here’s the schedule of the miles:
Springfield Mile #1May 24,2015 - Illinois State Fairgrounds
Sacramento, CA Mile May 30th, 2015 – Cal Expo Fair (For Tickets Click HERE)
Du Quoin Illinois Mile July 4th, 2015 Du Quoin State Fairgrounds (For Tickets Click HERE)
Indy Mile July 11th, 2015 Indiana State Fairgrounds (For Tickets Click HERE)
Springfield Mile #2 Sept. 6, 2015 – Illinois State Fairgrounds
Here is a little video that pretty much sums up all you need to know about why flat track is So. Much. Fun
And one of Nicky Hayden on the Lloyd Brothers Ducati at the Indy Mile. He’s so happy he literally has tears in his eyes (I REALLY hope he gets to win a mile one day)
See you there.