Motorcycles

New formats, Daytona venue and Indian's return mark big changes for American flat track racing

New formats, Daytona venue and...
In 2017 fans will be able to see this type of action from 360 degree cameras mounted on select bikes
In 2017 fans will be able to see this type of action from 360 degree cameras mounted on select bikes
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In 2017 fans will be able to see this type of action from 360 degree cameras mounted on select bikes
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In 2017 fans will be able to see this type of action from 360 degree cameras mounted on select bikes
AMA Flat Track will incorporate a tournament style in 2017
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AMA Flat Track will incorporate a tournament style in 2017
Multiple Grand National Champion Jared Mees will be on the Indian team in 2017
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Multiple Grand National Champion Jared Mees will be on the Indian team in 2017
A change in classes for 2017 will see AMA Flat Track racers racing twins in one class and singles in another
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A change in classes for 2017 will see AMA Flat Track racers racing twins in one class and singles in another
Racers line up for the final in the AMA Pro Flat Track race in Santa Rosa
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Racers line up for the final in the AMA Pro Flat Track race in Santa Rosa
Brad Smith leads the pack on a Kawasaki in the 2016 AMA Pro Flat Track series; he'll ride for Indian in 2017
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Brad Smith leads the pack on a Kawasaki in the 2016 AMA Pro Flat Track series; he'll ride for Indian in 2017

Fans of flat track racing are going to have even more to look forward to next year with some significant changes in race formats and venues, and the potential for a revitalized rivalry with the reintroduction of Indian Motorcycles into the mix.

AMA Pro Flat Track will now be known as American Flat Track (AFT), and the former GNC-1 and GNC-2 classes have been changed to AFT Twins (650 to 999 cc) and AFT Singles (450 cc only). Previous rules allowed singles to race against twins in both classes and displacement restrictions were broader, from 550 cc to 1250 cc.

The AFT Singles class, like the former GNC-2 class, is meant to help new riders gain experience to enable them to move up into the next higher class.

Additionally, next year's events will be in a tournament style format where the fastest 48 riders from timed races advance to four heats with each heat consisting of six laps. The nine fastest riders from each heat will then move on to the semi-rounds and eventually to an 18-rider, 25-lap main event.

A change in classes for 2017 will see AMA Flat Track racers racing twins in one class and singles in another
A change in classes for 2017 will see AMA Flat Track racers racing twins in one class and singles in another

"We made the class and format changes to have a clearer delineation between the types of bikes run in each class, and ensure that riders finished the season on the same make of bike they started on," explained Michael Lock, CEO of AMA Pro Flat Track. "Experienced fans may initially find it confusing, but novice fans who follow other racing series will get it."

The AFT will make things even more interesting by holding the first race of next year's season on a specially designed 0.6 mile TT racecourse inside the Daytona International Speedway. Unlike the typical flat track races that are run on dirt ovals that can vary in length from short to a half-mile to a mile around, the TT course at Daytona will feature multiple turns in both directions, as well as a jump.

Fans at the track and at home will also be treated to an even more visceral experience thanks to the use of more cameras on the bikes offering 360 degree views of the races in action.

The first ever broadcast deal with NBCSN will feature every event carried live on that cable channel next year. Until now, the only way to see an event without going to an actual race was via a live online feed.

Multiple Grand National Champion Jared Mees will be on the Indian team in 2017
Multiple Grand National Champion Jared Mees will be on the Indian team in 2017

Lock pointed out that the re-introduction of an Indian Motorcycle wrecking crew into flat track racing promises to add yet another dimension to the sport by reigniting a rivalry between Indian and Harley Davidson that has been dormant since 1953, the last year Indian fielded a team in the series.

Indian announced this week that it will start the 2017 season with a highly experienced set of riders who formerly rode for Harley Davidson and Kawasaki. It includes 2016 Grand National Champion and X Games gold medal winner, Bryan Smith; multi-year Grand National Champion Jared Mees; and the winner of the Santa Rosa mile, Brad Baker.

The company ran its specially designed Indian Scout FTR750 bike in competition for the first time at the Santa Rosa mile last Sunday. Piloted by former champion Joe Kopp, the Indian finished seventh in the final event, with higher showings in qualifying heats, and a first place in the Dash for Cash.

According to Lock, ticket sales for this year's events were up by 20 percent and its expected that will only continue with the announced changes and the potential for new venues on the West Coast and in the Southwest.

Check out the video to see a bit of flat track in action.

Source: AMA Flat Track, Indian Motorcycle

Springfield Mile II Hype

2 comments
VincentBrennan
If I read this right the big problem I would have is locking a rider onto one brand of bike. The only way the independent riders have had of beating the mighty H-D team was to be able to change bikes to ones more suitable for that race. I do not think anyone rode more than three brands and even if you have one brand you HAVE to have at least two bikes in case of failure in a preliminary race so it will not help but hurt the independent rider which is 90% of the racers. On the plus side I have been a BIG fan of AMA Flat Track since the early 1970's when we would go every Friday night to Ascot Park in Gardena CA probably the most famous 1/2 mile oval (the most common type of track) in the country and three times for National races two flat ovals an one TT. In addition we would drive to San Jose for the AMAZING mile track racers. 130 on the straight and 100 slideways in the corners. We counted 36 lead changes in a 10 lap heat race because of the "draft" (think NASCAR AT DAYTONA but much better). For years we have been screaming " This is perfect for TV" as it is contained where you can see the whole event from one spot and it is breathtaklingly exciting races. Sounds to me that they may need to rethink that first item (and I may have misunderstood but don't think so). This would be like telling a struggling NASCAR racer he had to drive the same brand all year even if his ford was better at one place and his Toyota better elsewhere. This was very common not that long ago in NASCAR except for the large factory sponsored teams. Most importantly this will be the first time the whole season has been on regular cable TV. Folks do not miss the first few races because it will be a huge treat once you see the 5 types of tracks they race and amazing close racing.
DavidRogerBrown
There is nothing in motor racing that touches the excitement of watching mile dirt track racing live. These riders are so skilled while making a pittance that the NASCAR prima donnas do. Makes NASCAR a boring circle waste of time. Great to finally see different brands jumping in.