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Flat Track and the Future of American Roadracing

Do any of our kids race Flat Track anymore? What happened to Flat Track, anyway? If it is the “soul” of American motorcycling, why isn’t it growing in popularity like other forms of motorcycle racing seem to be?

The subtle skills developed by Flat Track racers translate directly to other disciplines, such as roadracing. As we pointed out in our article on the death of Will Davis last year, virtually every great American roadracing champion was skilled at Flat Track. If young American riders stop riding, and racing, Flat Track, Flat Track will die, and roadracing will suffer, as well.

Maybe Flat Track is not destined to be a huge spectator sport. It should be, but it isn’t. It exists, in part, because a simple flat oval can be located any where there is room (like the Hayden farm, for instance). All it takes is a flat piece of dirt and a couple of cones or markers for the turns. Instant race track . . . bring out your friends and their bikes and have at it (just remember to turn left). So maybe kids will always race Flat Track (even if they don’t know it’s Flat Track). To get really good, however, (good enough to become a world champion some day) they need to race in sanctioned events. Just like Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Doug Chandler, the Bostrom brothers, and the Hayden brothers (for instance). Let’s hope Flat Track racing draws enough of our youth to continue this tradition. We’re just not sure it will.