Real motorcycle racing makes an impact locally, that’s a fact. Sure, national stars offer inspiration and fuel the dreams of young wannabes, but it’s the individual experience—the thumping in the chest at the starting line, the lungful of burnt exhaust, the all-out abandonment of rationality—that just sticks with a person. Years, even decades later, nostalgia for the glory days on a racetrack remains palpable and personal, like it was yesterday. In the middle of a long, cold winter, this sentiment is particularly discernable in Midwest, as the recent Hot Bike article Indoor Flat Track In The Midwest points out.
This highly relatable experience might be a contributor to the current resurgence of motorcycle flat track racing. The uniquely American sport, steeped in oil and smelling of two-stroke, has engaged riders and spectators alike with its tactile accessibility and gritty authenticity. And the connection is stronger in this moment than perhaps at any other time. Around the country, riders are taking to pop-up tracks and syrup-covered arenas to test the mettle of man and machine.
The Changing Landscape of Flat Track Racing
The first faceoff between an Indian race bike and a Harley racer in over 60 years at the October 2016 American Flat Track (AFT) season finale distinctly altered the landscape of flat track. And though this re-igniting of the Harley and Indian race wars unquestionably aided interest in the sport, other efforts also deserve credit for kicking flat track racing back into top gear.
It was several years earlier that Roland Sands Design (RSD) aligned with Indian Motorcycles to catapult Super Hooligan racing into the public consciousness. This brought street bikes to the racetrack with fresh enthusiasm. Hooligan-style rough-and-ready racing took center stage at custom-culture venues such as the Handbuilt Show in Austin, The One Show in Portland, and the Superprestigio of the Americas in Las Vegas. Indoor events such as Mama Tried’s notable Flat Out Friday race and IV League Flat Track’s Daytona Concrete event—plus races in Spokane, WA and Timonium, MD— also took the checkered flag and ran with it. Some say these grassroots efforts even set the stage for AFT’s national success. Despite being packed with new energy, a look back shows none of them are new in a totally innovative sense. Indoor motorcycle racing has had prior heydays.
The Bold Return of Flat Track Racing to the Midwest
Midwesterners, in particular, have enthusiastically enjoyed indoor flat track for decades. Explanations vary, but no one disputes the cabin fever theory. Riders and spectators shut out of riding from late fall through winter thronged to indoor race events to feed the moto-jones and breathe in Blendzall fumes.
Take the nostalgic journey back to the Midwest’s original indoor flat track event, and see how the sport is making a bold return on March 21-22 2020 Indoor Flat Track In The Midwest.
If you are interested in getting close enough to smell the midwest exhaust up close and personal, you can find tickets to the War of the Twins at