During a year when winter has seemed to drag on indefinitely, eagerness to kick off riding season has never been higher. Thankfully, the green light that Midwest gearheads get during the weekend of the Donnie Smith Bike Show came a day early with the War of the Twins. The three days of moto mania chronicled in the Sturgis Rider News® article Donnie Smith Show and War of the Twins Kick Off the Riding Season proved motorcycles can be just as fun indoors as they are out.
It had been 38 years since indoor flat track racing last made an appearance in the Twin Cities, but it has picked up right where it had left off.
Technically the sport hopped the Mississippi, moving from the Minneapolis Armory to the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. But the slew of legendary Twin Cities racers in the building and the excitement hanging in the air atop a thick cloud of exhaust indicated there wasn’t much that had changed since 1980.
Seasoned fans eager to relive the glory days of “The Indoors” at the Armory were among the first to fill seats for the mid-afternoon start of the qualifying heats. These early birds caught plenty of thrills and spills as racers fought hard to get a handle on the fine mist of soda syrup that had been sprayed onto the track the night before.
And it wasn’t long before the next wave of indoor flat track fans began filing into the Coliseum to fill in most of the remaining 5,250 seats that surrounded the track.
Racers in Pro Twin, Pro Single, Pro Hooligan, Amateur Hooligan, Vintage, Amateur Open and Mad Dog classes each took their turn at the line in a fast-paced production run almost entirely by Twin Cities racing’s old guard.
One surprise after another kept fans glued to their seats—albeit on the edge of them—throughout the main event. Taking your eyes off the track for just one moment could mean missing an insane moment like 12-year-old Corbin Erickson whooping the crap out of a bunch of old guys on his 250 in the Amateur Open class.
Even halftime kept fans’ attention, as the legends of flat track retrieved their bikes from a single-file lineup on the inside of the oval to parade them around the track.
After a three-hour whirlwind of going fast, turning left and burning off plenty of rubber, racers left fans on a high that couldn’t be blamed on all the smoke.
The War of the Twins was one heck of a way to kick off the weekend of the Donnie Smith Bike & Car Show. And judging by all the race buzz that continued on the show floor the following two days, Indoor Flat Track has carved out a permanent place in the lineup for the coming years.
We can’t wait to continue the tradition.
Relive the War of the Twins Indoor Flat Track Races or see what you missed by checking out the official 2018 recap video:
To get see some of the amazing bikes, cool cars and fun folks from Donnie Smith Bike & Car Show, check out Donnie Smith Show and War of the Twins Kick Off 2018 Riding Season in the Sturgis Rider News Blog.