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What is American Flat Track?

Kolby Carlile

About American Flat Track 

The fastest-growing sport on two wheels, American Flat Track is the premier dirt track motorcycle racing championship in the world. A sport with a rich heritage, America’s original extreme sport is non-stop action, racing mostly on oval tracks of varying distances reaching top speeds of 140 mph and with no front brakes!  

Although its roots go back to motorcycle racing’s early pioneers a century ago, it was formally established in 1954 as the Grand National Championship, which in addition to dirt track included road racing. In 1986, road racing established its own championship and the Grand National Championship became a dirt-track-only series. Many of road racing’s top racers cut their teeth in dirt track racing and went on to become World Champions, guys like Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, John Kocinski and Nicky Hayden. 

Breaking out of the doldrums of the 2000s, flat track is experiencing a renaissance with an unprecedented level of growth and with more factory rides and contingency money than the sport has seen in years, if ever. The championship was rebranded as American Flat Track in 2017. It proved to be a landmark year for the series as it went through some big changes, most notably a simpler class structure and a new TV deal with NBCSN that helped attract millions of new viewers. 

The championship consists of 18 races across the U.S. featuring four distinct track formats: Mile ovals, Half-Mile ovals, Short Track ovals and TTs, which incorporate right-hand turns and a jump. There are three classes: AFT SuperTwins, AFT Production Twins and AFT Singles. Formerly AFT Twins, the revamped American Flat track premier class – AFT SuperTwins – consists of twin-cylinder motorcycles (650 - 900cc), featuring the latest in motorsport technology and will be piloted by an exclusive company of the fastest athletes on dirt. 

Introduced last season, AFT Production Twins was designed as an entry-level Twins championship to help bridge the gap between AFT Singles and AFT Twins. It features production-based, twin-cylinder street bike engines with displacements between 649 and 800cc. The AFT Singles class consists of production-based 450cc Motocross bikes in flat track trim. All three classes have a points-paying Main Event at the end of the night of the single-day event.

Riders in each class qualify for the Mains through a series of timed qualifying sessions, Heat and/or Semi races. In AFT SuperTwins the grid is capped at 18 riders, while the AFT Production Twins and AFT Singles’ grids will be a maximum of 16 riders. Winners of each Main Event score 25 points, with second-place taking 20 points and third-place further back with 17. After the podium, it starts with 15 points and subtracts one point with each following position so that ultimately, everyone who makes the Main Event scores at least a point.