Since “motorcycling” began there has been a need for speed and as with all motor driven vehicles there has needed to be a place to make that speed happen.
In the beginning motorcycle racing tracks copied bicycle racing tracks which is where board racing came from. As I have written before those didn’t last long because motorcycles became faster and more powerful which in turn caused board racing to become more dangerous to the participants and the spectators. From those banked boarded tracks came dirt, hand banked tracks which made it possible to keep the speed up and the danger down.
Just as flat track racing (or dirt track racing as its most used name) became popular, the Great Depression came along and not long after that WWII. Both of these events took the motorcycle industry down another path and dirt track racing took a back seat.
Fast forward a little to the 1950’s and flat track racing made a comeback. This time tho the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) was formed and established the first organized national championships. This caused dirt track racing to gain popularity, getting more and more attention with the help of Bruce Brown’s documentary “On Any Sunday” in the 70’s which took this racing to a much bigger audience on the big screen. Then came TV coverage with the Wide World of Sports and its popularity seemed endless.
But as nothing lasts forever, flat track racing lost popularity in the ‘80’s as road racing and motocross racing took top billing. Where the interest in motorcycle road racing and motocross is still as popular flat track racing is making its comeback in the form of good old entertainment in a quaint atmosphere of the state and county fairs and speedways rather than multi-million dollar arenas. The riders are also able to race longer where the median age of racers now-a-days race well into their late 30’s and beyond!
How fortunate are we in Arizona to experience the comeback and see it gain popularity right before our eyes! This year we welcome again flat track racing sponsored by Chuck Franklin Law April 7,8, and 9 during Arizona Bike Week at Westworld. Then again on May 13th the Arizona Mile at Turf Paradise sponsored by Law Tigers. And to get you kick started for the flat track season March 4th flat track racing will begins again at AKA Speedway off 43rd Ave and Pinnacle Peak Rd. These races are on Saturday nights every two weeks and best of all the racing at AKA Speedway are FREE! So bring the family and have a great time supporting an all American race time!
Have fun, ride safe.
Freelance Photography & Writer