AMA Pro Racing, responding to published reports, confirmed today that it is considering significant changes to the AMA Flat Track Championship and has been conducting meetings with series stakeholders to determine the feasibility of such a plan.
Meetings with the AMA Flat Track Advisory Board, riders, series sponsors, tracks, promoters and manufacturers, among others, have been ongoing and additional meetings are planned.
According to AMA Pro Racing CEO Scott Hollingsworth, the objectives are to strengthen the championship and increase value to all participants.
“We believe that flat track racing is not achieving the kind of success that it’s capable of,” said Hollingsworth. “The point of this exercise is to conduct an open-minded, meaningful dialogue with the flat track community to arrive at a workable alternative to the current situation, which, in all candor, is not living up to its potential or meeting our objectives.”
The most significant feature of the new direction is the implementation of a new, separate series based on single-cylinder machinery. The inclusion of this class would allow more OEMs to participate in AMA Flat Track with the opportunity of winning a championship. Currently, winning a championship requires the use of twin-cylinder engines, automatically excluding several major manufacturers who don’t offer such equipment.
Under the plan, the AMA Flat Track Championship would consist of two series, one based on twin-cylinder equipment and the other based on single-cylinder machines. Essentially, the twins would run on mile and half-mile tracks while the singles would be used on short track, TT courses and selected half-miles. Each championship would hold stand alone events with certain events being combined. Scheduling would enable participants to contest both series. Testing to determine the suitability of twins on certain short tracks and TT courses will also be done. Ideally, 10-12 races per championship would be held.
According to Hollingsworth, the plan accomplishes many objectives the most important of which is recognizing the changing motorcycle product landscape.
“All of the major manufacturers offer a 450cc motocross bike which will form the basis of the singles class. This added class provides manufacturers with another means to market these products through racing as well as giving racers an expanded range of race bikes from which to choose. At the same time, we will continue to showcase twins because of their importance and devoted fan base.”
Hollingsworth acknowledged the role of twins in AMA Grand National Championship racing.
“AMA Flat Track has a tremendous legacy and history that we must honor and twins are at the foundation of that heritage,” said Hollingsworth. “At the same time, for the sport to thrive and prosper we must expand the opportunities that lead to increased participation and involvement. We believe the plan under consideration addresses each of these needs.”
Enabling track owners and promoters the opportunity to hold higher profile events is also at the core of the plan. AMA Pro Racing believes that stronger OEM involvement, including an expanded brand presence and improved fan interaction will give promoters a better ability to market and expose flat track racing.
“A stronger overall series is in the best interest of everyone,” stated Hollingsworth. “The riders benefit first and foremost but so do the promoters, tracks, OEMS and, ultimately, fans.”
AMA Pro Racing hopes to conclude the discussion period within the next 30 days with a 2006 racing season roll-out anticipated. More information will be released as it is finalized.