AMA Pro Racing announced today that it will move forward with plans to implement major changes to the AMA Flat Track Championship. Beginning with the 2006 racing season the championship will feature two separate classes, one for twin-cylinder equipment and one for single-cylinder equipment. The changes come at the conclusion of a series of comprehensive meetings with series stakeholders including the AMA Flat Track Advisory Board, riders, sponsors, tracks, promoters and manufacturers, among others.
In making the announcement, AMA Pro Racing CEO Scott Hollingsworth confirmed that the input of everyone involved with the meetings has been invaluable.
“This has been an extremely worthwhile process and one which provided us with a wealth of insightful information,” said Hollingsworth. “The objectivity and desire to improve flat track racing exhibited by virtually all parties has been encouraging.”
The championship will now feature two equal classes. Twins will run primarily on mile and half-mile tracks with consideration of other venues and the singles will run on short-track, TT courses and selected half-miles. Each class will award points independently and a champion will be crowned in each series. Riders are encouraged to campaign both championships and the schedule will be created to allow such participation. The twins class will continue to feature equipment with displacement between 750cc and 1250cc while single-cylinder engines up to 450cc will be allowed in the singles class. Also, plans call for combined points from both series to be totaled for a year-end points fund distributed to the top 20 riders.
Hollingsworth confirmed that the overriding objective of this plan is to build on the popularity of flat track racing while recognizing the tremendous heritage and history of the discipline.
“There’s no question that expanding rider, fan and manufacturer involvement is in the best interest of flat track racing,” said Hollingsworth. “One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to offer a class that features equipment from one of the most popular and fastest growing motorcycle categories and that is 450cc motocross bikes. Similar to what we’ve done with Supermoto racing, a racer will be able to field a competitive bike by easily modifying a production 450 motocrosser.”
Bruce Bober, AMA Pro Racing Flat Track Series Manager added that the support and interest of all major OEMs is a key factor in the new direction.
“Showcasing this equipment through expanded forms of racing was an idea that has been strongly embraced by each of the manufacturers, particularly the Japanese,” said Bober. “Now, in addition to AMA Supercross, AMA Motocross and AMA Supermoto, manufacturers can market their products in this important sales category through participation in the AMA Flat Track Championship.” In addition to fielding factory and support level teams Bober expects to see additional OEM backing in the form of increased contingency, event sponsorship and technical assistance.
Pat Alexander, Sports Promotion Manager at American Suzuki Motor Corporation believes the changes will be good for the sport of flat track.
“We’re glad to see that AMA Pro Racing is implementing these changes,“ said Alexander. “The increased opportunity for our competitors to get involved in the sport will enhance the racing and provide more prospects for individual riders and teams.”
Harley-Davidson, undoubtedly the motorcycle brand with the biggest investment in flat track racing agreed and is also supportive of the plan.
“We’re pleased with the new direction AMA Pro Racing is taking their flat track series, and we believe this will inject new excitement and foster a higher level of competition in this purely American form of motorcycle racing,” said Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso.
The 2006 AMA Flat Track Championship is set to kick off at Daytona Municipal Stadium during Daytona Bike Week, March 6-11. AMA Pro Racing plans to release additional details including a complete schedule in the coming days.