One of Illinois’ most storied motorsports events, one that’s akin to the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 in the world of flat track motorcycle racing, kicks off this weekend with the annual spring running of the Springfield GNC TT and the always epic Springfield Mile, round three of the 2006 AMA/Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship.
“For flat track racers, at least since I’ve been around, the Springfield Mile race on Memorial Day weekend is like our Daytona 500 and the Springfield Mile race in the fall is like our Indy 500,” said Ford QC’s Chris Carr, the defending AMA/Ford QC Flat Track champion. “The racing action’s always tight, it’s the place where everybody wants to win and, plain and simple, the Springfield Mile is what sells the sport of flat track.”
The Springfield Mile’s history dates back to the early 1930s. They ran the race there through 1966 before the track took a 15-year hiatus. Making a comeback in the early 1980s, the Springfield Mile can be considered the premier long distance event on the AMA/Ford QC flat track circuit.
“It used to be they determined the National Champion by who won the Springfield race,” said Carr as to the race’s importance in past years. “It wasn’t until around 1954 that they started using the modern scoring methods.”
Carr has won the Springfield Mile on several occasions, but has yet to win the Springfield TT (held on Saturday prior to the Mile).
“I think I’m capable of winning at any track we go to, but the odds are better on miles and half miles,” said Carr. “Short track and TTs can be a crap shoot, so a lot depends on your start there. A big budgeted team doesn’t mean a lot on a short track or TT, but it does on the miles and half miles.”
Carr added that the jump on the Springfield TT has been heightened this year – a plus for the fans, but something that could be difficult on the riders.
“I wouldn’t say it was bigger, but it has a harsher landing,” said Carr, comparing the Springfield TT to the Peoria (Ill.) TT’s famous 4th gear jump. “Springfield, depending on how you’re set up, will be 2nd or 3rd gear. It’s not a high speed jump. It shoots you up and out and you have to time it perfectly to land on the down slope. It’s a technical jump that will favor guys with off-road experience.”
Carr continued: “They’ve had that jump in the past, but last year’s was more of a bump. This one is really similar to one we had three years ago. Fans are certainly going to see flat trackers flying through the air, there’s no doubt about that!”
Carr has explained in the past that the Springfield Mile can define who he’ll need to beat to win the AMA Twins championship this season.
The current AMA/Ford Quality Checked Flat Track champion, winningest active racer in the sport with 72 wins and seven AMA/Ford QC Flat Track championship titles, the Chris Carr legend continues. For more information on Chris Carr, visit his website at www.chriscarr.com.
Combining the sport’s heritage with absolutely mind-bending speeds, this is one event motorcycle racing fans have to see “Live.” For ticket information, please call (866) 807-7918 or visit www.illinoismda.com online. But if you can’t make it to Springfield, the race will be broadcast on a pay-per-view basis over the Internet through LiveISports. The cost of the Springfield flat track weekend is $8.95. For more information check out www.liveisports.com.