Flat Track Motorcycle Racing – The Basics


flat track motorcycle racing

Flat track motorcycle racing is a kind of motorbike racing in which vehicles or teams race against each other on an open, flat track usually located near a race track or on land. There are several different variations, each version racing on a separate, varying surface type. Each track is normally painted black to help see which team is racing, but in some cases, the track may be covered in dirt. The vehicle is generally a motorcycle, although some have been known to run on water.

About Flat Track Motorcycle Racing

A person riding a motorcycle on a city street

The first flat track motorcycle racing was held in the United States at Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1903. The first ever “Motor-Car” race took place at the same place. This race was won by George Barris with his Garages Edge motorcycle. This is considered to be the first professional dirt track championship. The tracks are generally dirt with some grass mixed in.

Later on, other countries began to engage in the sport. In Japan for example, the motorcycle racing tradition has a very interesting background. As a matter of fact, it was in this country that a Japanese motorcycle racing enthusiast named Kobayashi came up with the idea. According to him, there was nothing like it in racing. He did not arrive at this conclusion alone. Many other experts joined him in this new sport.

For years, Japan did not participate in international motorcycle racing competitions. Instead, they focused their efforts on national championships and local street level races. These were not easy affairs. First of all, there were no clear rules. So the idea of building a clear, flat track with regular pit stops was not very feasible.

Still, the Japanese government took notice of this new sport and they began to sponsor national flat-track motorcycle racing competitions. This happened in the late thirties. Many participants appeared and it was not long before the Japanese overtook the USA as the biggest motorcycle driving nation. Today, you have even more reasons to watch this great sport.

Interesting Aspect Of Flat Track Motorcycle Racing

A man riding a motorcycle down a dirt road

An interesting aspect of flat track motorcycle racing is the fact that there are two types of bikes that can be used. One is the “box” style, where there are no wheels on the rear whatsoever. The other type is called “sliding” and it is exactly what the name implies. On a standard motorcycle, the rider has to slide his or her hands behind the handlebars in order to gain speed.

The Japanese, in addition to being a great road racing nation, also became experts at flat track motorcycle racing. So much so that in addition to building their own tracks, they also made motorcycles with the slanting sides. These types were built to take all the bumps and irregularities the road brings. As a result, the motorcycles never had to come down hard in order to go forward; in fact, some even had the ability to brake.

When comparing flat track motorcycles to their American counterparts, you would quickly see how drastically the difference can be. For instance, in flat track motorcycle racing, there is less chance for the riders to break bones and suffer major injuries. Riders do not have to worry about hitting trees and other obstacles. Furthermore, the Japanese also build their tracks at a much higher speed than the Americans do. Because of these factors, the bikes are always on the move.

Differences In Flat Track Motorcycle Racing

Some of the other differences in flat track motorcycle racing include the length of the courses, the elevation and the layout of the tracks. Because of the longer, thicker tracks, the riders are able to cover greater distances at a faster speed. In flat track races, the course distance is actually shorter because it is assumed that the rider will cover the entire track. The courses are not designed with obstacles to challenge the rider’s skill. The purpose of the course is to challenge the motorbikes and riders as a whole instead of trying to injure individual riders.

The course and layout of the flat track also prevent the riders from suffering concussions. Concussions are very common in many racing sports and, to a lesser extent, in motocross racing. However, the absence of the bumps on the tracks decreases the likelihood of receiving a knock to the head. Because of this, more people are opting to participate in this type of competition. In addition, because the courses are generally shorter than those in other types of competitions, the actual competition can be over in a matter of minutes rather than hours. This is a huge advantage because it makes the races far more interesting to watch.

Final Thoughts

Flat track motorcycle racing has been around for years and it has become more popular in recent years. The tracks provide a challenging course for the riders and allow them to compete against each other. The flat tracks give the riders a real taste of the real motorcycle racing experience without having to risk serious injury. Therefore, if you have always dreamed of participating in this type of competition, then you should definitely look into purchasing your own piece of equipment and getting ready for this year’s season.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter