Flat track racing is raw. It’s one of the few genres of racing that retains much of its original spirit. It’s dangerous and dirty and requires its competitors to wrestle their motorcycles on a constantly-changing surface. Why do people love it? Here’s my take, after a close-up view of the Indy Mile.
I walked out onto the big oval and looked up at the towering grandstand. Standing by the spray-painted finish line, it reminded me of stepping out onto a freshly lined baseball field before a game. On this giant horse track surrounded by the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the American vibes are strong.
Thanks to some organized and invested people like AMA Pro Flat Track, this kind of event is still flourishing and still compelling its spectators to stand and pump their fists in excitement. Much appreciation from the fans and racers also goes to Family Events, the promoters and marketers who set the stage for the legendary Indy Mile (they’ve also brought back the DuQuoin Magic Mile).
Though commercially backed and well-organized, it still feels indie when walking the pits and listening in on the riders meeting. I heard an open and semi-heated debate between teams followed by a group prayer to “our Heavenly Father” for riders’ safety. There’s an obvious competitive spirit between these guys, but just as apparent is the collective desire to put on a great show for the fans.
Roam the pits and you’ll see families and friends lending a hand. You’ll see teams working hard and finding ways to give their riders the edge. Here, every hundredth of a second matters.
What makes the scene of AMA Pro Flat Track races so endearing is its unpretentious environment. If you’ve been, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, it may be difficult to imagine how factory-backed teams with highly-skilled professional racers can create an atmosphere of a family reunion, but they do.
Flat track racing is one of the oldest organized forms of AMA-backed competition. The Indy Mile takes place on a horse track within fairgrounds established in 1892. Many of the motorcycles being raced have origins dating back to the first decade of the 1900s (Harley-Davidson: 1903, Triumph: 1902). You can’t avoid history’s presence here.
We don’t get too statistical here at Good Spark Garage; we’re more…nostalgical. So, if you’re curious about the final results and details of the 2015 Indy Mile, click here. I will say, numerically speaking, it’s a treat to watch a ‘main’ go the distance and be settled by .02 seconds at the finish line with third place trailing the leader by a mere .06 seconds. That was a rush.
Have a look through the rest of these pics for a captioned tour of the evening, then rejoin the text near the bottom…
I remember the bliss of playing outside as a kid. We’d ride bikes, hit baseballs, or watch sprint cars well after dark, under the lights. Now, with a little dust and a scent of race-fuel hanging over a well-lit track, the Indy Mile brought back that ol’ feeling.
I’d encourage any motorcyclist, or any fan of racing, to attend a flat track race and let the evening unfold in front of ’em. The racing will entertain the senses, for sure, but join a Fan Walk or sit in the stands and observe the happenings between heats. It’s authentically American.
(Tune in to FansChoice.tv to watch this race online.)