Instead, the main thing it's done, from my fan's perspective, is lost some of flat track's unique identity. Imagine you were a motorbike enthusiast, travelling through the US on holiday and heard that a big flat track race was happening just up the road and you could get along to see it.
You don't do any research; you don't know much about the sport, except what you've seen in On Any Sunday. So you just roll up and pay your money at the turnstiles and take a seat with a beer. But it's a short track race. And everyone looks like a motocrosser. No one is in the cool leathers you've seen photos of. And the bikes don't look like you expected. They all look like motocross guys. But they're not even doing jumps!
Eventually you might get into the racing, because that's still good, but the whole experience is dulled. And sport has to be an experience if it's going to reach beyond the hardcore.
I don't blame the AMA for trying, but go back through the blog and you'll see we were never fans of the idea. And neither are we Luddites, kicking against progress and digging our heels in. But pro flat track isn't growing and no one is addressing this issue, yet. The aesthetic appeal of flat track bikes and flat track riders in their leathers is one of its great strengths.
So I was pretty excited when our friend Roger F sent us links to photos of brand new framers being built around engines that haven't been used in pro flat track before. Thanks Roger!
* modified modern motocross 450s
** modern engines in custom, dirt track specific chassis, with dirt track tanks and bodywork
Harley-Davidson of Frederick. This is an engine Jared Mees talks about in his exclusive interview in Sideburn 20.
The chassis is a traditional cradle frame, but with a twin backbone. This is a wet-sump engine, so no need for oil-in-frame.
I don't think H-D of Frederick have plans to race this actual bike, they are developing the chassis to sell for road and track.
An update on H-D of Frederick's Facebook shows the exhaust in progress.
The amazing rear suspension linkages made by M3 Racing.
C and J Yamaha FZ-O7
The other interesting brand new framer is the Yamaha FZ-07 in a C and J chassis.
According to Southland Fabrications (where these shots are taken from), C and J have already shipped ten chassis with another ten coming soon.
Can it have similar success to that of the Kawasaki 650 framers?
Race Tech Suspension has shocks available already.
Grand Prix Glass has tail sections available
Metalsports Racing wheels have wheels available.
Fred @ RaceTec Racecraft has aluminum tanks available as well.
Cory Texter was racing the Babe DeMay/ Memphis Shades Yamaha FZ framer out in Florida and Georgia before Daytona (below). He had some teething problems, but the twins season doesn't start till the end of May, so they have time to shake it down. He said it was fast straight out of the box as a stock engine.
And that's another thing, AMA, why have 10 weeks of hibernation between Daytona and the next round? I know the weather is unpredictable in the mid-west, but surely there's a better way. G
Static photo: Flat Track Live