The Resurgence of Flat Track

A Resurgence of Dirt Track Racing

 

2015 looks like an exciting year for Flat Track racing. There is a renewed interest in this long running racing format, from small local events here in B.C. like the Flat Track Moto Race at the Pemberton Speedway to the big races such as Return to Delmar with big names like Roland Sands. Another big name in racing getting into flat track this year is three time Superbike World Champion Troy Bayliss who recently started off the Memorial Day Weekend’s Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Mark your calendars for the X Games from June 4-7 at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. For the first time, Harley-Davidson flat-track racing will be included, joining a diverse sports lineup featuring the world’s top action sport athletes. Harley-Davidson flat-track racing will feature athletes racing high-performance motorcycles around an oval track at speeds up to 130 mph.

With the roots of flat-track racing dating back to the early 1900s, the sport is one of the most traditional motorcycle racing disciplines. Flat Track racing is intertwined with the history of board track racing.  In the early years, motorcycles were used to pull bicycles onto 45-degree banked wooden tracks for races; however, soon the motorcycles began to replace the bicycles altogether. Motorcycles kept getting faster and more powerful until the board track races had become too dangerous for both racers and spectators. In 1925 the AMA introduced a smaller, 21 cubic inch race class intended to make board track racing safer by lowering speeds. The new class did not rescue the board track but did produce a formidable new dirt track racer. Race promoters began building oval tracks with dirt banks, and flat track, or “dirt track” racing became a hit in North America.

Joe Petrali joined Harley-Davidson’s factory race team and won all 13 A.M.A. National Dirt Track Championship races in 1935 aboard a “Peashooter”. The efficient overhead valve Harry Ricardo-designed cylinder head, gave it plenty of punch, which coupled with its light weight made it capable of nearly 100 mph when race-tuned.     Fred Pazaski built this replica of Petrali’s 1935 winning machine.

It is currently on display, alongside a 1994 883R Sportster Flat Tracker and Trev Deeley’s 1949 WR Racer. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, Trev dominated flat track motorcycle racing in the Northwest. He became a factory sponsored rider for Harley-Davidson. His bikes bore the number 22 and, as an AMA expert national plate holder, Trev was the first Canadian to have this honor. After retiring from racing, Trev continued to affiliate with the sport through sponsoring and tutoring new riders.

Come see this and other motorcycles on display here at the Deeley Exhibition.  We are in the same building as Trev Deeley Motorcycles, the world’s 4th oldest Harley-Davidson dealership and to top it off, we also have one of Vancouver’s most unique reception venues here at Deeley Exhibition.

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