In a small town, about two hours north of New York City, there’s an oval shaped dirt track. On this dirt track, daring individuals slide themselves around, pushing their limits as they go. Flat track racing is not for the cautiously minded. Anytime you set foot on a racetrack you are taking a risk. With flat track, there may just be more risks.
Orange County Fair Speedway, located in Middletown, NY, is a unique track as it’s larger than most in the Northeast—half a mile—so racers get up to greater speeds, with the pros hitting 90mph. The clouds of dirt can be felt throughout the night. If you’ve never been to a flat track race, I’d like to let Jesse Kiser, Senior Editor at Ride Apart, give you a short explanation, “They call Bonneville ‘the last amateur sport,’ I think that's BS, it's flat track.” There you have it. If you want to run crazy around a track, without any brakes, without any asphalt, flat track racing might just be for you.
Flat track racing has a long history. AMA first sanctioned it back in 1932 and it was the most popular form of motorcycle racing from the 50s to the late 70s. It’s no longer the premier class of racing, as motocross and GP racing have been its successors, but it has a loyal group that gears up every time, and risks life and limb to grab the checkered flag.
There are many different classes to race. A few examples are: vintage single, vintage twin, vintage light, vintage medium, vintage heavy, vintage brakeless, modern class 450 amateur, 450 sportsman, 450 expert, expert twin, expert open, sportsman, 50 years plus, 40 year plus…the list goes on. If it can make it around the track, you can probably race it and there’s probably a class for it.
Fumi (Fumihisa Matsueda #23), is one of these racers. When I asked him why he races flat track, he said, “I thought sliding with two wheels means fall off, but in this flat track race, sliding is still under the control.”
First time he saw flat track racing? “I saw (a) photo of flat track sideways, OMG!! What a cool shit people do in US!” That about sums it up.