FLAT  TRACK  CHAMPIONSHIPS



- British Short Track & Flat Track Championships
- European Championships
- FIM
Flat Track Cup (= World Championship) 
- AMA Dirt Track Championship, USA
- CMA Flat Track Championship, Canada
- National Flat Track Championships of . . .
    ITY, SP, GY, NL, FR, FN, CZ, AS, SW

     + 'Flat Track of Nations'
     + 'Superprestigio'
     + UK Xmas Indoor and Out
     + Hooligan (UK/Eu) and Super Hooligan (USA) Championships



Intro:
Background, Definitions and Classification
    This latest 2018 addition to the Speedway Champions website has been made for the purpose giving fuller coverage of the disciplines included under the Track Racing division of FIM and the ACU, - Speedway, Sidecar Speedway, Grass Track, Long Track, Ice Racing, Sand Racing, Flat Track - , which issues Flat Track Standing Regulations for the sport. Covering FT racing, it has further connections and likely interest to speedway followers via the many league club speedway track venues used for staging FT racing, and the appearance of speedway riders, from SGP stars to development league level riders, that turn out on different machinery from time to time.

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    The terms Dirt Track, Short Track and Flat Track are often used interchangeably, - and confusingly - , for similar motorbike race forms: this introductory section attempts to clarify, taking the long-established American 'Grand National Championship' dirt track series as a start point.
    The first AMA Grand National title was awarded in 1946 as the successor to their pre-war 'Dirt Track Championships' for motorbike races on loose dirt surface tracks. It was initially a single annual race at the Illinois State Racetrack, a one mile loose surface dirt track. In the 1950s the event was extended to a multi-round championship on 4 different type tracks so as to identify the best all-round racer. The 4 track types were 'The Mile', 'The Half Mile' and 'Short Track', (nominal ¼-mile, often stadia-based) oval dirt courses, plus tarmac courses. In 1986 the GNC became a dirt-only championship, (the road race rounds were spun off to become the Superbike championship.) A fourth dirt course type, the TT Steeplechase, featuring irregular
shaped dirt courses with one right hand turn and a jump, was subsequently added.
    The success of Yanks in the top FIM world Road Race championships is often accredited to their grounding on dirt tracks of the GNC, (Kenny Roberts amongst the first,) where their young riders learn the control of a slide and apply it to tarmac as they control-drift out of the bends.
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    The term dirt track is thus a broad generic term embracing Short Track, (i.e. British speedway track sizes), larger dirt-based flat tracks, (e.g. Amman Valley,) and TT circuits, (e.g. Greenfield and certain Kings Lynn events,) and hence the re-designation of the 'Short Track UK' competition to the 'Grand National UK Championship' when it was expanded to include TT rounds in 2011. While UK and German meetings are usually on speedway surfaces, in Holland and France the use of grass circuits are the norm.
    For race formats, definitions and machinery classification and homologation see the final section below.


The classic
Harley-Davidson XR-750 dirt bike

  British Championships    



     A British championship series was first staged in 2005 following Stateside trips by Peter Boast, former Boston and Mildenhall speedway rider and some-time IoM, Motocross, Ice racer and all-round biker, where he took part in AMA Pro Dirt Track events. Operating initially under the banner of 'Short Track UK', “ home of British Flat Track Racing”, the competition is typically staged as a 6–8 round series on Short Track (< 400m), ½ Mile and TT Steeplechase dirt circuits, the majority being Short-Track at existing league-speedway venues.
     An 'Open' championship, - riders from Holland, Germay and elsewhere in Europe as well as from the States compete intermittently - , Italy's Marco Belli (below Lft,)was successful in 3 of the first 4 Pro Class championships but Aidan Collins, one-time Glasgow Tiger and Workington Comets rider, son of speedway's former World No.2 Les Collins, has amassed 5 titles plus 5 further podium places in the 450cc bike class on a Honda under both STUK and DTRA promotions. (The Dirt track Riders Association took over the National Championship in 2013, with licensing by MCF, - the Motor Cycle Federation.)
     In the Thunderbike class (for the big >600cc bikes and twins, where Harley Davidson XR-750's comprise most of the field,) initiator Peter Boast (below Rt,) on his big 650cc Suzuki took 3 consecutive STUK titles in 2007-'09 plus the Peterborough-staged ACU British Short Track Championships of 2008 and '09. (n.b: Several other classes, incl'g juniors and 4 with ACU status, are often included in race meetings: Pro only are addressed on this website, other than where the big twins predominate, i.e. in US and Canada.) 
     The wins of Collins, Birtwistle and Boast have resulted in Honda (in the PRO class) and Suzuki (in both PRO and Thunderbike classes) being the most successful machinery manufacturers.
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                     Marco Belli                                                                                Peter Boast
           


Peterborough action, 2017
 

Aidan Collins,  5x British Flat Track Champion



Rd.4 Kings Lynn 2014:
L>R, Oliver Brindley, Tom Neave, Alan Birtwistle.


Alan Birtwistle, Kawasaki stunt rider and DTRA UK Champion 2016 & 2017


  European Championships               FIM Flat Track (World)Cup

     At around the same time as the British ST title was being introduced, a European Short Track Championship was also being staged, structured around Dutch tracks and its riders. By 2007 British riders were taking part, but without exception, Dutchmen not only took the trophy but filled all the rostrum places, Andries Fabriek appearing there 4 times in 6 years.
    In parallel with this, a Germanic but wider-based 'International Flattrack Cup',
was also established, supported by ADAC and later by Mefo Sport, and including riders from, and venues in, Italy, Britain, Austria and Czech Republic. Brits regularly appeared on the year-end podium in the later years, Peter Boast taking the de-facto title of European Flattrack Champion in 2009.
    This Flattrack Cup was upgraded in 2012 by the granting of FIM recognition, to become the 'FIM Flat Track Cup', a World Championship in all but name,
(but note title on #1 plate in Cecchini's photo, below.) Reduced to 3 rounds, - in Czechia, Italy and France: an intended staging at Rye House in 2017 was cancelled - , the title has been dominated by Italians, Franceso Cecchini being a 4x winner with consecutive successes in 2014, '15, '16 and '17 on his TM 450Fi.


Franceso Cecchini,  4x Flat Track "World Champion"
- note title on plate !



                                                          ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



    'Flat Track of Nations'
    Soon after the establishment of a British national title, with domestic Short-track championships running in Italy, Czechia, and elsewhere, an international team event was introduced, staged first at Peterborough EOES as part of the BMF week-end. Seven countries entered, with the top 4 from the qualifiers on the day entering the 4-country Final. With England's Andrew Moore and Darren Pearson coming in 2nd and 3rd behind Marco Belli, and skipper Peter Boast 6th (of 12), the home country took the honours, the Yanks scuppered by having had two falls.
    The following year, at the 1000m Muhldorf track in Germany, Belli again took the chequered flag in the final, but with little support, England's 2nd, 5th and 7th places meant the Brits took the title again. In 2009, at Heidenreichstein, Austria, Jan-Wilhelm Jansen's win allowed the Swiss team to claim the honours.
    NATIONAL  S/T and F/T  CHAMPIONSHIPS / CUPS of EUROPE
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                        Italy,     Spain,     Germany,     Austria,     Sweden,
                        France,   Finland,   Netherlands,   Czech Republic



    Italy has one of the earliest Flat Track national title competitions going, set up well before the turn of the milennium at the ¼-mile speedway arena in Castiglione Olona near Verona. Armando Castagna, former Reading Racer and multi speedway World Finalist, and present-day FIM Director of Track Racing, was an early champion in the alternative dirt track sport in the early 1990s, and later helped establish official FMI recognition for the sport in 2012. Local riders Jacopo Monti and Marco Belli dominated the event well into the present decade after the championship became a multi-round competition following the closure of Castglione Olona. Emanuele Marzotto, son of the founder of GM speedway motors, has taken 3 Italian National Flat Track titles in the past 5 years.

   France has staged a 'Short Track' championship since 2010, (mainly on tracks of grass, with studded tyres at that period,) Today, other than Mâcon, all eight tracks staging Flat Track events are in the region of Marmande, between Bordeaux and Toulouse. In 2016 the title was re-designated the official FFM Flat Track championship. Wilfried Delestre, (seen Rt,) on a 450cc Suzuki, and Ulrich Boisserie have both achieved hat-tricks with consecutive triples.

   In the Czech Republic a Flat Track Series has been run since 2011, receiving official recognition 2 years later. An 'Open' competition, as well as local Pavel Pucko's 2 wins,(photo Lt,) Italian Emanuele Marzotto also added a pair of titles to his home nation successes.
 
    The 'Speedway Center Austria' based at Mureck as added Flat Track to its race programme and after a trial run in 2015 its championship, the AMF Flat Track Cup, has official status from the Austrian Motorsport Federation. After winning the neighbouring Czech Championship in 2014 Hanson Schruff claimed his home FT title in 2015 (photo Rt,) and '16. 

    In the Netherlands interest in Flat Track has declined since its involvement in the 'European Short Track Championship' in the previous decade, when Dutchmen filled all the rostrum places. (The above composite table duplicates winners given in the earlier matrix.) Attempts to revive it in 2012 as a national championship with KNMV recognition faded, (resident Yank Michelle Disalvo, took the Dutch FT Cup,) but the Lelystad speedway club hold regular FT training days and race meetings including their annual 'Hells Race' series and 'Flatlands Festival', which are well attended with a strong British contingent amongst the field.

     Germany: An 'International Short Track Cup' was initiated in 2001, staged almost exclusively on German tracks but 'Open' to international licensed riders. A pseudo-  European-cum-German-national championship with ADAC support, it progressed to attract a wide field, including British and Italian F/T stars who took 5 of the last 6 titles when known colloquially as the International Mefo Cup, before the event was replaced by the FIM World Cup.  (The above composite table duplicates winners given in the earlier matrix.) Only in the final eleventh year of 2011 did a German rider, Stefan Gatzenmeier, succeed in claiming the title.
    Fin Mika Sironen claimed a hat-trick by winning the first 3 Cups, while Italians Jacopo Monti and Marco Belli  claimed 4 cups, (2 each) for Italy, with STUK organiser Peter Boast a British winner in 2009.

      The hotbed of flat track racing in Spain is centred within the Catalan region, where a competition amongst top Spanish riders, the "Dirt Track de Berga", was first held in 1997 under the auspices of the FCM, (Federacio Catalana de Motociclisme.) When the local circuit in Berga was lost the national body, RFME, organized a truly national 'Spanish Flat Track Cup' with multiple rounds in Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona, but the championship was abandoned after one round of the second year when no interested promotion could be found and the local Berga Offroad Club set up the 'Dirt Track de Campion' series within Catalania under FCM. 
    Augusti Valli was a 4x winner of the early Berga event, while local boy Franc Serra, World No.2 in 2017, (in the FIM World Cup, photo'd Rt.) took the last 'Copa de Berga' in 2016 and has won the first 2 rounds of the 2018 DTC championship.
 
                       
                          n.b: See 'Other Events' below for the 'Superprestigio' competition,
                               a high profile
Spanish Catalan event, held annually in Barcelona.

     Sweden: 2018 will see the first national Swedish Flat track event when it starts its 'Swedish  Flat Track Cup.'   It will be staged over 5 rounds, and i
t is hoped to develop to a point at which a Swedish Championship can be inaugurated.
                   2018 venues:
                   Sunday     6 May,           Mariestad,      1st Mikko Koskinen

                   Saturday   (2 June) >30 June, Örebro, 1st  . . . .. . . . . . . . .

                   Saturday 28 July,            Malmö,

                   Saturday   8 September, Huddinge,

                   Saturday   6 October,      Malmö,


NORTH AMERICA


USA:  AMA  Flat Track Championship           


    The world’s top dirt-track championship is the AMA Pro Grand National Championship* that takes place in the United States. A multi-round, multi-discipline competition, all dirt-track divisions are included: mile, half-mile, short-track and TT. (n.b: Winning the “Grand Slam” trophy means that a single rider has also won a race counting towards the American Road Racing championship (on tarmac) as well as the 4 dirt track divisions.) The sport's principal steward is 'American Flat Track', a division of AMA Pro Racing, (which in turn is a subsidiary of Daytona Motorsports Group, DMG.)
     Started in 1946, (its pre-war forerunner was the 'Dirt track Championship',) the GNC was originally a single-event 25 lap competition held at the 1 mile trotting track, the 'Springfield Mile', in Illinois, which was expanded in the mid-'50s to include a range of dirt circuit lengths plus tarmac circuits. The latter were dropped from the championship and a TT Steeplechase division added to introduce a right-handed bend and jumps.
    AMA became FIM-affiliated in 1970, the GNC being validated in 1975. In the decade from 2006 a number of changes were made, concerning Twins and Singles, - see table notes. In 2017, having
re-branded itself as 'American Flat Track', (AFT,) and with a new re-designated championship title of * 'USA Flat Track Series', the premier title award is based on Twins only. In 2018 the championship comprises 8 Mile events, 4 Half-Mile, 1 Short Track and 2 TT events.
 
                      Typical scene from an AMA 1-Mile Flat Track race

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    Harley-Davidsons and Indians monopolized the winners list from 1947, (Jimmy Chann on a HD was the first triple champ,) until British bikes, - Matchless, Triumph, BSA - , were fielded in the '60s, to be usurped in turn by Japanese machines in the '70s. Kenny Roberts, a future Motorcycle Grand Prix world champion, - , America's first, and one of only 4 riders to win an AMA Grand Slam - , started his illustrious career on the dirt tracks with wins for Yamaha in 1973 and '74, whilst Honda were successful in the '80s.
    But in the '90s, after Road racing had been dropped from the GNC, only once between 1988 and 2015 have Harleys not taken the crown where eligible: Scott Parker was a 9x winner in 11 years of that period. As the millennium turned, Chris Carr, with a “horses-for-courses” policy, supplemented his Harley with Rotax, ATKs and KTMs for the differing divisions to claim 6 GNCs to add to his first success 10 years earlier.
    Current champion Jared Mees, (also a former multi- Short track Ice Speedway champ: see Ice Spplmt 5,) after 4 wins on a Harley-Davidson, was swept up by the newly resurgent Indian company for its re-entrance on to the AMA scene, ( the company had gone bankrupt in 1953,) and mounted on a Scout FTR750 in 2017 gave the Minnesota-based business its first champion in over 60 years ! (Indian are the 2018 sponsors of the DTRA's British Flat Track Championship.)

 
                              Davis Fisher                                                         Jared Mees


          an AMA line-up, 2017  - Indian-mounted Jared Mees (#1) and Bryan Smith (#2)        

                                                         ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
CANADA:  CMA / FTA  Dirt Track Championship

    Canada soon followed USA with its own Dirt Track multi-divisional national championship in 1950.  The CMA (Canadian Motorcycle Association) was incorporated with FIM in 1957, and from just 3 classes initially, - Expert, Senior, Junior - , as many as a dozen classes, including 50cc Youth, Novice and Veterans, have been competed for latterly. From 1970 to '98 top class was the '750 Expert', with a '500 Expert,Short Track' between '81 and '86 when the 750 was a dedicated ½-Mile division. From 1999 the top class has been 'Open Expert', i.e. unlimited machine size, though Harley-Davidson's 750cc twins still predominate.
    Since 2013 FTC (Flat Track Canada), under Series founder Aaron Hesmer, Paris promoter and former speedway champion, have been regulating national dirt track racing, starting with 5 rounds but now over 12 rounds per annum, at 1/8th-mile to ½-mile and TT tracks and with up to 15 classes: top PRO class is designated 'Open Expert', and 'DTX Expert' the currently popular 450cc single cylinder production bike class.
    The early years of the 1950s were dominated by Don McHugh with 6 awards, while Yvon Duhamel in the '60s became the first rider to achieve 4 consecutive victories. In the '70s Doug Sehl also took 4 consecutive wins on his way to a total of 6, but it is Don Taylor, who achieved 6 consecutive awards in the new millennium on his way to a total of 9 national awards, latterly in both CMA and FTC competitions, who tops the titles list.
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                                  Don Taylor  9x Canadian National FT Champion


Other Events      - Hooligan Championships, UK/EU & USA
                                    - 'Superprestigio',    Spain
                                   
Winter Invitationals, UK :
                                          
  'Christmas Cracker' ;   'Braintree Bonanza';   'ST Arena Cup'.

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Hooligan Championships, UK/Eu and USA
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    From a word for mindless delinquents, 'hooligans' in moto-terminology, are just active riders, – mainly seniors – , who like to race old motorcycles on dirt tracks without much in the way of rules, licenses, or bureaucracy. Hooligan racing has been happening in the USA since the 1970s, when flat track racers brought their street bikes out to race during race intermission for fun, just one step beyond 'Run What You Brung' events. What is now known as "Super Hooligan" over in Stateside came out of the likes of the 'Hell On Wheels M/C' gatherings and Harley nights at Costa Mesa Speedway in Southern California.
    Competitors in both Hooligan (UK/Europe) and Super Hooligan (USA) races are mainly amateurs with day jobs, although occasionally a DTRA or AFT (American Flat Track) Pro rider will show up for a  Hooligan championship series race. The first Super Hooligan event was actually a marketing stunt by RSD,
(Roland Sands Design, of Los Alamitos, California,) after running a Hooligan race at Sturgis, South Dakota, in 2015 where Thor Drake raced a Harley-Davidson XG750.
    Though initially mostly Harley-Davidson events, with some Triumphs, Ducatis, and Yamahas. Indian Motorcycle Company started getting involved with RSD and the Hooligan scene in late 2015. In November that year, five RSD Super Hooligan riders raced customized versions of Indian’s Scout Sixty 999cc bike in a warehouse in Los Angeles at the American launch event for the bike. After RSD-promoted display races in LA in 2016, Super Hooligan races have been appearing on the programme of more and more US biker events, and a first official US Championship was launched in 2017.
    Britain's DTRA introduced its 'Hooligan European Championship' mini-series in 2016, with 3 meetings alongside its national Flat Track competition at Peterborough, Kings Lynn and at Helzold Stadium, Heuden-Zolder, Belgium. The series was expanded in 2017 to 5 rounds, with Lelystad, Holland, staging a round as part of its annual 'Hells Race' weekend.

   Super Hooligan rules are straightforward, a rung or two above 'Run what you brung':

     - 750cc or larger twin-cylinder production-based engine,

     - Stock production street-bike frame, bolt-on mods only,

     - 19-inch flat-track or 17-inch racing rain tyres,

     - No front brake,
     - Silencer mandatory.
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                                           2016 Hooligan action at Peterborough


      2017 Final round podium, Kings Lynn                          Andy Dibrini, 2017 Super Hooligan winner
               (1,2,3  Martin, Mas, Kilpatrick )                                         with his Indian bike prize.

                                                         ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
        '
Superprestigio'     
      

    Since 2013, multi MotoGP World Champion Marc Manquez (FIM's premier class road race championship,) has organized a holiday-season selective invitational indoor dirt track competition in his home capital of Barcelona. Strict qualification to the 2 adult classes at the Paulau Sant Jordi Olympic Arena is as follows; -
 
- SUPERPRESTIGIO CLASS. Reserved to riders that take part or have taken part in the FIM Road Racing World Championship (MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3) or other premium international championships held on tarmac race tracks.
 
- OPEN CLASS. Riders with experience and palmares in international off-road racing competitions (dirt track, flat track, speedway, supermoto, enduro, motocross, etc), selected by the organizing committee or by qualifying via . . .  ( 6 defined routes including the British DTRA #1 & #2.)
    Line-ups have included many American AMA tarmac and dirt track champs, speedway stars such as SGP's Freddie Lindgren, as well as Manquez's many world and European colleges and track rivals.
    A temporary clay surface track of 200m is laid and as many as 50 riders across the 2 classes compete over 6-lap 8-rider heats and repercharges for the 8- and 14-lap
3-race Finals. The top 4 scorers from their Finals of each of these 2 disparate on-road and off-road disciplines then meet in a 'Superfinal'.
    Honours have been shared between on- and off-roaders over the years, AMA Grand National champs with 3 Superfinals and
Honda-mounted Marquez taking two. Honda bikes have had most successes with 7 podium Superfinal places, (incl'g 3 wins,) and Suzuki 3 places.
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                                  Paulau Sant Jordi Olympic Arena, Barcelona
               

                                           J.D.Beech wins the 2017 Superprestigio Superfinal


                                                          ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    -  UK Winter Invitationals :
   'Christmas Cracker'   - 'Braintree Bonanza'   - 'ST Arena Cup'

    In the close season an annual one-off open invitational has been put on, giving motorcycle sportsmen from other spheres the opportunity to have a fun day and try out the new sport without commitment.
    Staged initially at Scunthorpe's EWR track for 4 years, the 'Christmas Cracker' saw regular appearances of champs and former champs from the world of Supermoto, Superbike, MX, Enduro, IoM TT, Grass Track and Speedway alongside committed Flat-trackers, on regular dirt bikes or their own adapted machines, - e.g. no fairings, front brake disconnected. Names included Neil Hodgson, John McGuinness, Guy Martin, Steve Plater, Leighton Haig, Aussie DT champ Nigel Arnold and local-born speedway star Tai Woffinden, (at the time U21 champion.)
    At Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire-based Peter Boast topped the rostrum 3 times from 4, while at the small tight indoor 'Braintree Bonanza' Coventry Bees' Edward Kennett and Aidan Collins were the winners. At the Grantham Arena Tom Neave took the 'International 'ST Arena Cup' on both occasions.

 Race Formats and Machinery Classification
    In flat track meetings a 12-man race line-up, 4x3, is the norm, over 6 or 8 lap qualifier heats on alternating grid rows, and Finals of up to 12 or even 15 laps. Flat Track race  meetings usually have a number of classes, - in the UK often up to 8, from juniors to adult seniors and veterans: this web-page addresses only the senior adult Pro class plus limited Thunderbike data. In USA these are identified as the 'Singles' and 'Twins' classes. The former refers to the 450cc bikes, the Thunderbikes or Twins to 750cc machines, (though unlimited in past times, taking in 1000cc or 1200cc Harleys and Indians. The Pro class limits, for 2-stroke and 4-stroke, have also varied over the years, both in UK and USA) 
     Unlike speedway, a wide range of  bikes can be seen on FT club days, from MX, Enduro, Supermoto, Dirttrack DTX, etc., from numerous
manufacturers, - Japanese, British, Austrian, Spanish, Swedish, American. Developed from MX bikes but with lowered suspension, dedicated DTX competition machines must be commercially available models of production-run quantities, thereby making the sport more financially viable to would-be riders. In competition a rear brake is mandatory, front brake prohibited, (disconnect on the day if fitted); no fairing; fuel only as available from road-side pumps, (i.e. petrol and no additives); 19" wheels, with rear tyre type to a specified range, front unspecified. A left-foot steel shoe is used.

   Champions' machinery 2017:
     
TM 450 (as ridden by World Champ Franceso Cecchini)               Indian Scout 750 (as ridden by AMA Champ Jared Mees)

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                                                         ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
AMA-derived Definitions of Flat Track Races
:

The Mile: A race held on an oval-shaped dirt course approximately one mile in length.
(These races became popular because of the availability of horse racing venues around the USA, and are typically held during the off-season for horse racing. They usually favour motorcycles with larger engine displacements such as the Harley-Davidson XR-750.)
The Half Mile: An event similar to a mile race, also held on an oval-shaped dirt course with a shorter lap distance.   (Despite the distance, tracks may vary in length, because they are often held on the same venues that hold car events.)
Short Track: A race held on an oval-shaped dirt course approximately a quarter mile or less in length.
(As well as on British-type speedway tracks these tight courses have been held indoors at venues such as the Houston Astrodome and favour lighter motorcycles based on two-stroke motocross machinery.)
TT Steeplechase: A race held on an irregularly shaped dirt course which usually features one right hand turn and one jump.  (This event also favours lighter motorcycles, but larger motorcycles have also been successful.)
Road Race: A race held on paved, purpose-built race tracks. (A former GNC division, NOT included since 1986. The most famous event on the AMA calendar is the Daytona 200.)

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