Every winter, between Christmas and Bike Week, it seems like some kind of debate has to break out among the community. Past topics have included Restrictors vs. Unrestricted Bikes... Transitional Classes... Race Program Format... Promotional Tactics... there are always plenty of thoughts and ideas, on any topic you can think of.
This winter, the hot topic seems to be, "Is it Flat Track or Dirt Track?"
My answer is, "Yes."
Mind you, this is not a PROFESSIONAL answer. It is, however, the only answer I could give after reading all of the different ideas and opinions I'm seeing, tossed around.
One school of thought is that The Sport can not be called "flat track," as the tracks are not really FLAT. Most have banking...however slight... and then, there are the TT races. They maintain that a flat track would be an asphalt or paved track, without banking.
In horse racing, "flat tracks" are banked. They call them "flat" to distinguish them from "steeplechases," from what I understand... in other words, the horses run, but don't jump.
By following this line of thought, our form of racing could be called flat track... except for the TT races.
TT tracks are not run "flat." They include jumps.
All of our racing is done on dirt tracks... including the TT. Some argue that this makes "dirt track" the obvious title for The Sport.
And, indeed, "dirt track" IS the term used, seemingly without debate, among the many other vehicles that race on these tracks: go-karts, quads, cars...
In fact, if you search for "dirt track" on most search engines, the majority of the pages and images that come up are four-wheeled. Wikipedia, the heavily disputed (but still referred to)
internet authority on such matters, has a lengthy article on dirt track. By looking carefully, you will spot a
brief entry about motorcycles (after several lengthy pieces about cars). They even have a tiny picture to accompany the paragraph... captioned, "flat track motorcycles."
The paragraph also refers the reader to another article, entitled "Track Racing."
THIS article is about motorcycles. In fact, there is a caption below the topic header that says, "This article is about the type of motorcycle racing. For the bicycle sport, see Track cycling. For the automobile sport, see Dirt track racing."
So, by Wikipedia's standards, "Dirt Track Racing" is for cars, and "Flat Track Racing" is for motorcycles.
But... it doesn't mention the TT racing.
Several of the folks we questioned about this... each, a person who has obtained the title of "Legend..." said that they have always thought of it as "Flat
According to the old AMA books, though, it has ALSO been classified as "dirt track" for years (categories included dirt track, speedway, TT, and motocross, on old licenses).
After all the reading, discussing, and debating, the only thing I can determine is that our favorite sport is flat track and TT racing, on dirt tracks.
Yes, it's wordy. However if I say we love dirt track, people think of cars and motocross. If I say we love flat track, they think of roller derby and horseracing.
In my opinion, Chew said it, perfectly:
I read all the debate on the should it be called FLATTRACK or DIRTTRACK thing and all I can say is......BASEBALL-STICKBALL......POOL-BILLIARDS....SKIDSHOE-STEELSHOE......SHIELD-VISOR.....FILLING STATION-GAS STATION....GUN-FIREARM.......POSTAL WORKER-MAILMAN......COMPUTER-PC ...... HELMET-SKIDLID....What is my point???? If you are a LOVER of fast motorcycles that go in a circle and always turn left on some kinda DIRT be it clay or peagravel for the most part..(.sometimes they will hit a jump and make a slight right turn) YOU know when its said FLATTRACK or DIRTTRACK.....whats gonna happen....its one of the most exciting MOTORSPORTS DONE IN AMERICA ON TWO WHEELS!!!!! JMHO......CHEW"