Adding to the MotoGP and AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 action of the weekend, the Legendary Indy Mile hosted the AMA Flat Track Grand National Saturday night! Located within the Indiana State Fairground is the Indy Mile, a one mile oval flat track course which is one of the oldest flat track venues in the United States. We hurried from the IMS once the track went cold, to try to make it on time to the fairgrounds. We were surprised at the line of cars leading there, not knowing how popular the fair itself was even without the flat track event. Once we got there, we hurried past buildings filled with sheep and pigs, funnel cake, concessions, and games to the big grand stands. I can’t actually say that I have been to a proper fairground like this; being from Maryland, our small state fair pales in comparison to Indianapolis!
When we got to our seats in the grand stands, we were out of breath and glad to see they were just getting started. There was a rumor that a few of the MotoGP riders would be in attendance as well. Though we were a bit far but were able to make out Cal Crutchlow, Ben Spies, Colin Edwards of course who was firing the T-shirt cannon at the crowd and Valentino Rossi who came and said ~eeh a few words. We were happy to see that the Kevin Clark, AMA Flat Track’s crazy-awesome flag marshal was there to show us how real flagging is almost like a ballet! Taking a tremendous amount of grace, coordination, and guts!
Having only been to our local Hagerstown Half-Mile, the Indy Mile didn’t disappoint! The track was twice as large and the facilities were far better. The enormous track was well lit with large spot lights all around. We were happy to see large screens displaying what was happening on the far side of the oval, which we could barely see! We were able to, at one point, see the heated red brake rotor spinning on the far side which just shows how extreme the heat the brakes generate is, and how the rider must compensate for their brake effectiveness fading as a result. If you have never attended a flat track event, you need to come see the action for yourself! I have yet to see television coverage do this sport justice. These riders go flat out on a packed dirt surface with no front brake and a piece of metal strapped to their left foot to help them slide in and out of the corners, to straighten out inches away from a concrete wall across the finish line. With the competition close, you can see handlebars hitting each other inches away from that same wall and sliding sideways into the the corners. It’s an ambiance that can’t be captured on television… they’d need a blockbuster crew with 20 cameras to get all the action.
Correction, 21 cameras because you need one for Kevin Clark, the finish line flagman! Kevin’s style is all his own! Some may try to copy it but I’m not sure if they do the flags justice! I was able to find a video by PaDad1927 taken of Kevin in 2009.
The night ended with Bryan Smith winning the Dash for Cash, Stephen Vanderkuur won the Pro Singles Race with Dominic Colindres in second and Zakk Palmer in third, Sammy Halbert took first in GNC Twins race with Brandon Robinson in second 0.026 seconds behind Halbert and Jared Mees third on the podium. What a night!