Progressive AFT 101

Progressive American Flat Track is America’s original extreme sport as well as the guardian of the Grand National Championship series, formally established in 1954 but with roots reaching back to motorcycling’s original speed demons of a century ago.

At its core, professional flat track racing is a hyper-competitive, adrenaline-fueled American motorcycle sport featuring custom-built and production-based motorcycles reaching top speeds of 140mph on the straights and 90mph in the corners, all piloted by world-class athletes.

Progressive AFT is widely recognized as the most prestigious and competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing in the world. Much has changed over 100 years, but the sport remains perhaps motorsport’s purest test of man and machine.

Over the decades, many of the world’s best motorcycle racers have emerged from America’s dirt track venues – legends like original Indian Wrecking Crew members Bill Tuman, Bobby Hill and Ernie Beckman during the 1950s, Gary Nixon and Dick Mann in the 1960s, Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, and Wayne Rainey during the ’70s and ’80s, and Nicky Hayden in the ’90s and 2000s. All were superb flat track racers – several of them Grand National Champions – and many used the skills they first developed on the dirt to revolutionize Grand Prix Motorcycle racing and attain global superstardom.

Today’s series is comprised of three classes – Mission® SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle, Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER, and Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines – with riders competing in 18 races across the country featuring four distinct track formats: Mile ovals, Half-Mile ovals, Short Track ovals and TTs, which incorporate right-hand turns and a jump.

The reclassification of the new series is categorized in an easily comprehensible format:

The revamped Mission® SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle class consists of twin-cylinder motorcycles (649 - 900cc), utilizing the latest in motorsport technology and piloted by an exclusive company of the fastest athletes on dirt. 

The Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines class features production-based, twin-cylinder street bike engines with displacements between 649cc and 900cc. Race-only engines from machines such as the Harley-Davidson XR750, Honda RS750, and Indian Scout FTR750 are not eligible in AFT Production Twins.

The Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER class consists of production-based 450cc off-road machines specially prepared for flat track competition.

Professional flat track racing is currently experiencing a significant rebirth, much of which can be credited to changes instituted in 2017: a name change, a simpler class structure, and significantly boosted media presence that helped attract millions of new viewers.

The 2022 schedule is ideally balanced in its March-October dates, coast-to-coast locations, and blend of eight Half-Miles, five Miles, two TTs, and three Short Tracks and is set to establish Progressive AFT as a highlight attraction at some of the world’s biggest motorcycling events, including Daytona Bike Week, Laconia Motorcycle Week, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and Daytona Biketoberfest. There are also races on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day weekends, along with a shared spotlight with IndyCar at Texas Motor Speedway, giving the entire year of celebratory feel.

Along with traditional mainstays, such as the Springfield Mile doubleheader, Peoria TT, Lima Half-Mile, and Sacramento Mile, a number of fan and rider favorite venues are back on the schedule. The Red Mile, Laconia Short Track, and Black Hills Half-Mile all last took place in 2019 and are set to make their triumphant returns to the calendar in 2022, while the Castle Rock TT is back for the first time since 2014.

There will also be two new additions to the slate: I-70 Half-Mile in Odessa, Missouri, and the Cedar Lake Short Track in New Richmond, Wisconsin.

America’s oldest and purest form of motorcycle sport is back on the radar, making that thunderous noise we all love, and it’s certain to continue in 2022. The momentum created over the past five years has well positioned Progressive American Flat Track to take the next step in its meteoric rise, spearheaded by the Mission SuperTwins class.

Mission SuperTwins was engineered with the specific intent of building the profile of the stars of the sport, dramatically increasing visibility for teams and manufacturers and driving ROI for the sponsors that support their competition efforts. Successfully packaging the premier Progressive AFT class as the best flat track racing in the world and as a scalable national professional sports league allows all key stakeholders (teams, OEMs, riders, partners, broadcasters and fans) to enjoy the benefits.

As expected, Mission SuperTwins has immediately taken shape as an intense battleground, stacked with world-class riders down the order. Title rivals Jared Mees and Briar Bauman are widely expected to wage another titanic war for supremacy again in ‘22. However, a scary talented roster of Yamaha-, Harley-Davidson-, and private Indian-mounted aces – along with the addition of a rulebook recalibration intended to the level field – creates the potential for a greater number of combined race winners than the sport has seen in years.

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles is traditionally a wide-open affair. Last year, Dallas Daniels became the first rider to ever successfully defend the class crown. He’s now stepped up to Mission SuperTwins for 2022, setting the stage for a multi-rider title fight in his absence. Two-time runner-up Max Whale has to be tipped as the early title favorite, but a number of established heroes like Morgen Mischler, as well as rising prospects, such as Trevor Brunner, Trent Lowe, and Kody Kopp, all have the skills to claim the #1 plate for themselves.

The Mission Production Twins class put on a spectacular show since its 2018 debut. 2022 should be a highlight season before the class officially merges with Mission SuperTwins in 2023. During its time, the class developed its own heroes, such as Cory Texter, Chad Cose, Ben Lowe, and Ryan Varnes, who remain firmly entrenched as title favorites. 

Another exciting addition is the Mission Production Twins Challenge, which will act as a bridge to 2023. Following the Mission Production Twins Main at each event, the top four finishers will be granted provisional starting positions for the Mission SuperTwins Main Event, which will allow for repeated head-to-head comparisons between the Mission SuperTwins contenders and the most competitive Mission Production Twins machines, providing critical data to guide the future evolution of the technical rules.

The degree of machinery diversity in all three Progressive American Flat Track classes is astounding and bound to grow even greater in the coming years. 

Boil it all down and you’re left with this single, undeniable fact: There really is nothing like Progressive American Flat Track. Anywhere.

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