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 140 mph on the straights and 90 mph in the corners, all piloted by world-class athletes.

Progressive American Flat Track 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 two classes – Mission SuperTwins and Parts Unlimited AFT Singles – with riders competing in 16 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 series is categorized in an easily comprehensible format:

The premier Mission SuperTwins 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 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 a significantly boosted media presence that has helped attract millions of new viewers. A continued refinement of the rules and structure have followed in recent years to further capitalize on the sport’s enormous potential.

The 2024 season plays out over a 16-round slate featuring an ideal balance on multiple fronts, including in terms of style, legacy, novelty, geography and pacing.

Last season, the series introduced a more compressed schedule with an evolving emphasis on each of the sport’s four disciplines, encouraging alternating runs of form and championship comebacks. The result was one of the most compelling and electric Grand National Championship title fights on record. The ‘24 schedule builds on that blueprint while having a flavor all its own.

The season again takes place during prime motorcycle riding season, opening with a Daytona Bike Week doubleheader at Daytona International Speedway in early March and concluding in early September. The first half of the year provides little time to catch one’s breath with five all-action Short Tracks set to be waged over the first six races. The middle of the campaign then shifts into Half-Mile mode while a pair of late season TTs and Miles will factor heavily in determining the title fights.

The 2024 schedule pays homage to the championship’s storied legacy by featuring high-profile rounds at its most iconic venues, such as the Labor Day weekend doubleheader at the legendary Springfield Mile and the iconic 77th Peoria TT. At the same time, it introduces fresh, first-time experiences with brand-new events, including the groundbreaking Spirit of Sturgis TT – which will both take place in the heart of downtown Sturgis, South Dakota, and serve as the official debut of the all-new AFT AdventureTrackers class – and the Silver Dollar Short Track in Chico, California.

Other highlights include the DuQuoin Mile, which cast its magic once again last season by delivering a race that saw four premier-class riders representing three different manufacturers battle to the checkered flag, as well as the return of the Texas Half-Mile at Texas Motor Speedway, which will take place alongside the Goodguys 14th LMC Truck Spring Lone Star Nationals Car Show. 

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 2024. The momentum created over the past seven years has Progressive American Flat Track well positioned 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 immediately took shape as an intense battleground, stacked with world-class riders down the order. That intensity took another step forward following a rulebook recalibration intended to further level the playing field. Living legend Jared Mees and rising superstar Dallas Daniels waged a season-long struggle for supremacy with two-time Grand National Champion Briar Bauman rediscovering his magic while starting anew, their battles sending Indian Motorcycle, Yamaha, and KTM all to the top of the podium on multiple occasions.

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles has long shone a spotlight on Progressive AFT’s next generation of stars and none shone brighter than Kody Kopp in 2023. Kopp will again be the rider to chase in '24 as he attempts to become the first to ever win the class crown on three occasions, but there will be no shortage of worthy challengers with the likes of Tom Drane, Trent Lowe, and Chase Saathoff just three among a legion eager to take the throne for themselves.

The degree of machinery diversity in Progressive American Flat Track 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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