Interview: Cameron Smith

This interview was originally published by Sideburn Magazine, the Official Magazine of Progressive American Flat Track. Read all of their content at and purchase the magazine at the Official Progressive AFT Merchandise tent at any 2021 event.

I've kept an eye out for Cameron Smith since I first noticed a young black man racing in the GNC, the only black rider I've ever seen race in pro flat track. I've been meaning to interview him for some time and finally caught up with him last week, to discuss his racing, background and plans. Here is Cameron Smith #44 - AFT Singles Class racer.

Sideburn: Tell us a bit about yourself. 

Cameron Smith: I’m 21, my birthday is in June. I’ve been riding dirt bikes for 17 years now. I currently live in Cincinnati, Ohio. But my hometown is in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

How did you get into flat track?

I met a friend who rode dirt bikes when I was 4. I met him at my babysitter’s. His family let me tag along all the time. My parents saw how much I loved it and they decided to get me my first bike, a red CRF50, on Christmas maybe a year later. It had my first number, #15, on the front. I rode it that day, I was so excited.

Are you from a family of riders or racers?

Not at all, actually. My dad was a boxer through college and my mom is in the medical field. We have sportspeople in the family, but I’m the only one in motorsports. I think it makes my family support me that much more because I’m the first in the family and I’m doing it at the professional level.

I heard you on the Off The Groove podcast describing your day job, can you tell us about it?

I work in Heating and Cooling (HVAC). I started doing it in high school. In high school, combining my workday and school day helped me find more time to race. Plus, I got to come out of high school with not only a solid idea of what I wanted to do but I also had work experience in the field already. If I could put HVAC on hold, and be a full-time racer for a while, I would do that. Maybe somewhere down the line, I’d like to have my own HVAC business.

You returned to privateer status after riding for RMR Honda in 2019, what happened?

Racing teams are a lot like relationships. Everyone needs to make compromises to make it work. One of my compromises with RMR was trying out new bikes. Those bikes were awesome for our other riders, but not so much for me. I had to get back onto my own bikes. There’s no bad blood there. It’s all about comfort and giving myself my best opportunity.

What's been the biggest win of your career?

Back in June of 2019, I raced a local race in Greeneville, Ohio, and I beat Jared Mees. It was the day before the Lima Half-Mile. I got the hole-shot, and I lead the whole race. Jared was number 1 in the AFT SuperTwins class this past season [2020]. He’s is an awesome rider. He’s won three Grand National Championships. There’s so much talent in the AFT circuit, you have to count every win. It was awesome to get one against one of the top guys racing my class, even if it wasn’t for AFT points.

You're the only African American currently racing in the AFT pro ranks, and we hardly see any black racers in the amateur ranks. Why do you think that is?

I think it’s just a different culture, you know? There haven’t been very many black racers in the sport to show people that we are welcome here and we do belong here just as much as anyone else.

Would you like to see more African-Americans involved with the sport?

Of course. It would open AFT up to a whole new, additional audience. We have a lot of pride in the black community and we love to support one another. Motorsports are awesome, and there is an appreciation for bikes in the black community, as you can see with things like Daytona’s Black Bike week. But, again, we haven’t made headway into flat track as a sport, so there are a lot of us who don’t really even know about it.

What could be done to encourage diversity?

It’ll definitely help once I get to the front of the pack and get onto those podiums. If I do that, I’m pretty sure I’ll be the first African-American on the podium. It would be huge for me and the black community. We’d be making history. I also think AFT could appreciate the additional identity that I add to the sport. We often hear a lot about the first or only girl in the sport, the first or only international rider on the track. I have one of those rare (to flat track) identities too, and I’m also a bridge to new communities and identities, just like they are. Just like little girls look up to Shayna, African-American kids/riders look up to me. We show that flat track is for everyone. If you work hard you can get out there and go fast with everyone else. It would be nice to see more emphasis on the impact I could have on opening up AFT to another community and group of fans. I’m hoping that once I get to the front, no one can ignore my race and I can encourage more diversity and inclusion in the sport.

What are your plans for 2021?

Next season I’ll still be with My plans to be riding for Cornerstone Masonry Group and B&M Masonry riding the Production Twins class. I did one race in the twins class this past season and I made the main, and I felt pretty good out there. We’re spending the off-season working on our bikes and keeping up with fitness so we can keep up out there.

If people want to sponsor you, what can they do to help?

We could always use more sponsors, donations and partnerships. If anyone is interested in getting involved and helping out, I can be reached at , or on Facebook under Cameron Smith Racing. People’s donations can go towards things like travel, sign up, tires, and gas. Thanks in advance to anyone who wants to help me get to the front next season.