Rookie Class of ’79 and Friends Named Official Charity of American Flat Track
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 15, 2018) – American Flat Track is proud to announce that AMA Pro Flat Track Rookie Class of ’79 and Friends is now the AFT series’ Official Charity Partner.
For nearly a decade, Class of ’79 has played a critical role in providing injured competitors a helping hand in their time of greatest need. It has consistently lived up to its explicit goal to help injured riders (and their families) return to racing rather than be forced to abandon the sport they love.
The charity’s somewhat unusual name points to its members’ (not so) humble beginnings as a collection of highly touted racers who ascended to the pinnacle of global dirt track motorcycle racing in 1979. Pit against one another, they ultimately bonded through intense competition. The group includes some of the greatest motorcycle racers ever, including Scott Parker, Wayne Rainey, Ronnie Jones, Charlie Roberts, Tommy Duma, Jackie Mitchell, Lance Jones, and Johnny Wincewicz.
Reunited three decades after that memorable rookie season at the 2009 Indy Mile, and reflecting on their many successes in various avenues of life over a round of golf, they decided then and there to join forces in order to give back to the sport that had provided them with so much.
Today, Class of ’79 exists as a fan-based 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that has worked relentlessly to help more than 100 AFT riders since its inception. Its services are available to all licensed AFT Twins and Singles competitors injured at any American Flat Track event, and it has not turned away a single rider seeking aid. Class of ’79 has raised nearly a million dollars to help ensure injured racers are properly supported and that their careers are not ended prematurely.
“Charlie Roberts and his team do great work on behalf of our athletes and are tireless campaigners for the sport of AFT,” said Michael Lock, CEO of American Flat Track. “We are happy to partner with them as Pro Flat Track grows and reaches a whole new generation of competitors and fans across the USA.”
AFT will support those vital fund-raising efforts throughout the year, and Class of ’79 will have a presence in the paddock at each 2018 round. Additionally, three events on the 2018 American Flat Track calendar will include Astro Invitational support races, which feature legend racers riding mid-’70s Bultaco Astro production flat track motorcycles. The first of these races was contested on at the Atlanta Short Track on April 7, with the next two happening at the Harley-Davidson New York Short Track on July 7 in Weedsport, N.Y., rounded out by the Springfield ST on September 1 at Class of ’79’s home base, Springfield, Ill.
Speaking of its home base, the charity recently opened a new office and memorabilia showroom in Springfield. To celebrate, Class of ’79 has issued an invitation to the entire flat track community to join them at an open house on Friday, May 25, as sort of a kickoff party for the much anticipated Springfield TT/Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I race weekend.
"It’s pretty cool how we were all fierce competitors 41 years ago, and how we grew to be friends with a common goal and love for motorcycle racing,” says charity organizer Charlie Roberts. “Now it’s about giving back and hopefully making a difference to those in need." For more information, or to contribute, see http://www.amaft79.com/ .
Next Up for AFT:
American Flat Track travels to Sacramento, California for the second Mile of the season, the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile presented by Cycle Gear at the legendary Cal Expo Fairgrounds. Tickets are available now at https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/1.22/52810c/#/select , and fans that can’t make the race can watch live on FansChoice.tv starting at 5:00 pm ET. For a thoroughly in-depth AFT experience with flag-to-flag coverage of both Main Events enhanced by drone and onboard footage, be sure to tune into the feature broadcast of the Sacramento Mile when it debuts on NBCSN on Saturday, June 3 at 2:00 pm ET.