PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- AMA Pro Racing announced today that the Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship series will make a much-anticipated transition in format, beginning with the 2002 race season as the SuperTracker Series is integrated...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- AMA Pro Racing announced today that the Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship series will make a much-anticipated transition in format, beginning with the 2002 race season as the SuperTracker Series is integrated into Grand National Championship racing.
This integration plan first began to take shape in 1997. The dirt track community gathered together to develop a five-year plan that later became known as Project 2000, with the expressed goal of bringing more manufacturers and teams into dirt-track racing at the Grand National level. In January of 1999, the new class specifications and requirements were formalized, and the AMA SuperTrapp SuperTracker Series was launched. "At that time we made a three-year commitment to adhere to the existing standards for both the SuperTracker and Grand National series, and that has been fulfilled," said Merrill Vanderslice, AMA Pro Racing director of competition. "Many people have invested considerable amounts of planning, effort and expense over this time period, and these combined efforts have brought us to this point of transition. Now, we are right on schedule for the next step, one that had been discussed and planned from the outset. As we prepare to integrate the SuperTrackers into Grand National racing, it's clear to see that this move will indeed broaden the span of the premier level of flat track racing. In doing so, we are opening new opportunities to sponsors, we will expand our fan base and best of all, we will enhance the racing action for everybody."
Harley-Davidson's purpose-built racer, the XR750, has long dominated the GNC class, although Honda found a significant degree of success in the 1980s as the company campaigned its own purpose-built race bike, the RS750. The SuperTracker Series, in contrast, employs machines based on production-built, four-stroke twin-cylinder engines displacing 900cc to 1250cc, depending on the method used for engine cooling and valve actuation. This displacement differential is designed to compensate for the engineering allowances inherent in production-based designs, as opposed to engines conceived on a drawing board specifically for track use.
So far, Suzuki has been the most active newcomer, campaigning machines based on the TL1000 powerplant in SuperTrackers, as well as a modified SV650 in Grand National class competition. Ducati, Yamaha and Buell have also been involved, while other manufacturers continue to develop plans. "Everyone connected with both series is excited to begin competing handlebar-to-handlebar," enthused Vanderslice. "We've been monitoring lap times, top speeds and horsepower figures, and we will soon publish our findings so we can firm up the guidelines for a new, combined format that will be competitive, with as much parity as we can engineer into this newly expanded series."
According to Vanderslice, a new set of Grand National class regulations will be drafted near the end of the 2001 dirt-track season, and AMA Pro Racing will seek input from teams and other members of the racing community before the new rules are finalized. "Naturally, down the road there will be a need for adjustments in regulations as machines advance along their development curves, but that's to be expected. Overall, we will witness the advent of a new and exciting chapter in dirt track competition, and the racing will be better than ever!"
For immediate post-race results, points, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.1800FlatTrack.com, the official website of the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championships.