So, it seems that Super Twins has quickly transformed from an idea tabled for discussion to a confirmed change. American Flat Track sent these FAQs out to their competitors in the last day or so. This is the entire document, with some of my thoughts at the bottom, entitled:
Competitor Memorandum – AFT SuperTwins FAQ
Q: Why has AFT decided to change the premier class from AFT Twins to AFT SuperTwins?
A: AFT developed the SuperTwins concept from the ground up to build the stars of the sport, deliver visibility and value for teams and manufacturers, ensure that recognizable teams and riders are in the Main Event every week and to package the premier class for live broadcast.
Q: What is the goal of the new AFT SuperTwins class?
A: The goal of AFT SuperTwins is to successfully package our premier AFT class as the best flat track racing in the world and as a scalable national professional sports league where all key stakeholders (Teams, OEMs, Riders, Partners and Fans) get to enjoy the benefits. The SuperTwins class will be the prototype for the future of the sport and will deliver on the desire from our broadcast partner for AFT to have a racing class ready for live television.
Q: Does that mean that AFT Production Twins and AFT Singles won’t be on TV next year?
A: AFT Singles and AFT Production Twins will continue to be an integral part of AFT’s cable and live streaming coverage in 2020.
Q: How many available spots are there in SuperTwins?
A: AFT SuperTwins will be open to 16 season-long entries.
Q: How much will it cost to be approved for AFT SuperTwins?
A: The cost of competitor licenses and season-long entry fees will not substantially increase in 2020. There will be additional costed services provided as part of the SuperTwins Team contract.
Q: What are the benefits of becoming a SuperTwins team?
A: All SuperTwins Teams will benefit from guaranteed exposure, coverage and reach to AFT’s substantial and growing audiences. The total reach for AFT SuperTwins will be a very attractive tool for teams motivated to improve their revenue from partnerships and sponsorships. All SuperTwins Teams will have access to a multitude of AFT data and presentation tools, access to exclusive video and photo content along with a license to utilize the footage, access to AFT tracks for testing, guaranteed broadcast and editorial coverage, customized marketing materials, exposure valuation reporting and sponsor credential packages. Additional benefits and services will be defined in the offer document.
Q: Which Teams will be eligible to field a motorcycle in SuperTwins? What happens if I am not selected as a SuperTwins Team?
A: Any team, whether they are currently fielding an AFT Twins entry or they are new to the sport, will be eligible to apply for up to three of the 16 available SuperTwins season-long entries as long as they meet the entry criteria. AFT will evaluate all applications according to a set of criteria which will be defined in the offer document. In the event of more than 16 qualified applications, AFT will form a wait list. Teams will be able to apply for either a single year contract or multi-year options.
Q: When will Teams be able to apply for SuperTwins?
A: Technical and operational requirements are currently being finalized and it is anticipated that applications will go live by early September.
Q: Which Riders are eligible to compete in SuperTwins?
A: All licensed AFT Twins riders and any AFT Singles riders that meet the criteria to advance are eligible to compete in SuperTwins.
Q: Who is the primary point of contact for AFT on a SuperTwins Team? Is it the Rider?
A: As the SuperTwins class transitions to team-centered management, as opposed to rider-centered, the Team Principal will be AFT’s primary point of contact.
Q: Can a rider also be the Team Owner?
A: Yes, A rider can be the Team Owner provided they meet the entry requirements.
Q: What entry requirements do SuperTwins Teams have to make?
A: SuperTwins Teams will be required to enter in all SuperTwins rounds for the season and will be required to register a single manufacturer of motorcycle for use during the season. In exceptional circumstances a Team may be able to switch brands once. However, Teams may change riders if they deem it necessary to do so.
Q: I am an approved SuperTwins team, and my rider is unable to compete in an event, what are my obligations?
A: The Team will be contracted to field an entry, either by putting a Twins-licensed rider on their motorcycle or leasing their SuperTwins grid position to an alternate Team approved for competition in SuperTwins by AFT.
Q: Will there be any SuperTwins wildcard entries available?
A: As season-long entries are required for SuperTwins teams, AFT anticipates 16 full-time grid positions at every event. In the case where there are fewer than 16 entries at any event, wildcards may be considered.
Technical Rules and Event Regulations
Q: What paddock requirements are there for SuperTwins Teams?
A: All SuperTwins teams are required to have a professional paddock appearance that includes a straight truck, Toterhome/trailer or full semi-truck/trailer along with branded tents/awnings and branded barricades.
Q: How will race purse and Championship Point Funds be paid out in SuperTwins?
A: SuperTwins Team Owners will receive the race purse and Championship Point Funds earned by their Teams. However, the Team Owner may designate any corporate entity or individual, such as the Rider, as the payee for race purse and championship point funds.
Q: How will the payouts for SuperTwins in 2020 compare to the current Twins payouts for 2019?
A: Performance payouts will be the same or greater than in 2019. Championship Points Funds and start money will be dependent on commercial sponsorship of the class.
Q: Will there be different rules regarding the safety equipment required for SuperTwins?
A: Additional safety requirements for rider apparel will be introduced for AFT SuperTwins, including the mandatory use of airbag-equipped riding suits, although this is anticipated to be extended to the whole AFT paddock in due course. Riding suit vendors should contact AFT’s Chief Competition Officer, Joey Mancari, for further details.
Q: Are there any major changes to the 2020 SuperTwins technical rules in comparison to the 2019 Twins rules?
A: No major changes to the rules for SuperTwins are anticipated in 2020.
Q: What event format is planned for SuperTwins?
A: The typical event format for SuperTwins will be as follows:
• Two (2) Practice Rounds
• One (1) Extended/Enhanced Qualifying Round
• Two (2) SuperTwins Semi Finals
• One (1) SuperTwins Main Event (Timed to accommodate Live broadcast windows)
These might be FAQs, but there are still big questions and thoughts.
What are the criteria for being one of the 16 riders?
How does a new manufacturer enter the class if it's already full?
Some up and coming riders are faced with huge investments to buy a race truck to make the paddock look more 'MotoGP', when the sponsorship in the sport hasn't risen to those levels yet. Does that mean we could see an F1 situation where a well-backed rider with the best pit appearance is on the grid in place of a fast rider on a shoestring?
What does 'enhanced' qualifying mean?
MotoGP has one race during the weekend, but it lasts around 30-40 minutes. WSB was built on having two races. This format has two short races, much like has been running this year. Is that enough?
This points to Production Twins becoming a much bigger class.
FTR750s can't (currently) be used in Production Twins, so what happens to the Indian privateers who don't make the 16-rider cut?
Not a questions, but we've heard that the Super Twins mains will be longer, teams already working out how to carry more fuel in a way they won't upset handling.
The document states, 'The SuperTwins class will be the prototype for the future of the sport and will deliver on the desire from our broadcast partner for AFT to have a racing class ready for live television.' In moto road racing a crashed bike tends to slide way out of harm's way in the run-off. In cars, a pace car can enter a multi-lap race and not disrupt the spectacle too much. In flat track there must be a red flag. How does that affect the live TV spectacle? Three have bee recent AFT races with three red flags.
Lot's more to come on this, no doubt.
Photo: Scott Hunter/AFT