I feel this might get some of the ol' timers revved up, but here goes: AFT have set entry number limits for the singles events. Get ready for someone to say, 'There used to be 120 entries in my day'!
These are the limits. I guess the higher number of entries at the TTs is because Production Twins don't compete at AFT's TT races so there is more room in the schedule.
TTs: 48 entries
Short Tracks: 32 entries
Half-Miles: 32 entries
Miles: 32 entries
If the reason for this this change isn't blindingly obvious, we'll spell it out. AFT is the pinnacle of the sport and not looking to be the grassroots or everyman option the AMA might have been regarded as in the past. By limiting the numbers of entries you can have a tighter schedule. The AFT's schedules are one of the things we have a problem with, they're too drawn out for the amount of track time. Hopefully this is the another step to try improve it.
A more focussed entry should allow AFT to improve track prep: fewer heats, fewer bikes blowing the track out, more time for prep on a given race day.
Those who are entered get more chance to shine, more chance to impress/attract a potential sponsor, more chance to try eke out a living of the sport (but still a slim chance).
AFT adds 'Season-long entrants will be given priority when entering events, so riders are advised not to wait until the deadlines to enter.
'DAYTONA TT entries are currently open and filling, so riders and teams are advised to enter as soon as possible.'
The downsides are: fewer racers will get the chance to experience AFT for the first time; local hot shots, who don't get their entries in early enough, won't get a chance to fight through to the main. It is undoubtedly going to be slightly harder for new riders to make it into AFT, but the cream rises and the good riders will get there. Also, fans who want to sit in the stands for ten hours watching every practice, qualifying session and heat race will see less track action at the beginning of the day.
Photo: Scott Hunter/ AFT