We saw photos from this weekend's Flat Out Friday indoor dirt track event and we were blown away. The Milwaukee race is arguably the biggest dirt track draw in the world at the moment. Few AFT races attract a bigger crowd.
We spoke to regular Sideburn contributor, and Flat Out Friday (FOF) staffer, Ed Subias about the event.
All photos: Ed Subias
Sideburn: Hi Ed, can you tell us what your role is with FOF?
Ed Subias: Media Director would be the fancy title. I run the social media accounts, help with the website, create content and help with odds and ends such as creating graphics that played on the large monitors inside of the race venue, contributing ideas for the event, etc.
How many FOFs have been held in Milwaukee?
Eight in total. Seven in the winter, run in conjunction with the Mama Tried Show, and one stand-alone race held during the summer a few years back during Harley-Davidson's 115th anniversary.
What are the main differences or improvements between the first one and the latest?
The one main difference would be how smoothly the event runs now due to lots more experience and planning.
Tell us about the venue, non-US readers might not know anything about it.
The Fiserv Forum is the newest and biggest arena in the United States constructed specifically as the home of the Milwaukee Bucks National Basketball Team who just recently won the Championship. It cost over $500 million USD to build and is only a few years old. It’s one of the premier sports venues in the entire country. To have a bunch of people on motorcycles tearing around such a posh venue is quite mind-boggling. Strangely enough, the Fiserv Forum management were all for it and welcomed Flat Out Friday with open arms.
The crowd looked huge, possibly the biggest crowd for a dirt track race in 2021 - what was the crowd figure?
7000, officially, probably more like 9000 once all the racers and their crews and people that snuck in through the back pit entrance are added up.
What do you put the huge crowd down to? This was an amateur race after all.
A couple of things. The first is that there hasn’t been a Flat Out Friday in over two years, fans were hungry for the event. Second being that Flat Out Friday has a loyal fan base that continually comes to the event and those fans keep growing year by year.
Why do you think FOF can attract this huge crowd, but the pro sport is struggling for crowds?
Simply put FOF is more entertaining, especially for people that aren’t even motorcycle racing fans.
The vibe and event through the night are more like a rock concert and circus.
What could other race promoters learn from FOF?
The main thing would be the length of the program. FOF from start to finish is three hours and non-stop. You never want to leave your seat because you don’t know what will happen next. As we know AFT programs are quite long for spectators. Keeping the attention of people in the stands, especially those with a family, can be tough.
There seemed to be fewer pros than normal, was that a conscious decision, or down to less prize money or what?
I think mostly because the focus of the race is not on the pros whatsoever. The last race and feature of the night is the Goofball class which features inappropriate bikes with riders in costumes. This year's race was won by a guy on a personal watercraft with motorcycle wheels on it. He looked like he just floated out of the ocean near Miami. The Pros that do show up are all about having a good time and not concerned with winning or prize money because that’s not what FOF is about.
How many entries did the race get?
300 was sort of the limit but I think that grew in size leading up to the last few days of the event.
What were the classes?
Three levels of Hooligan classes, Pull start mini-bikes, vintage bikes, AA (Pro), Women, 50cc, Goofball, Brakeless, 749cc (for smaller street bikes).
What do you think is the most popular class?
For the fans it’s the Goofball Class. For the racers the Hooligan classes.
FOF has run events at different tracks, even different countries, when you went to Brazil. What is the plan in the near future for FOF?
The main plan would be for expansion to more countries and introduce the fabulous sport and community of flat track racing to more people around the globe.
Can FOF keep growing?
It sure can. After our trip to Brazil last year we really saw how much potential there is on a global scale. Of course, there are still loads of untapped potential in the United States too.
Anything else you want to add?
Thanks to everyone that supports Flat Out Friday in any way shape or form.
On a personal level thanks to Jeremy Prach, Scott Johnson, Warren Heir Jr. and the entire Flat Out Friday crew for being my 2nd family and a blast to work with.
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