As promised, here are some more rules proposed by American Flat Track for 2021. AFT say they are in a final evaluation phase. We picked up on the SuperTwins engine and electronic rules first, but the ones below spell a big shake-up too. GI
Memberships, Licenses, Credentials and Entries
All Classes will utilize Team Owner structure (as introduced in SuperTwins in 2020) Details TBA
So, this means that the team enters the race and 'supplies' the rider. I'm not 100% sure why they're going down this route and the benefit, but it is definitely long-term. in 2020, Jeffrey Carver formed his own one-man, self-funded team and raced in SuperTwins as team owner and rider (I believe). If I had to guess, I'd say AFT wants to align itself with road racing and MX/SX, where, in nearly all cases, the team enters and employs the riders. The reason being that a more 'professional' looking sport will attract more sponsorship money.
It would be easy to say that 21st century pro flat track can't support the level of professionalism that then attracts big money sponsors, because it always regards itself as grassroots, but grands prix (now rebranded MotoGP) was similarly grassroots in the late-1970s, early-80s, riders travelling in panel vans, sometimes pulling caravans. And I don't mean the also-rans, I'm talking about the world champs. By the mid, late-80s it had changed to large teams in matching kit, artic (semi) trucks and riders sponsored by cigarette and drinks companies. So a revolution happened them. But do global companies, non-bike industry brands, still see bikes racing as a valid place to spend ad money? I can't see much evidence for it, beyond energy drinks. NASCAR gets that sposnorship, so perhaps that's the hope.
Minimum and Maximum age limitations by class:
AFT SuperTwins 18 minimum
AFT Production Twins 17 minimum. Note: any 17-year-old applicant must have finished in the top 3 championship positions in AFT Singles the season prior. The application will still be subject to approval by AMA Pro Racing
AFT Singles 16 minimum / 39 maximum
The most interesting here is the 39 upper age limit for AFT Singles. No more Jeff Ward cameos?
Riders cannot ride multiple classes during an event.
Each class will have its own Competition License.
We interview Chad Cose in Sideburn 43, who has changed his racing programme to compete in two classes, Singles and Production Twins, full-time. This derails his plans and those of any racer who gets offered a 'wild card' ride - like Ryan Varnes, who took the place of Rob Pearson in Super Twins for a race, while also competing in Production Twins, where he was competing the full season. I see why AFT want SuperTwins to retain its elite nature - SuperTwins riders are exclusive to that class (though I'm sure they said that last year and let Andrew Luker race in two classes in the same day). However, I don't see the problem in a rider racing in Singles and Production Twins, unless waiting for Cose to get off one podium, to climb on his other bike screws the scheduling. I'm clutching at straws with this rationale, because I don't see a problem. Could it be a safety thing? Riders too tired or 'confused' jumping from one bike to another in a very short period? Again, this is just a wild guess. We'll contact AFT to ask.
Photo: AFT/Scott Hunter