Flat track racing made its long awaited appearance at the X Games, roaring to life in Austin, Texas under a cloud of dust that officially kickstarted the 2015 instalment of the annual extreme sports sports festival. It may sound like a little bit of a surprise that for as long as the X Games has been around, flat track racing rarely figured in as one of the events. But that’s neither here nor there now that Harley-Davidson has brought one of the oldest motorcycle racing styles in the country into the premier extreme sports event.

This year’s race - a first in the X Games - was a humdinger, proving that flat track racing remains as exciting in a world of high-tech dirt bikes as it was in the early 1900s when motorcycles were actually used to pull bicycles to high speeds around velodromes.

The event also featured notable names from the US flat track racing scene, including American Motorcycle Association Grand National Champion Jared Mees who actually led for the majority of the race before mechanical problems prematurely ended his pending coronation within spitting distance of the finish line. Mees’ dramatic retirement opened the door for Bryan Smith, a Kid Rock-sponsored rider, to shoot past and take home the gold. Sammy Halbert and Brad Baker made up the rest of the podium, finishing second and third, respectively to earn the silver and bronze medals.

The arrival of flat track racing in the X Games was a smashing success, as many thought it would. Now it’s all about making sure that the event remains one of the pillars of the games. It should’ve been the case a long time ago, but yeah, better late than never, right?

Continue reading to read more about flat track racing’s debut in the X Games.

Why it matters

Like most people, I always found it odd that an event like the X Games didn’t have flat track racing all these years when so many motocross events are part of the calendar. It didn’t seem right back when the inaugural X Games was first held in 1995 and the same held true as the years rolled by.

Fortunately, Harley-Davidson understood the importance - and spectacle - of flat track racing and decided to sponsor the race in the 2015 staging of the extreme sports event. On that end, we at least owe Harley-Davidson our gratitude for finally bringing flat track racing to the X Games.

The event also lived up to our expectations, which is saying a lot considering that us motorcycle nuts tend to set the bar exceedingly high for events like this. Hopefully, flat track racing will remain an important part of the X Games in the foreseeable future. Judging from the first instalment of the race, I suppose that it’s going to gain more supporters in the coming events to come.

It’s too bad that it arrived so late to the party - it took 20 years! - but as long as it sticks around, I’m willing to let all those lost years pass without putting up too many complaints. Flat track racing is finally part of the X Games, as it should’ve been a long time ago.

Source: X Games

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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