Photo courtesy American Flat Track

American Flat Track motorcycle racing series unveils 2019 schedule

Leave a comment

American Flat Track, the world’s premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports televised on NBCSN, on Thursday announced its provisional 2019 race schedule.

Next year’s 18-race slate features two new venues and the series’ return to Southern California.

The season kicks off March 14 at Daytona International Speedway with the annual DAYTONA TT and ends in fall at the MetLife Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey (date to be announced).

The two new events on the schedule are Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (formerly Firebird Raceway) in Chandler, Arizona, just south of Phoenix, as well as the short track near Laconia, New Hampshire.

The latter event – for which a location will be announced in the near future – will likely be tied in with the annual Laconia Bike Week (June 8-16).

The series returns to Southern California to the half-mile at Perris Auto Speedway in Perris, California, site of the 2017 championship event.

All told, the 2019 schedule will have good balance with six mile-long tracks, five half-mile tracks, four short tracks and five TTs. Also, while the schedule is 18 races, AFT Singles run a TT and Short Track before each of the two Springfield Mile events.

“AFT is coming off the back of a record-breaking season and we have planned the 2019 schedule to push things to the next level,” AFT CEO Michael Lock said in a media release. “We are delighted to be restoring the series to Southern California and taking American Flat Track to New England next summer, two traditional hotbeds of professional motorcycle racing.”

AFT enters its third year of broadcast coverage on NBCSN and its sixth year of live streaming on FansChoice.tv.

The series is coming off a record-breaking 2018 season when it drew over 3 million viewers – either at-track, on TV or on live streaming – the largest combined audience in series history.

Two races remain to be shown this year on NBCSN, as well as two re-airs, meaning the 3-plus million viewer total is sure to climb before 2018 comes to a close.

The first is the Indian Motorcycle Minnesota Mile on Sunday, October 4 at 5 pm ET (with a re-air on Oct. 17 at 4 pm ET).

The second race is the Meadowlands Mile presented by Ducati AFT season finale on Sunday, October 21 at 2 pm ET (with a re-air on October 24 at 4 pm ET).

Here is the provisional 2019 American Flat Track schedule:

1. March 14: Daytona TT – Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL

2. March 23: Atlanta Short Track – Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA

3. April 20: Texas Half-Mile – Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX

4. April 27: Wild Horse TT – Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, AZ

5. May 11: Perris Half-Mile – Perris Auto Speedway, Perris, CA

6. May 18: Sacramento Mile – Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA

7. May 26: Springfield Mile I – Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL (AFT Singles Springfield TT same weekend)

8. June 1: Red Mile – Red Mile, Lexington, KY

9. June 15: Laconia Short Track – TBA, New Hampshire

10. June 29: Lima Half-Mile – Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH

11. July 6: New York Short Track – Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport, NY

12. August 4: Buffalo Chip TT – Buffalo Chip, Sturgis, SD

13. August 6: Black Hills Half-Mile – Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD

14. August 17: Peoria TT – Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, IL

15. September 1: Springfield Mile II – Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL (AFT Singles Springfield Short Track same weekend)

16. September 7: Williams Grove Half-Mile – Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA

17. September 21: Minnesota Mile – Canterbury Park, Shakopee, MN

18. TBA: Meadowlands Mile – Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, East Rutherford, NJ

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Three in position to capture World Rally Championship title at Rally Australia

Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images
Leave a comment

COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Defending champion Sebastien Ogier goes into this weekend’s Rally Australia with a chance to clinch his sixth World Rally Championship in a row. Thierry Neuville, a runner-up four times but never a champion, hopes to change the world order.

Neuville led the series for much of the season but Ogier’s win in Britain and a second place in Spain has given the Frenchman 204 points, three ahead of Neuville, heading into the final rally of the championship.

“We are not the best friends but we are rivals and respect each other for our performances,” Neuville said Wednesday. “I’ve been second many times in the championship now, we are so close to the main goal.”

“If we need to take more risks because we need to pass Sebastien we’re going to try,” the Belgian driver added, “we’ll take the maximum risks.”

Ogier says the feeling is mutual when it comes to his main rival.

“We are different, definitely, but most important we’re in a great fight together and respect each other for that,” Ogier said. “It’s about trying to beat each other and do it with respect.”

Ott Tanak of Estonia sits 23 points behind and with 30 points for a win in Australia, and other results going his way, he could also capture the world title.

Ogier will be hoping for some Friday morning rain to settle the dust and gravel before he sets off first on what will be more than 300 kilometers (180 miles) of timed racing through forests on the New South Wales state’s north coast, about 530 kilometers (325 miles) north of Sydney.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports