Dirt-track is a motorcycle racing discipline born in the United States that takes place on clay or ash tracks. There are a bunch of variations in dirt-track racing, the most popular being flat-track racing on flat ovals. TT racing tracks combine left and right-handed corners and may include a jump.
According to oval length, flat tracks may be 1 mile, 1/2 mile or short tracks, when track is less than 3/8 miles long. Race direction is mostly counterclockwise and, consequently, all bends are left-handers.
A dirt-track competition consists of a series of heat races (qualifiers), last chance qualifiers and finals. All races are very short and the average number of riders on each heat is ten. Fastest riders progress to the Main race. This event concept makes dirt-track one of the most dynamic in motorcycle racing.
The world’s top dirt-track championship is the AMA Pro Grand National that takes place in the United States. All dirt-track divisions are included: mile, half-mile, short-track and TT.
In the States, winning the “Grand Slam” trophy means that a single rider has won a flat-track race on a 1-mile oval, a race on a half-mile track, a short-track race, a TT race and a race counting towards the American Road Racing championship (on tarmac).
Flat-track bikes do not have front brake but, unlike speedway bikes, they do have suspensions. One of the most popular bikes in the United States is Harley-Davidson XR-750, commonly used in mile and half-mile racetracks. Spain-made bike Bultaco Astro was also famous. The name “Astro” is a tribute to all race victories this bike achieved in one of the “temples” of American flat-track racing: Houston’s Astrodome.
Dirt-track basic riding technique consists in forcing the bike to slide on the turns and steering it all along the bend. By means of acceleration, handlebar steering and position on the bike, the rider must keep full control of the slide and find the best “line” on the corner.