I love flat track.There, I admitted it. Feels good to get off my chest. I can tell you the moment I knew I was in love: It was September 5th, 2012 and I had some friends over. One of them insisted I watch On Any Sunday. This classic film, made long before I was born in 1971, had me starry-eyed in the first 20 minutes.
I remember the loud thunderous motorcycles gliding across the dirt on my television, it was like pure motorcycle poetry. The sounds of the singles, the flying of the roost, the smiles on the racers' faces. If you haven’t seen the film, I suggest dropping your plans tonight and watching it on Amazon Prime – I really think it’s that good.
But nothing compared to live racing. The first flat track race I ever attended was the Peoria TT the following year. Maybe I’m biased because this was my first ever dirt track race, but I think there are some legitimate reasons why the Peoria TT is one of the most enjoyable races ever.
The Peoria TT Layout
The track has some inherent goodness to it. The race is held at the Peoria Motorcycle Club, aka “Thunder Valley” outside Peoria, IL, and is a notably great track for spectators because you can stand really close to the race surface from just about anywhere around the course (except the last turn).
When I say that you can get close, I mean that you can stand by the fence in front of turn one and feel the dirt hit your face as the racers fly by. How's that for close?
You can also take an underground tunnel and watch the race from the inside the track while grabbing one of the best hot dogs you've ever eaten and a cold, cold beer. Either way, you’ve got options and it’s always cool to get different perspectives of the race, especially ones where there are beers and dogs.
Second, there is the both the long and more recent history of the race. This Peoria TT is going on it's 66th year, which means, as far as people watching goes, there are a broad range of generations that come out to watch the action. Everyone at this race is friendly, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself chatting with your neighbor about how long they've been coming to watch their favorite racer.
More recently, Grand National rider Henry Wiles has been absolutely dominating the Peoria TT. This year’s race is no exception and was his tenth consecutive win! Seriously, it was clearly a huge win for Henry and the radiant smile on his face made it easy to share in the excitement.
Finally, there's the track itself. It’s known for being fast and there is a long straight that allows riders to reach some crazy triple digit speeds as they start to pitch their bike sideways into turn one.