I‘ve been trying to go straight my whole life.

– Chris Carr, seven-time Grand National Champ.

Show me the dirt! Bryan Smith (#4) running outside Jared Mees (#9) [Class of 79 / Charlie Roberts]
In flat track racing, in order to beat the other guy, you need to go straight longer and turn in quicker.
Carr has been teaching this for years in a curriculum he developed for the school “American Supercamp”.
They focus on how to get a bike in, get it turned, and get it picked up on the fat of the tire.
To square the corner off and accelerate down the straightaway carrying as much speed as possible.
As Carr points out, ‘they don’t have finish lines in the middle of the corner.’
As a sportbike rider / sometimes road racer, I thought I knew a little about being quick.
But once I got around flat track racers, I realized I knew nothing.
Springer looks back…which is where he’s used to seeing the competition. [Taylor Bellegue]
I crossed paths with Carr on the race track at ‘American Supercamp’.
A mock race is staged for the students at the end of the day.
I was pushing hard, chasing a friend but couldn’t find a way around him.
Suddenly, I was aware another rider was on me.
With zero room, Carr squirted past me on inside.
He squared off the next corner and rocketed by my buddy, taking us both in less than three corners.
We were blown away that someone on an identical bike could pass us so effortlessly.
He sure seemed a lot taller than 5’5″ after that race.
The Bultaco Astro was the hottest 360cc class flat tracker in its day…which was 40+ years ago! [Taylor Bellegue]
I hit YouTube to find race action of Carr in his prime,
battling the greats like Scottie Parker and Jay Springsteen (AKA Springer).
I never though I’d get a chance to watch them race, but I did – thanks to ‘Flattrack Fite Klub’.
The Fite Klub concept is to pit four legends against four current stars.
The race is pay per view (PPV), broadcast in 64 countries.
Jared Mees looking perfectly at home on the Astro…which is a replacement for the one he’d already broken! Flat out or why bother? [Taylor Bellegue]
To level the playing field, riders compete on vintage Bultaco Astros.
The Astros were build before today’s flat track stars were even born,
but are one of the most iconic flat track racers of the last 50 years.
Their origin legend is racer Mike Kidd sent a Bultaco motor to Champion to build a frame.
Mike took it to the Houston Astrodome and won easily.
The bike was sent to the Bultaco factory in Spain, where it was copied down to its bent left footpeg.
The new model was called ‘Astro’ in honor of its maiden victory.
Back in 1974-1975 Springsteen and Parker raced them with success.
Jay Springsteen and Scotty Parker check out their machines.
Do they look ready to race? Were they ever not ready to race? [Taylor Bellegue]
Before you dismiss the Bultaco Astro as a relic and a sop for old racers,
keep in mind that at the Astro Invitational, racers like
Charlie Roberts and Jackie Mitchell ran within 0.4sec. of the current AFT Singles times at the Atlanta Half-Mile last year.
Very impressive considering the riders were vintage too.
Scottie Parker (#1) heads off Chris Carr (#4). [Class of 79 / Charlie Roberts]
For Fite Klub, the racers included four Grand National Champions:
 -Scott Parker: Nine Grand National Championships, with a record-setting 94 wins, regarded as the ‘G.O.A.T.’
 -Chris Carr: Seven Grand National Championships, twice World Land Speed Record Holder
 -Jay Springsteen: Three Grand National Championships, with 43 wins
 -Joe Kopp: 2000 Grand National Champion & 2003 SuperMoto Champion.
Jared Mees and Ryan Sipes prep for practice. [Taylor Bellegue]
The future legends include:
 -Jared Mees: Three Grand National Championships and Two American Flat Track Championships. He sets the bar for professionalism and fitness.  Mees is the man to beat.
 -Bryan Smith: 2016 Grand National Champion. Hard-nosed and stolid, he is known as a master on ‘the Mile’.
  (note: Smith has quite a sense of humor as well. I was walking along interviewing another racer once. It was early race day morning; they had just opened the gates to let the race haulers in. One of the haulers was driving slowly alongside us.  The hauler kept getting closer and closer to me until I walked into the racer I was trying to interview. I looked over to shoot the driver a dirty look and saw Bryan Smith behind the wheel of the hauler, laughing hysterically. The other racer laughed too, saying ‘Smith does the same shit to me…but we’re wheel to wheel at 140mph’)
  -Sam Halbert: 2009 Overall Grand National Champion.  Don’t let the fact that he looks like James Franco’s young brother fool you.  This is one fierce competitor with the ability to reach in deep and make magic happen. With Halbert, all is fair in love and war.
  -Ryan Sipes:  2019 ISDE World Champion, First American to win the ISDE 6 Day in 2015, scored victories in Supercross, GNCC, AFT TT races. The very versatile racer from Kentucky showed up with a mason jar of his states finest… for training purposes only.
Bryan Smith and Jared Mees discuss the state of the track. [Taylor Bellegue]
a charity that supports injured flat track racers in their time of need.
The Rookie Class of 79 raises funds via events like this, and auctioning off unique racing memorabilia.
Often memorabilia is donated from and autographed by flat track champions and racers.
Supporting this noble charity is a great way to help injured racers while acquiring some very cool motorcycle art.
The charity was formed by racers for racers. Providing financial support as well as assisting badly injured  racers get home, and literally get them back on their feet.
Thumbs up for Bultaco! Scotty Parker gets the royal treatment. [Taylor Bellegue]
The race format was run tournament style, racers paired up in a series of heat races and elimination rounds.
Practice started as day transitioned to night.
You could feel the excitement as racers took to the track in pairs.
So many magic moments.
Mees was spectacular, immediately up to speed and burning with intensity.
Watching Parker & Springer going wheel to wheel was a pinch-me moment.
Being wowed by the effortless grace Springsteen possessed practicing holeshots.
Regarding Springsteen, one can only wonder ‘what could have been’ if Harley had a good road racer in the late seventies.
The Bultaco must have been an alien experience for the lanky Supercross winning Ryan Sipes, but he adapted quickly and put in a strong performance considering the Bultaco’s shifter is on the right side.
When the racing started, we had a feeling there might be some fireworks between the Mees and Halbert pairing.
But with Jared being so fast in practice, I thought he could just clear off on Halbert too.
Sammy is always Sammy, he attacked Mees with everything he had,
showing Mees a wheel repeatedly and running Jared out to the rail, with Mees hanging on for the win.
There is more to victory than money when pride is on the line.
Equally impressive was the battle between Mees and Smith.
They crisscrossed each other repeatedly lap after lap.
It was harmony at speed.
You could sense the trust these two have, to race so hard while making such close passes.
The Parker Race turned into redemption for Halbert.
Mees had beat Halbert fair and square in their earlier pairing.
Halbert knew he had one last chance to reach for the checker.
A ferocious battle erupted between Mees, Smith, and Halbert.
At one point they were three-wide coming through turn four, all running different lines.
Flat track racing at its finest.
Halbert, ever the brawler, snatched the win.
It was good to see him smiling again.
Racing is everything: all else is waiting. Bryan Smith and Jared Mees. [Taylor Bellegue]
The final came down a series of three heat races between Mees & Carr.
Mees was fast all day, but every time Carr when out, more rust fell to the wayside, and the faster he went.
Some were wondering if a man of Carr’s age and shape could keep Mees honest.
(Carr joked earlier in the day, that at his age he needs a viagra not to piss on his feet)
As the riders walked onto the track, their tuners pushing theirs bikes behind them,
Scottie Parker, Carr rival and teammate from back in day, came up to the fence to cheer Carr on.
The first race was shockingly close until Mees’ bike broke, giving the win to Carr.
Mees hoped onto a different Bultaco for the next race.
Carr kept him honest but Mees took him in the next two races for the overall victory.
And a perfect day of racing came to halt.
I am looking forward to watching the race again on Pay-per-view.
Sam Halbert runs #69 in honor of his late brother Jethro, who died while racing. [Class of 79 / Charlie Roberts]

The Vintagent would like to Thank Charlie Roberts & Terry Rymer.

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