While rallies have a lot of offer sport-touring riders, there are some great motorcycle competition events throughout the nation that are worth making a stop on a tour.
Like my previous article on rallies, the list below is made up of events I have personally attended and recommend.
MotoAmerica (Road Atlanta, VIRginia International Raceway, Road America, Pittsburgh International Race Complex, New Jersey Motorsports Park, Barber Motorsports Park)
The United States’ professional motorcycle road racing championship holds several rounds east of the Mississippi River each year. For full disclosure, this is the series I cut my teeth in motorcycle journalism with, so I am a little biased toward it.
That said, the events are fun and family friendly and the on-track competition is often intense in all competition classes. Making the trip to the round at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., also gives one an opportunity to visit the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum (more on that to come).
Springfield Mile (Springfield, Ill: American Flat Track)
If you’ve never been to a flat track motorcycle race, you’re missing out. Along with speedway racing, flat track is one of the most fan-friendly racing programs out there. And one of the most historic venues to see your first flat track race at is the Springfield Mile.
The one-mile clay oval is located at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. The American Flat Track series typically holds two races on the mile each year. The track has been the scene of national flat track racing since at least the 1940s and was once the sole contest to determine the AMA Grand National Champion.
The track is egg-shaped than other mile-long tracks, with shorter straightaways and longer, more gradual turns. It is billed as the fastest one-mile oval in the world.
Lima Half-Mile (Lima, Ohio: American Flat Track)
While Springfield is one of the most iconic places to watch flat track racing, the Lima Half Mile offers an even better fan experience. The race takes place each year on the pea gravel half-mile oval at the Allen County Fairgrounds near Lima, Ohio.
The pea gravel surface offers faster motorcycle speeds than clay and the shorter track offers better sight lines for spectators. Racers take a lot of different lines around the track, which makes for exciting, bar-banging racing.
What impressed me the most about the 2019 event was the mix of motorcyclists who attended. Every kind of motorcycle and rider could be seen in the steady stream of riders exiting the fairgrounds after the race.
Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross (Daytona Beach, Fla.)
I attended the Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross for the first time in 2019, and learned what the term, “full send” means. This amateur motocross event takes place during Daytona Bike Week at Daytona International Speedway for two days after the AMA Supercross race each year. The track is modified from the Supercross layout to be raceable for riders of all ages and skill levels.
What really struck me at the event was the stark contrast between riders of different talent levels. In motocross, riders are given a rating from A to C, with A being the fastest, most talented amateur riders. It was amazing to watch riders in the 450 C class gingerly negotiate steep jumps while some of the very talented riders on 65cc or 85cc bikes would attack those jumps, go flying through the air and nail the landing every time.
You won’t get into an event at Daytona International Speedway for much less than the tickets to the amateur Supercross, and you’ll get all the show you could ask for.
Monster Energy Cup (Las Vegas, Nev.: AMA Supercross Exhibition)
When this annual AMA Supercross exhibition race takes place in Las Vegas each fall, it’s the best show in town. While it’s not a points-paying round of the AMA Supercross Series, the series’ biggest stars and some of the best amateur motocross racers in the nation take to the track for this fall classic.
It was first held in 2011 and takes place at Sam Boyd Stadium, which also hosts a round of the AMA Supercross series. The event is operated by AMA Supercross promoter Feld Entertainment.
The event format is also different than a traditional Supercross event. The pro riders compete in three motos with a $1 million prize available to a rider who wins all three races.