Mid-America Speedway at the Marion County Fairgrounds on Indianapolis' southeast side, celebrated their season-opener on Saturday, May 5, proving the old fable that 'the third time is the charm' along the way. After suffering rain-outs on April 14 and 28, Mother Nature cooperated and a reported field of over 100 riders showed up to do battle at the great little facility, with a wealth of class-offerings for young and 'older' alike. The evening featured 27 classes, running 6-lap heat & semi races and 8-lap main events.
Unfortunately, Indy received no rain in between the middle of the week when the great crew at Mid-Am had prepped the track, so the early practice sessions proved to be a little dusty, as evidenced in the shot above. But the crew went to work with minimal delays, and by the time the heats and semis rolled off at 7:00 PM local time, things were looking pretty good. Track operator and head-man-in-charge Jim Terchila and his crew did a fine job of hosting a great event for their season-opening round, and their second event is scheduled for Saturday, June 9, which they are billing as their official 'Opening Night 2012.'
In the shot above, Brian A. Rowlett #29, Andrew M. Butler #34F and Ken L. Maynard #13J are shown during one of the early practice sessions at Mid-America Speedway on May 5 for the 450cc Motorcycle Class.
Cody Criswell #72, Drew Hart #41F, Landon Alberts #15, Steven Selby #91 and Trent T. Lowe #48 take to turn one at Mid-America for the first practice session of the season in the 80-200 2/4 Stroke ages 9-15 Class. The younger racers put on a super show and gave the sparse crowd on-hand an idea of what the future of flat track racing has to offer.
Former local racer and former AMA Grand National competitor Tom Terry gets some practice laps in on his nephew's #67 Honda CRF450R during the first session for the 250+ Mod Amateur Class. Tom's been away from racing for awhile, but showed everyone he still has it for a 55 years young man!
For those who remember those days, The Indianapolis Speedrome (Kitley Raceway to all you old heads like me!) used to host motorcycle races back in the late '70s/early '80s, and Tom was a multi-time champion at the local track. Tom also used to run the indoor flat track races that they used to hold at the now non-existent Market Square Arena at Indy back in the mid '70s.
Mid-America Speedway President Jim Terchila (red shirt, right background) conducts the first riders meeting of the 2012 season.
The Speedway Class bikes take to the track, with three of the four machines and riders entered for the evening having at it. Pictured are Mike Hammond on his #110 Jawa, Dan Frasson on his #18 GM, and Paul E. Huggins on his #5 Jawa. I was loving the smell of methanol in the air!
Chris Avra #19, Gary Terry #67 and the #490 of Clayton Criswell get racy during practice on Saturday at Mid-America.
Mike Farmer's #1 Honda was sitting in the pit area and I couldn't keep my eyes off of this ultra-clean looking machine, which bore a paint job all too similar to Bubba Shobert's late '80s Team Honda/HRC RS600s and RS750s that blazed a trail in the AMA Grand National Championship series in the mid-late '80s.
Mid-America's program has something to offer for all ages, as evidenced by this great battle between Jared Lowe #48 and eventual class winner Layne Walters #85 in the 50cc Class for the way future champions of AMA Flat Track. Most of the kids in this class were between the ages of 5-9 according to Mike Sciscoe, one of the people in the know at the track that helped me to keep me abreast of what class was what for the better part of the evening.
Mike's son, Kasey R. Sciscoe on the #160 Suzuki, is out front of Trent T. Lowe #48 and the #66F of Cody Chisham during practice. Kasey is 11 and has been racing since he was 5 according to his Dad, and has competed in the amateur national qualifiers and will be participating in his first Amateur Grands this season. They've got this bike sold to a European rider for the upcoming Springfield Amateur Grands at the end of May. Kasey won his semi race to qualify for the main in the 85cc 7-15 Class where he eventually came home with a solid 3rd-place finish.
A couple of AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com Series regulars made the trip to Mid-America from their respective homes. Tyler Porter #28C (www.fightfordirttrack.com) showed up with his '07 Kawasaki KX450F and won his semi along the way to help him get ready for the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles event at the Springfield TT on May 26. TP made the 300+ mile trip from his home in Paducah, KY. to run the season-opening race held at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Indy.
Illinois resident and AMA Grand National #85P Ben Knight also had his Kawasaki on-hand and won the Veteran 30-49 Class main event. Tom Terry can be seen on his nephew Gary's #67 Honda, with Gary standing just to his left, as they all get ready for the first practice round of the day on Saturday afternoon.
Also seen in this shot are Lonnie Vanderpool #90, Andrew Butler #34F, Kasey R. Sciscoe #61 and Cody Criswell #72.
A few of the bikes on display at Mid-America include the #17 Honda of Justin Stewart, the #5 Speedway Jawa of Paul E. Huggins, Cory Phillips #18 Honda, Landon Alberts #15 Honda and the #91 Honda of Steven Selby.
Former AMA Grand National competitor and Indianapolis resident Kyle Long on his stealth-looking Yamaha #32 leads current AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles competitor Tyler Porter #28C in their battle in the 450cc Motorcycle Class.
A special thanks and tip of the helmet go to Jim Terchila and his wife for their efforts in putting this great flat track event together, and for inviting me out to check in on the action! Thanks so much and I'm looking forward to the second event of the season scheduled for Saturday, June 9.
Mid-America Speedway, Marion County Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, IN.
Season-Opening round results, Saturday, May 5, 2012 (results courtesy of Jim Terchila and Mid-America Speedway)