Today marks the start of the 2018 American Flat Track season in Daytona Beach with the famed DAYTONA TT. The off-season has been a busy one for anyone involved with the sport and this year is sure to provide some of the closest, most exciting, edge-of-your-seat racing ever seen. Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycles are obviously the two biggest heavyweights competing for not only race wins, but bragging rights too.
They’re not the only manufacturers with skin in the game, however, as just about every other motorcycle brand has thrown its hat in the ring too, offering contingency incentives of various amounts that total almost $3,000,000. Yup, that’s right, no typo there – six zeros.
American Flat Track racing was founded and officially sanctioned by the AMA in 1954, which makes it one of the oldest organized motorcycle racing series there is. (MotoGP’s inaugural season was five years earlier in 1949.) Flat track racing was wildly popular throughout the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, as was motorcycling in general. However, no motorcycle sport these days has the same nostalgic, grassroots type feeling to it like American Flat Track does.
You know who else was wildly popular for motorcycle antics during that same time? Evel Knievel, baby. To kick the opening ceremonies off today will be stuntman Bubba Blackwell, and he’ll be jumping his Harley-Davidson XR750 over 14 GMC Canyon pickup trucks right on Daytona’s Pit Road before getting mic’d up to emcee the night’s festivities in addition to flagging the race too.
Bubba has broken several of Evel Knievel’s jump records (as well as several bones, 42 to date) in the past and has been “retired” from stunting motorcycles for some time now. However, with all the excitement and commotion surrounding this year’s American Flat Track season, Bubba couldn’t turn down the opportunity to jump again on his period-correct XR750 no less.
How cool is that? We wish him a safe flight!
American Flat Track:
American Flat Track (AFT) and Bubba Blackwell are going to extreme lengths — the length of 14 GMC Canyon pickup trucks lined up side by side, to be precise — to ensure the season-opening Harley-Davidson TT presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys at DAYTONA is nothing less than unforgettable.
That’s right, “The American Daredevil” Bubba Blackwell will kick off the 2018 AFT season with a high-flying, jaw-dropping stunt at Daytona International Speedway to elevate what’s already a hugely anticipated event in the motorsports world to a full-blown spectacle.
Blackwell will execute the jump at 6:00 pm to set the opening ceremonies into motion. The stunt will take place on Pit Road, in perfect view of the grandstands and skirting alongside the edge of the Bigger, Better, and Faster DAYTONA TT course.
And as if there was any doubt, Blackwell will be performing the terrifying 14-GMC leap aboard the legendary Harley-Davidson XR750 — the perfect beast for the task made all the more fitting considering its iconic status in the dirt track history books.
After completing the stunt, Blackwell will showcase his versatility by immediately getting mic’d up and taking hold of his new collection of racing flags. In a unique arrangement, Bubba will assume the role of series flagger in 2018 while maintaining his prior role as paddock emcee.
Once again adding color to the play-by-play commentary of lead PA announcer and “Voice of American Flat Track” Scottie Deubler, Blackwell’s trackside view and flagger status will see him serve as a sort of de facto ringmaster for both the fans in attendance and those at home (and elsewhere) following the action on FansChoice.tv.
Blackwell first gained worldwide attention for breaking a series of world records previously set by Evel Knievel. He officially retired from the stunt game back in 2015 but can be coaxed out of retirement on rare occasion by the most special of events.
“It’s been a long, cold winter, and I’ve been on the couch and off the bike for a bit,” said Blackwell. “But I’m excited about my new role with American Flat Track, and getting back on the legendary XR750 for a jump over 14 GMC Canyons. I’m just glad they’re pickups and not Snake River Canyons!”
American Flat Track will kick off its highly-anticipated 2018 season with the Bigger, Better, and Faster Harley-Davidson TT presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys at DAYTONA under the lights inside the fabled trioval at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, March 15, 2018. Tickets start at just $30 and are available for purchase now at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.