With the arena’s track preparation complete and the Airfence in place, non-Flat Track Superprestigio of the Americas competitors got a couple of hours of surface testing and practice on Thursday evening, November 19 at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas.
On Friday evening, November 20, the 13th and deciding round of the 2015 American Flat Track Championship takes place at the same venue, while the next night features the inaugural Yamaha-sponsored Superprestigio of The Americas.
Both events take place on a custom built, indoor hockey rink-sized (about .10 of a mile in length) track at the Orleans Hotel and Casino.
Non flat track racers taking part in the discipline-crossing first ever North American Superprestigio event will be at a disadvantage, partly because they do not regularly compete on dirt ovals and mostly because they are not part of the AMA Pro National wrap-up on Friday night. So a little test and tune was a welcome and much appreciated surprise.
With most of the top flat trackers watching from the sidelines, the non-oval group showed well, and demonstrated that the surface should be good for competition. Track designer and Flat Track legend Chris Carr made big efforts to ensure that passing was possible, and the initial, non-competition outing on the Orleans oval showed promise.
Maybe the fastest, unofficially, of the Pros to try the track was Larry Pegram on the Foremost Insurance Honda single. Out of work since the works Buell team dropped out of World Superbike early in 2015 due to issues with the parent company, former flat track star Pegram was in confident form.
Attracting the most attention was a charging Roger Lee Hayden aboard the Yoshimura Suzuki RMZ450, with most of the riders trying to follow every time Hayden took to the course for one of the many brief sessions. Back in 2002, Hayden and his two brothers, Tommy and Nicky, swept the AMA Pro National Short Track podium in Springfield, Ill.
Top European was MotoGP ace and 2012 Moto2 World Champ Toni Elias of Spain, 32. A veteran of the Spanish Superprestigio that started the us vs them flat track spectacular craze, Elias looked quick and fairly consistent, shaking of a couple of minor tumbles on the stop-and-go layout.
Action for the Flat Track Experts starts on Friday at 3 PM local time, with two hours of timed practice. After that, there will be Heat and Semi races for the GNC1 and GNC2 categories. Canadian interest will focus on newly crowned Flat Track Canada Champ Doug Lawrence aboard the John Briggs Motorsports/Town Moto Honda.
The Inside Motorcycles web site will feature coverage of the Lawrence effort both nights.
On hand to watch the test, Lawrence explained that he was “impressed with the track, they seem to have really done a good job preparing the surface – it has plenty of moisture, and that should help over a night.”
“They’re trying to make it so you can pass, race each other. I don’t know if what we watched tonight will be what we see in the races tomorrow night, but right now those guys know more than we do.”