After a 20-year absence, flat track motorcycle racing is coming back to Maine this Saturday at the Farmington Fairgrounds. Organized by the Franklin County chapter of the United Bikers of Maine, the event is expected to draw racers from as far away as Massachusetts.
In a nod to the sport’s origins, the competition is being held on the horse racing track at the Farmington Fairgrounds. Motorcycle racing got its start more than 100 years ago at similar tracks around the country with local riders challenging each other for trophies and bragging rights.
Flat track racing is done with smooth-tired motorcycles lacking front brakes. Instead of easing off the throttle in the turns, riders guide their bikes — tires spinning — in a sideways drift around the corners. Then they go for broke down the straightaways. Saturday’s races in Farmington may see speeds up to 90 mph.
Riders and organizers on hand Sunday for practice runs couldn’t remember the last time such two-wheeled contests were held in Maine, but most agreed it was at least two decades ago at either the Windsor Fairgrounds or at Bass Park in Bangor.
Organizers report the gates will open at 8 a.m. on Saturday with races starting by 11 a.m. Food and United Bikers of Maine merchandise will be on sale.