Over the past 4 years or so we have been going up to Milwuakee, WI during the winter to see Flat Track racing and the Mama Tried show. After last year's Fuel Cleveland we had a chance to sit down and talk to Scott Johnson and Warren Heir (co-founders of The Mama Tried show) for a bit about the possibilities of making Flat Out Friday not just a Milwuakee thing but a Cleveland thing too. They both seemed into the idea right away and told us they needed to get back to us after discussing it further with Flat Out Friday founder Jermey Prach. With a few meetings in Milwaukee and Cleveland, the Milwuakee crew figured out the logistics of how it could be pulled off. "Lets take this show on the road!" said Jeremy Prach after our second meeting.
Racing in an arena type setting hasn't happened in Cleveland, Ohio since the late 60's early 70's. With a ton of planning and months of work, Flat Out Friday finally took it's place in history for the first time in Cleveland on July 27th, 2018 at the Wolstein Center. Though the seats didn't sell out, the crowd that was present was intense, engaged, and enthusiastic cheering at every class. Fans started learning who their favorite racers were from the beginning heats and tons of "OOOOOs" and "OOOHHHS" flooded from the stands after some close calls and a few minor wrecks. With tons of high action racing, the crowd and the guys risking there necks on the race floor were having a blast!
One of the craziest things that happened at Flat Out Friday CLE was North Eastern Ohio native Corey Preston wrecked his daily chopper in the inappropriate class and got run over by another chopper. Jennifer Farris had the camera on him at the right time and captured the whole thing! Corey was able to walk off the race track on his own power but later went to the hospital to find out he had fractured his spine in 4 different places along with getting road burn all over his body. We talked to Corey a couple days ago and he's in good spirits and will be ok with in 6 to 8 weeks of rest. That's racing, some you win, some you lose and sometimes you get run over by a chopper, literally...
Personally I think my favorite part about Flat Out Friday is the comradery between the racers. No matter if they are racing for the first time or they have been doing it their entire life, everyone is out there just having fun. There's no egos or bull shit going on, everyone is giving a helping hand in the pits and giving each other helpful tips on how to take the turns harder and get more aggressive. Its just something you don't see all the time in a lot of racing competition type events. Yes everyone wants to win and thats the point of racing but it's really cool to see that its not the only thing that matters at Flat Out Friday. It's more about the love of racing and the culture that surrounds the DIY motorcycle life in general.
At the half way point of the races Flat Out Friday took another page out of the amazing book of being awesome and stuck to a philosophy we hold dear, "Start'em Young". They put together a kids race with pedal bikes, razor powered and other two wheeled things. Talk about pulling mom's and dad's heart strings in the crowd. It was a pretty neat thing to see, and who knows maybe they will catch the bug and want to actually race a motorcycle when they get older. It's those little things that make Flat Out Friday so great! After the kids raced around the track, there was a small stunt show on a portable funbox ramp with bmx dudes and one crazy JJ Flarity jumping a pit bike!
With countless close races through out the night, I think the one that was most memorable for me was in the women's class. There were only 2 ladies racing, Brooke Samples on a Honda Rebel and Zaria Martens on a dirt bike. The race itself Zaria had the lead most the time but Brooke gave her a run for her money on that little Rebel, almost passing her a few times. Brooke was doing so well and holding her own right up until lap 6 or so when she took turn 3 into 4 a little too hard, causing the bike to almost slide out. She saved it but in doing so, popped the wheel up and she ended up whiskey throttling right into the side wall by the finish line. She lost her grip on the bars completely as she hit and I thought to myself while clicking my camera button rapidly "She's going to fall off the back, oh man." Somehow she grabbed a hold of the bars and pulled the banners off the wall with her as she made it out with out actually falling off or wrecking. The crowd erupted in cheers that filled the arena as if it was sold out crowd, it was an absolutely incredible save.
Anyway you look at it, Flat Out Friday CLE was a fantastic start to the Fuel Cleveland weekend and you couldn't ask for a more family friendly extremely fun time. The Milwuakee crew had so much fun, and immediately after the races wrapped up told us they would definitely be coming back to do Flat Out Friday CLE before Fuel Cleveland in 2019! This race is open to the public and anyone can register to race, so if you are feeling up for the challenge, want to have some fun and learn from some of the best, make sure to keep www.flatoutfriday.com in your bookmarks and keep your eyes peeled for open registrations for their Milwuakee, Cleveland and other race dates! If you missed out this year, make sure not to make that mistake again and come be apart of the action.
Big Thanks to Jeremy Prach, Warren Heir, Scott Johnson, Maureen Post, Joey Turbo, and all of the staff and volunteers at Flat Out Friday for an epic time!
Next photo set by: Justin Smith
Next photo set taken by: Alec Ozawa
Next photo set taken by: Mikey Revolt