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It is one of the oldest American traditions. In the great American landscape, we section off areas of land, till them up, and make them as flat as a couple of good 'ol boys can possibly make dirt, tie a rope around an oval, and then turn out a faction of speed-hungry young men to see who can go around the oval the fastest. Flat track racing has been around for nearly a century in an organized format, and I dare to say that it has been around since a land owner's buddy brought his motorcycle to the property. Racing and competition is in our blood.

Flat track racing has been dominated by the brand with the bar and shield for the last three-quarters of a century, as they have been the only consistent manufacturer that has supported the discipline throughout. Competition was heavy in the beginning of the infancy of the sport, and you had the two major brands duking it out on the ovals. The crucible of racing was used for manufacturers to enter prototype machinery into the dogfight-on-the-dirt to drive innovation. Later, the AMA introduced a new class, Class C, that offered accessibility to everyday persons. This class let racers use street-legal motorcycles to bring the cost of racing down, and thus allowed more racers to compete.

These Class C speed addicts opted for the American brands, Indian and HD, as the bikes were easy to source and maintain. As budgets shrunk during the Great Depression, the Class C series became the premier class in dirt track racing.

Fast forward to present times, and we are seeing a resurgence in the attention paid to dirt track racing. The collective motorcycling conciseness seems to have taken its attention from the future and turned to the past in an effort to honor the heritage of motorcycling. Many manufacturers are paying homage to the models that helped them sustain their success in tough times and in good. Ducati is no different. The 2015 Scrambler pays tribute to one of their most beloved models. Ducati took a page out of the history books and updated everything that they saw for present times. They decided to do the same when it came to motorsport.

Photo Credit: Brian Nelson

The original Scrambler bikes were being manufactured at a time when flat track racing was near its peak. The popularity of flat, dirt-track racing was to be eclipsed by the presence of motocross racing; motocross needs much less space, and could be exhibited in a sports arena that seats tens of thousands, near their homes, in relative comfort. Not like the massive expanse needed for a proper dirt oval. With the nod to the past, enthusiasts are turning out for the less comfortable digs of the dirt ovals all around the nation.

Like the racers of days gone by, Ducati and their bike builder, Lloyd Brothers Racing, built their air-cooled, two-valve, 1100 and 1000 race engines according to the AMA rulebook. The rule book allows for augmentation of the internals of the engines, but they must meet strict displacement guidelines. The wet weight of the bikes must also not be less than 310 lbs. Ducati will run their bikes in the mile events of the 2015 series with the larger twin-cylinder power plants. Five events in total.

Photo Credit: Brian Nelson

In order to make sure that they were to be in contention in their races, the Lloyd Bros and Ducati team turned to the best names in the business for their componentry. With as big of a name in motorcycle racing that Ducati has, I am certain that they didn't have much problem getting folks to return their calls. Add to that, Lloyd Bros. Racing and a name like Troy Bayliss as your headlining rider, and the aftermarket was likely falling all over themselves to get a component on the race bikes.

The duty of suspension went to the comparable Penske, who has suspended some of the fastest names in motorsport over years. We don't have a lot of information on the exact setup as is the norm with the dark art of suspension setups.

The liter twins seated in the VMC frames of the flat track bikes exhale through a pair of M4 race pipes, and breathe in through K&N filters. Once the fuel and air meet in the middle, they are channeled via JPrecision heads, and the valves are kept in time with NCR cams. After the suck, squeeze, bang, all of the power is sent out to the rear tire via a Diamond chain that turns Vortex sprockets. Loads of heat are created with all of this locomotion, so Setrab oil coolers are implemented to keep oil temps down and the engine functioning as it should.

Much like some of the other major motorsports out there, the fuel and tire is standardized. Although racers get the choice of brand for their purpose-built flat track race tires, Ducati has opted for Dunlop over the Goodyear tires with their bikes. The combustibles come in the form of Sunoco 112 race fuel, which all of the bikes in the field run.

In the mile circuit, racers and bikes will see speeds in excess of 130 miles per hour in the straights before tipping their bikes into the corner, twisting the Revolver throttle to send the signal down the Motion Pro cables for more fuel. Then, the rear of the bike swings around in a ballet of throttle and bike control as the racers feather the throttle right on the edge of control amidst a pack of 15+ riders all looking for the fastest line around the corner. Once the corner is sorted, the Ducati racers will again take to their Saddleman seats and tuck into the most aerodynamic posture that they can as they rocket back up to 130-140 miles an hour down the straights.

Photo Credit: Brian Nelson

Troy Bayliss, Australian motorcycle racer, has claimed numerous trophies in his racing career and become heavily involved in dirt track racing in recent years. He has even organized an invitational race called the Troy Bayliss Classic. The Lloyd Brothers X Ducati race bikes headed in to the first two events ready to make some noise. Unfortunately, at the Sacramento Mile event, Troy went out of the race in a crash and fractured his leg. The team's second bike, ridden by Johnny Lewis, went on to finish the race.

Troy Bayliss (#21) & Johnny Lewis (#10)
Photo Credit: Brian Nelson

The next race that the Ducati team will be competing in will be the Du Quoin Mile on July 4th, 2015. Be sure to make it out there for that race, or if you aren't able to make it out, FansChoice.TV - AMA PRO IMSA NASCAR - Fanschoice.tv will be streaming the events live.

Photo Credit: Brian Nelson
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