Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

N.F.T.R.A. Motorcycle Races at Lakeside Speedway

Written by  July 31, 2005

The 3/8-mile oval at Lakeside Speedway is Kansas City’s center for exciting dirt track racing. On Friday nights throughout the racing season, racecars compete in Modified, Grand National, and Factory Stock classes at the track located a few miles north of the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. On July 9 and again on July 23, after an absence of more than 25 years, motorcycle racing returned to Lakeside. These events were sanctioned by the National Flat Track Racing Association, based in Wichita, Kansas. According to Roger Attebury, N.F.T.R.A. President, this series often serves as a stepping stone for young riders as they prepare for A.M.A. Grand National professional racing. There are classes for riders from Pee Wee to age 60 plus. Bob Ives from Topeka, Kansas, competes on bike #68, and his number plate matches his age. Bikes are classified by engine size and by age (modern and vintage), and riders may be pro or amateur. There are also Quad classes for 4-wheel A.T.V.'s. Several riders compete in multiple classes. With so many riders and classes, spectators were treated to a full evening of racing on both Saturdays. On the first night, paid adult attendance was just over 1,000. Probably due to extreme heat, the crowd was significantly smaller for the second event. The field of racers also decreased, from around 115 to about 90 due to a couple of factors. The first event was part of the Honda Red Rider Series, resulting in a larger purse for the winners. Also, a big race in Ohio on July 23 lured a number of the pro riders away.

The N.F.T.R.A. held its first races in 2001. The association developed from a vintage bike racing series that held events all over the country. Since most of the competitors were amateurs and had families and jobs to be concerned about, the need was seen for a regional series that would require less travel. The Midwest had long been known for its fair circuit with many small towns having 3/8- and ½-mile dirt tracks where races were held during state and county fairs, so there was no shortage of racing facilities. Classes were determined, rules were drafted, and the N.F.T.R.A. was off and running. Pee Wee riders race mini-bikes around pylons in front of the grandstand. Racers in the other classes circle the track, reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. The N.F.T.R.A. team of officials does a great job of keeping the races organized. Racers begin to take their positions at the starting line as the riders from the previous race are exiting the track and heading back to the pit area. The only delay at either Lakeside event occurred just before the feature races on July 23. A flock of geese had just taken off from a nearby pond, and one of the birds clipped a power line resulting in a loss of electricity at the speedway. It took about thirty minutes to restore the track lighting. It’s my sad duty to report that the goose was cooked.

Prior to the first race I was pleased to have the opportunity to talk to two of the riders. The first was “King” Kirk Anderson from Wichita, Kansas.

CC: Please describe your bike and how you got involved with N.F.T.R.A. racing.

“King” Kirk: It’s a 1938 Harley-Davidson ULH big twin. It has the original motor, frame, and rear fender. The rest was pretty much bolted together throughout the years. I’m a member of the Sunflower Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, and I just started racing. I rode to Marquette, Kansas, to attend a fund-raiser for a motorcycle museum a few months back. There was a portable dyno from M&M Choppers in Galva, Kansas, and the Harley checked out strong. I went out to the short track they had set up at the rodeo arena, and it was a blast. I joined the A.M.A., and I’m enjoying N.F.T.R.A. racing. I’m really looking forward to the races at Stockton, Kansas in August.

CC: Do you do any other racing?

“King” Kirk: I drag race also. I’ll be at the Truett & Osborn Bike Drags in Wichita.

CC: What’s your drag racing bike?

”King” Kirk: You’re looking at it. I’m racing the Harley now, but I’m working on a mid-70’s Kawasaki 900 bored out to 1,005 c.c.

CC: Thanks for the visit, and good luck in the race.

Next, I moved on to another pit stall where Brigitta Meyer was preparing her bike. She was able to spare a few minutes for a pre-race chat.

CC: What class do you race in, Brigitta?

Brigitta: I’m in Vintage 600 Amateur.

CC: What’s your bike and how long have you been racing?

Brigitta: It’s a 500 Yamaha in a T.P.R. frame. This is my second full season of racing. I learned to race on a little Suzuki.

CC: What made you decide to become a motorcycle racer?

Brigitta: I started riding motorcycle at the age of 32. The following year a friend took me to a race, and decided I wanted to do that but didn’t think I could. I watched races for a couple of years and finally decided to get a racing bike and give it a try.

CC: Now you have no fear?

Brigitta (laughing): Oh, there’s fear, but there’s also an adrenaline rush and a great deal of fun too. I’ve slowly progressed and gotten to be a better rider. I don’t let the adrenaline take over. You have to take some chances, but I try to do it in a smart way.

CC: I’m sure you have to develop trust in the other riders.

Brigitta: Trust is very important. Most of the riders I compete with have raced for many years and are highly skilled.

CC: How are you doing in the point standings?

Brigitta: Before the race at 81 Speedway last night, I was in 6th. I finished 5th in the race, so I may have moved up a place. I finished the last two seasons in 3rd.

CC: Do you make it to all of the races on the schedule?

Brigitta: I missed one last year, and one so far this year. Most of the races are within six hours of home. I live in Garland, Nebraska, and we race at a couple of Nebraska tracks, so that’s nice.

CC: I’ve enjoyed the visit and look forward to watching you race.

By the time the racers returned to Lakeside, Brigitta had won her first race of the year. She finished first on July 22 on the ½-mile track at Corning, Iowa. A number of races remain on the 2005 schedule, including two days during the 126th Annual Rooks County Fair in Stockton, Kansas, on August 15 and 16. Motorcycles have raced on Stockton’s 1/2 –mile track since 1906. Growing up in Stockton, I looked forward to the motorcycle races every year and dreaded the beginning of school which was always the following week. The final race of the season will be at Central Missouri Speedway in Warrensburg on August 26. It is a Red Rider event and is also the evening before the A.M.A. Grand National races in nearby Sedalia, so there should be lots of pro riders on hand.

To get more information on N.F.T.R.A. rules, schedule, and points standings and to view race photos, readers can visit their website. Here’s a list of the N.F.T.R.A. classes:

Modern Trophy Class:
50 cc - Trophies to ALL finishing riders (knobby tires allowed)
85 cc - (knobby tires allowed)
125 cc – (knobby tires allowed)
250/505 cc (knobby tires allowed 250 only)
Open - (No knobby Tires)
Quad - (No rear knobby tires)

Vintage Trophy Class:
Trophy 375 cc Max 1979 & earlier (no age limit)
Vintage 600 Single *Minimum age 30 years old
Vintage Open Twin *Minimum age 30 years old
Vintage Masters (50 years of age & up)
Vintage Seniors (60 years of age & up)

Vintage Pro Class:
Over 50 Years of Age* (Pro Masters)
Pro 600 cc - *Minimum age 30 years old
Open Pro Twin - *Minimum age 30 years old
Pro 375 (100% payback only)

Modern Pro:
250/505 cc (Pro-Sport/Expert/GNC license required)
Quad ( No rear knobby tires)

Story and Photos by Stripe