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Dave Maddock is an industry stalwart and the brains behind the newest race category to gain Australian championship status, the Australian Flat Track Nationals.

AMCN’s Matt O’Connell sat down for a chat with Dave Maddock, the man behind the Australian Flat Track Nationals.

Well done on Australian Flat Track Nationals being granted official Australian championship status. That’s a huge achievement going into your third year.

To be rewarded by becoming a national championship feels good and it was something we were working towards. It feels like there is a real change sweeping in and Motorcycling Australia has been big a supporter of this type of racing. Everybody seemed to enjoy the series in the last two years; there’s a lot of laps in it and everyone is having fun.

Feel the noise! Close action in the Pro 450 class, won in 2023 by Mick Kirkness. This year’s championship kicks off at Appin, NSW on 27 July

It also seems to be a good way of going racing without breaking the bank?

Don’t get me wrong, every form of motorsport is expensive and if there’s a way to go faster, someone will spend the money to do that. That’s always going to be a factor but if we can do it in a way that is economical and still promote competition, then why not? We want a race day that someone can watch, spend three or four hours at an event and see everything they need to see and make it home, rather than commit to  a 12-hour day. We have practice and qualifying but then our racing gets underway at 10.45am and we’re wrapped up by 3.30pm.

What changes are you bringing in this year?

The biggest change is that there is no limit to the amount of competitors who can enter an event. Previously, we had a limit of 34 riders. The downside is that the riders will need to qualify – but they will have two sessions of five minutes to do that. 

Maddock presents Clay Clegg with the Pro 450 winner’s cheque at last year’s Round 3

What about classes for this year, are we going  to see more twins on the grid?

Yes. The twins are just really popular. Who doesn’t want to see a bike that is technically not supposed to be raced in this way wide open on a dirt track? The twins will race at every flat-track event – which is on the Saturday of our rounds. It’s aimed at big, twin-cylinder bikes that are production based so that we can have something that is sustainable. 

How are you developing the formula for that class?

We are trying to keep the formula relatively open but somewhat fair. There’s plenty of fast, talented riders involved but it’s also a lot of fun. We wanted to keep the rules as open as we could but remain in the spirit of the event: over 499cc four-stroke engines in a streetbike frame with 19-inch tyres. We still want to see those custom framed bikes like they race in America – people do have those over here. You can still compete but those bikes won’t be scored in the same way. It’s not quite fair if you stick someone like Mick Kirkness or Jarred Brook on a custom-framed Indian FTR750 and put them up against a standard-framed bike. But if I can get a good rider on one of those bikes, of course I want to see it – everybody would – but it’s also about growing the sport. I want to see Indians, Harleys, Yamahas – last year a CFMoto took it out.

Kirkness wrote an AMCN guest column last year saying the main reason he races AFTN is the 19-inch wheel format brings opportunities to align flat-track here with international rules

We’ve seen some of the younger riders really coming on now, is it the year for them to take the challenge to the more established guys like Kirkness and Brook?

Fast guys are fast no matter what – the cream always rises to the top. I hope our series is seen as a really good stepping stone for the careers of these riders. If we do a good job with the series, we can build their profile. Whether it’s (Daniel) Wicks, (Tom) Herrick – they’re right behind Kirkness – or Jed Fyffe or the Paiges, if we can do our part by providing a platform that has credibility, I think that’s a positive for everybody. But, yeah, the younger guys are really starting to get the hang of it.

Track wise you’re going Appin, Brisbane and Gunnedah. What’s your vision to grow to other areas and venues?

What I wanted was to see this year as consolidation. We’ve all seen the writing on the wall in terms of the global economy. Everybody knows what they are in for with our current format – how much time they need off work, where they need to travel, etc. So this year is a repeat but we will be more prepared. Then I’d like to see the series grow in 2025, possibly to 10 rounds.

Emma Scott came second in the Women’s Open class last year wearing hand-me-down Buell leathers

If you’re running twins, what’s the chances of finding longer tracks to compete on? Is that something you want to pursue?

If we can go longer and stay safe, we’re keen. In the short term we want to be running alongside a club – we’re motivated to keep supporting clubs. If a club can build some infrastructure, like a TT track, and we help pay for that by being there, the club ends up with another avenue for members to enjoy their circuit. So it’s a win-win.

What about high-profile cameos for this year? Who have you got lined up?

There’s plenty of talk, but no one I can tell you right now. I think it would be good to see some of the semi-trailers from ASBK rolling into the AFTN paddock, let’s say!  


Maddock has inticed riders like Tom Drane to compete in the US off-season