Milwaukee’s Wild & Crazy Indoor Flat Track Races


Milwaukee, Wisconsin once again roared to life with the thunderous excitement of Flat Out Friday 2024. This indoor flat track motorcycle race, a prelude to the much-anticipated Mama Tried Motorcycle Show, took place at the Fiserv Forum on Friday, February 23rd, 2024. The event, presented by Harley-Davidson, showcased a unique blend of speed, skill, and spectacle, cementing its status as a must-see event in the heart of the Midwest. Although this was only our 2nd year attending, the race night actually originated in 2014, making this year extra special as Flat Out Friday’s 10-year anniversary.

Opening ceremonies, then the racing begins in earnest.

So how do they race flat track in a basketball stadium, you might ask? Similar to hosting a concert or monster truck jam events, the wooden court is removed, leaving a bare concrete slab for Flat Out Friday staff to get creative with. And when I say creative, I mean the Flat Out Friday team stacks hay bales and concrete barriers along the grand stands and uses chemical sprayers filled with Dr. Pepper syrup to douse the surface, leaving the polished concrete slab a sticky treat for riders to slide around on for the better half of the day. The races featured a diverse lineup of 19 exciting race classes, from the adrenaline-pumping Hooligan class where street-legal motorcycles are modified for racing, to the whimsical Goofball class, which mandates costumes and custom or rare bikes. In previous years, we’ve seen everything from a half clothed man racing while on a Zoom call, a Jet Ski with wheels, and even a porta potty boonie bike.

Some of the more creative riders lapping the track this year.

The event’s inclusivity was on full display, with riders ranging from 6 to 79 years old, all competing on the same Dr. Pepper syrup-coated concrete track, promising both high stakes and high spills. As a resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a member of the local moto community, attending the races is extra special for me as I get to watch long time friends and acquaintances take part in the sheer unpredictability of the event. This year, I witnessed and documented wins from several friends. Following my friend Andy Picket’s win in the Open Boonie class, Andy lit up a cigarette as the events MC interviewed him, causing the crowd to go wild. In asking Andy why he did it, he stated, “My friend Dan had been saying I could win it all. I told him I didn’t think I could because the others were super fast and race a lot more. I then said, ‘Fine, I’ve got one more cig. if I win, I’m having a victory smoke during my interview.’ It’s funny, I didn’t think a victory smoke would blow up as much as it did. Now I’m just waiting for a fine to be mailed to my house.”  To top it all off, the crowd also witnessed my friend Matt Stout, owner and operator of Stout Boonie Bikes, take a W racing his all-new Sidecar Boonie Bike alongside his then girlfriend, now fiancé, following his proposal to her after they took 1st in a race amongst several other Sidecar Stout Boonies. When asked why he created the Sidecar Stout Boonie Bikes, Matt replied, “I needed to find a way to win alongside her.”

The Boonie Bike Sidecar races; the ladies duke it out on the Dr. Pepper.

The competition was both fun and fierce, with the Open Hooligan class drawing particular attention due to its no-holds-barred nature. The racers, atop their 750cc or larger twin motorcycles, battled it out for supremacy, with the class being divided after timed practice to ensure a level playing field. The Open Amateur and AA (Pro) classes also saw intense action, with riders showcasing their skills and determination in pursuit of victory. The most gut wrenching of the bunch was the Charlotte Kainz 35 lap memorial race, in which the pros duked it out in memory of their past friend and opponent on the track.

The hard-core crew take to the track.

As the dust settled, the smoke cleared and the champions emerged, Flat Out Friday 2024 reaffirmed it’s reputation as part race, part rock show, and part circus. It’s really more than just a race; it’s a celebration of motorcycle culture that makes us natives proud to call Milwaukee, Wisconsin our home. Flat Out Friday is a gathering of the community, and a testament to the enduring spirit of competition and camaraderie that defines the sport. Until next year, Milwaukee’s racing heart continues to beat strong, fueled by the memories of yet another unforgettable Flat Out Friday.

Nathan “GenZ Biker” Baron

*All photos by Nathan.


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