Each season there are a handful of rule changes that take place in American Flat Track (AFT). As a member of the American Flat Track Advisory Board, I see all the hard work that goes into these decisions. While I am not a fan every one of them, I understand the idea or intent on each being created or changed. Here are some of the new rules this season in the AFT Singles class and with my rider insight.

New Rule: Rider must race a minimum of three events during the season to qualify for an AFT Singles license the following year.
Old Rule: Rider wasn't required to race a minimum amount of events.
CTex's Thoughts: This rule is intended to keep the professional riders "fresh" and prevent racers from showing up at one race a year. Most top-level racing series such as NASCAR and MotoGP don't have "part-time" racers, so this seems to be the idea behind the new rule. I don't think there is a problem with this rule. There are 18 races all across the country over the course of the season. Attending three events to obtain your license for the following year shouldn't be an issue.

New Rule: In 2019, there will be 16-rider main events with six, five, and five riders across three rows.
Old Rule: Previously there were 18-rider main events with six riders across three rows.
CTex's Thoughts: The idea behind this rule is that 18 riders is too many on certain racetracks. For the most part, this new rule is based on safety. I am a fan of it for a couple of reasons. The first lap is often cluttered at some races and taking less riders to the main event should help with this. You could compare it to motocross or roadracing, but it's different because those guys have front brakes and track runoff. Some will complain about taking less riders to the main, but we need to stop looking at professional racing like Little League baseball. Not everyone gets to participate in the big show.

American Flat Track
There will be 16-rider main events in both classes, previously there were 18-rider main events. The goal is that less riders will create less first-turn chaos.Scott Hunter/American Flat Track

New Rule: All riders who made a main during the previous season will be allowed one provisional start, which may be used to advance into a semi or main event.
Old Rule: There were no provisionals that advanced a rider into a main event, but each rider got one provisional start card to advance them into a semi.
CTex's Thoughts: This rule is being used in both the AFT Twins and AFT Singles classes in 2019. I don't like provisional start cards. Of course I will take advantage of mine if needed, but I am old-school and like the old format where you have to make the main every weekend. I feel you should have two chances to qualify, which is a rule that doesn't exist right now because of the current format. Since we only have one race (the semi) to qualify for the main event, I am more open to this rule than I would be if there were a heat and semi.

New Rule: Motorcycles are required to use a supermoto-style front fender at all events.
Old Rule: No front fenders were allowed.
CTex's Thoughts: Talk about a complete flip-flop. The old rule that banned front fenders was stupid. I think this change was pushed by some of the new factory involvement in the series this season. Front fenders would have been awesome last year on a track like Meadowlands Mile where vision was difficult. This could be looked at as another safety-based rule. Additionally, DTX single-cylinder motorcycles simply look better with front fenders.

AFT Singles class
Front fenders are now mandatory in the AFT Singles class. Supermoto-style only.Scott Hunter/American Flat Track

New Rule: Full-face helmets must be worn at all events.
Old Rule: Full-face helmets were required at all events except for TT events where riders were allowed to wear motocross-style helmets.
CTex's Thoughts: This is another safety-based rule. It's sketchy going fast with a motocross helmet. However, some riders really dislike this rule. I am neutral on it because I understand the reasoning behind it. As a rider, I don't think this is one to stress over. If anything, it saves you from buying more helmets.

Full face lids are mandatory in 2019
AFT riders will have to put their MX-style helmets on the shelves during national events; full-face lids are mandatory in 2019.Scott Hunter/American Flat Track

New Rule: Any commercially available inner and outer fork tubes and axle lugs may be used. Modifications are permitted. All other fork parts may be modified.
Old Rule: The outer fork tubes must remain stock. Changes were only allowed to the internals.
CTex's Thoughts: I really like this rule. It elevates flat track with other racing series out there. Companies like Öhlins USA have invested a lot of money into the sport over the past few seasons and recently brought in tuners like Jimmy Wood to offer trackside support to their customers. With this level of involvement, it allows the motorcycles to handle better and create a safer racing environment. The cost difference between purchasing a complete kit ($4,800) from Öhlins rather than just the shock and fork internals ($3,000) isn't that much more. It allows racers to keep their stock suspension in the shed if they want to convert the bike back to a motocross bike, or they could sell the parts on eBay.

New Rule: Single-cylinder motorcycles must be a minimum of 230 pounds.
Old Rule: Single-cylinder motorcycles had to be a minimum of 235 pounds.
CTex's Thoughts: I think the KTM is pretty light and they were flirting with this rule, so this makes sense with their involvement in 2019. Five pounds isn't a huge deal. I do think it is easier to add 5 pounds than take away 5 pounds, especially for a factory team, but I understand the decision.