Flat track is on the rise. Anyone paying attention in the motorcycle industry knows this, and the proof is right in front of us. Flat track has been competing at the X Games since 2014, all of the AFT races are broadcast on NBC Sports, and worldwide flat-track events such as the Superprestigio create a major buzz throughout the industry.

There are many accomplished riders from other disciplines getting involved in flat track. Freestyle riders such as Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg, Carey Hart, Robbie Maddison, and Tyler Bereman have also jumped into the competition . If you have attended an American Flat Track professional event this season and you are wondering why you haven't seen these riders in action, it's because they haven't been at those races. You can find these riders and many more at the fastest growing series in the country, the Super Hooligan races.

What is Super Hooligan racing you ask?

Super Hooligan races and events are run on streetbikes right off the showroom floor such as the Indian Scout, Harley-Davidson XG750, and the Ducati Scrambler. Modifications are very minimal in comparison to full on trackers. Most series require the use of a stock frame without any geometry changes besides bolt-on parts. You are often allowed an aftermarket swingarm, but the rules are geared toward keeping it simple and affordable. Flat track-based 19-inch tires or 17-inch rain tires only.

Super Hooligan
Super Hooligan is flat track on bikes not designed for racing—which makes great racing.Courtesy of Roland Sands Design

The Roland Sands Design Super Hooligan series is for 750cc-plus twin streetbikes and is open to all manufacturers.

“This isn’t spec racing like the old 883 class was back in the day,” Cameron Brewer from Roland Sands Design said. “The coolest thing about this series and why everyone wants to get involved is because it is open to any manufacturer out there and many of the bikes are essentially equal.”

Roland Sands
Roland Sands is chock-full of great ideas; the Super Hooligan Series is one of them.Courtesy of Roland Sands Design

So what is the buzz surrounding this series and why is it packing the grandstands at races around the country? Well, for one, it’s relatable to many of the fans who come spectate. The riders are racing the very same motorcycles many fans rode to the event.

Although there is some high-level talent at these races, there are also many riders who are just passionate street riders who decided they wanted to start racing. Rather than getting into all the political aspects of professional racing and the drawn-out schedule at amateur events, they find common ground in Hooligan racing.

How big is Hooligan racing getting? Well, there is almost as much manufacturer support in Hooligan racing as there is in professional flat track. Harley-Davidson, Indian, Ducati, BMW, Yamaha, and Triumph have all invested into the sport in some way or another. This is one of the reasons it has drawn in former professional riders such as Joe Kopp and Scott Baker. The payout isn’t something to be laughed at either. If a rider would sweep the night at an official Super Hooligans race, they would earn more than $2,650 (according to calculations from Roland Sands’ website) in prize money and contingency. More often than not, the promoter of each race will also kick in some extra money for the riders on top of what is already available.

Super Hooligan race
Winning a Super Hooligan race can be lucrative.Courtesy of Roland Sands Design

In addition to attractive prize purses, the overall winner of the 2017 Super Hooligan series won an Indian Scout FTR750 valued at around $50,000! This year, the winner of the series receives a one-off RSD-customized 2019 Indian model. Early speculation is the bike given to the champion will be a the yet-to-be released FTR 1200 streetbike.

The whole Hooligan phenomenon started not long ago when a couple of buddies decided to take the mirrors off their Harleys, throw on dirt tires, and bang bars with one another for something to do on a Saturday night.

It’s very uncommon that you attend a Hooligan-style event where the grandstands aren’t packed. The Mama Tried event promoted by Flat Out Friday in Milwaukee, The One Show event in Salem, Oregon, and The Wild One in Castle Rock, Washington, aren’t just races. They are events. There is more to it than just green lights and checkered flags, and because of that, the spectators keep coming back year after year.

Freestyle racers
Freestyle racers are signing up for Super Hooligan racing, drawing new fans into flat track.Courtesy of Roland Sands Design

I don’t think there are necessarily fans out there traveling the country cheering on their favorite Hooligan riders. However, most of the top Hooligan guys, who are also custom bike builders, know how to market themselves better than most top professional riders do. Hooligan riders such as Roland Sands (164K followers), Rusty Butcher (130K followers), Speed Merchant (85K followers), Noise Cycles (70.3K followers), and Suicide Machine Company (57.8K followers) are killing the Instagram game. They are posting unique content, letting their followers know about events they are attending, and creating video recaps of their races. They aren’t posting content that makes you yawn, such as a watermarked photo they found online with an essay-style play-by-play of their race. It’s exciting stuff. As a professional rider myself, I follow many of them and always watch their videos and enjoy their posts.

Within the loyal flat-track fan base, there are many Hooligan haters out there flooding social media. The good and bad thing about flat-track fans is they are extremely passionate. I think most of the loyal fans who have been involved with the sport since the days of Bart Markel feel as if this newer style of flat-track racing doesn’t belong with the more traditional aspects of the sport. They feel a sense of entitlement because they have “been here longer” as fans.

Super Hooligan racing
A wide variety of venues and racing surfaces are key to the success of Super Hooligan racing.Courtesy of Roland Sands Design

I couldn’t disagree more. How will the sport continue to grow if we don’t welcome new riders, fans, and concepts? I welcome anyone who shows interest in a sport I have been involved with my entire life. Not only that, but Hooligan racing is good for the sport. Has anyone noticed how many more fans attend AFT rounds where Hooligan racers are present? The skill level at the professional level is a spectacle, but the Hooligan racers bring a different aspect of the show, which is a more laid-back enjoyment to an event.

A couple of months ago, I hopped on my buddy Aaron Guardado’s Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster Hooligan bike for a couple of laps at Perris Raceway in Southern California. I would like to think I am pretty decent at this whole going in a circle thing after doing it my whole life and it was a terrifying experience. Let’s just say I have some work to do if I want to be a Hooligan champion someday.

Laid back
Super Hooligan racing is more laid-back and the racers don’t take themselves as seriously as those in the AFT series.Courtesy of Roland Sands Design

In a world where many professional riders have egos that make it hard for them to even look their peers in the eyes when talking to them, it’s refreshing to see the Hooligan riders drinking a beer after the race, busting each others chops, and genuinely enjoying the time they spend racing a motorcycle.