Dan Bromley is the defending American Flat Track Singles champion this year, coming off a season with four race wins and nine podium finishes. It marked the first professional title for Bromley since he joined the pro ranks seven years ago. Now, the 23-year-old Pennsylvania native is back with even more support from KTM to defend his number one status in 2019, a position he remains humble to hold.
“It’s definitely an honor to be able to have this championship,” Bromley explains. “It’s definitely kind of mind-blowing to me. I never thought I’d be in this position. It’s great. I really want to be able to cherish it.”
You might imagine a defending champion spending the entire off-season with a focused training regimen, nutrition schedule, and curfew. That’s not Bromley. Rather, he got back to the 9-5, fitting in rides whenever possible.
“This off-season I worked full-time as a carpenter. We build houses from the concrete all the way up to the roof, all the way to the trim. Pretty much do that Monday through Friday. Then I try to get a lot of Fridays and Mondays to be able to travel and ride. Back home we got about an inch of snow still, so it’s kind of hard to ride with the snow on the ground and everything, but we make the best of it.
‘We do a lot of off-road riding, motocross, and cross-training. It helps out a lot. Today, you can see when the track gets a little sloppy or dry, you have to be able to think fast and react. It’s the same thing in the woods and on the moto track. You have to react because the track’s always changing. So I haven’t really had the chance to ride a lot of flat track this off-season, but had a lot of opportunities to ride motocross and off-road. Definitely been trying to take every opportunity I can to be on the bike.”
Motocross is especially helpful for Bromley during the off-season since it keeps his senses on the bike sharp.
“Moto helps a lot because the tracks are always changing and you always have to adapt to the tracks. The lines are changing. The ruts are changing. The faces are always different. Same thing on a flat track, just a little bit differently. Pretty much it’s always flat. So it’s not that that’s changing. Some parts get a little drier. Some parts get a little more slick, a little wetter. Sometimes you get a groove that forms that wasn’t there the lap before. You always have to be adapting and trying to make not only yourself work on the bike, but the bike work itself.”
Bromley has had plenty of training over the years, however. Flat Track is in his family’s blood, starting two generations ago.
“I got into flat-track racing because a long, long time ago my grandfather, he started doing it and then he opened up a motorcycle shop back home by me in Pennsylvania. Then he got my father and two uncles into it. They raced their whole lives. They didn’t have the opportunity to go professional, so when I had the opportunity they definitely supported it fully and really wanted me to take advantage of it.”
He joined the pro ranks when he was 16 years old, the year after winning the Horizon Award.
“I was 16 turning 17 when I turned professional because the years kind of overlapped. I wanted to start in Daytona. I didn’t want to start halfway through the season, so I wanted just to start fresh. I was able to win the first year I was professional in Springfield. Then in ’13 and ’14 I rode, and then in 2015 I finished second in the championship. Then in ’16 I moved up to the Twins class where I was able to earn my national number and many main events. Then in ’17 I rode half the season in the Twins, and in one of them finished fourth place just off the podium.
“Then I moved down to the Singles after. Kind of wasn’t feeling it anymore. Didn’t have the love for racing anymore. Kind of turned into a job almost, which is hard to see. It wasn’t enjoyable for me and I wanted to find my love for racing again. Being able to go to the racetrack in the back of my van, just do it myself, and just do it on my own terms. It definitely helped changed my mind and it helped me out a lot.
“Before I was on a strict schedule where I had to eat at certain times. I had to train at certain times. I had to do certain things at certain times, and it got a little out of hand for me. I don’t think at the time I was quite ready for it. Being able to go back and kind of relax and just do it how I wanted to do it, I feel now that I’m more prepared to be able to take this opportunity I with Red Bull KTM and Roof Systems. To be able to make it a benefit for me to be able to be more structured and to be able to use it to my advantage.”
Up to this point, Bromley’s been largely a privateer. There was some bike support earlier on, but nothing like what he has with KTM in 2019.
“Previous to this, I was on a Kawasaki-supported Twins program. It wasn’t a factory team. I got no money out of it, no nothing. But all the bikes were supplied and I just had to show up at the track. Where here, it’s a lot more easy for myself. I get a little bit more help getting to the tracks. Get a little bit more help being able to live my life and train and do all that. It definitely helps out a lot. It’s the first time ever having full-factory support where I have my own mechanic. I have any resource I need to be able to win. It’s pretty awesome.”
And as for the bike, he’s no stranger to the KTM 450 SX-F.
“I raced the first three rounds of the series on a 2018 KTM, and then KTM helped me out with a dealer demo. They were helping me out with purchasing a 2019—it was an ’18 and a half. 2019 frame, all-new frame and everything. They helped me out with that and I was able to race that for most of the season. Then toward the end of the season they helped me out with a second motorcycle, which had a little bit more parts in it that I didn’t have the resources to get. It definitely helped out a lot on the miles.”
Miles aren’t exactly where Bromley’s heart is. He’s more of a TT guy, which is understandable considering his off-season training approach.
“I love TTs. I won two out of the four last year. I’m not going to say I’m hoping to win all four this year, or all five, but I’m hoping to be in the top five and hopefully on the podium at all the rounds. I want to be able to be consistent. Last year I was on the podium 13 times. I missed the top five four times. So if I’m able to make top five every round this year, I’ll be really happy. I know that one way to win a championship is to be consistent, and hopefully I have a consistent 2019 season.”
That approach will pay dividends to his future plans if he’s able to pull it off.
“I hope to defend my championship this year. Then for 2020, I’m really looking forward to hopefully moving up to the Twins division. I would be really excited for KTM if they come out with their Twins program. As of right now it’s unclear. They are definitely working at it. I’m really excited to work with them and hopefully have them build their Twins program. For the 2020 season, I’d like to be on the Twin and hopefully be a top contender in the class.”