What does an industry do when the troubled economy crunches a niche sport, motorcycle drag racing, and a primary sanction can’t function because of reduced support in mid-season? Go faster.
Go faster on organizing, so speed on the track can follow.
A group of motorcycle drag racing manufacturers decided to fill the void left when the leading sanction, Prostar, was forced to cease operating its circuit this summer. The group consists of long-time parts and service firms: MRE Racing, Star Racing, Orient Express, MTC, Fast by Gast, Brock Performance, PR Factory Store, Schnitz Racing, and MPS.
The manufacturers selected a mid-November weekend as a good time frame with temperate weather potential. They chose South Georgia Motorsports Park in Adel, Georgia for many reasons.
South Georgia Motorsports Park has one of the finest, if not the finest, drag racing facilities in the nation. Its quarter-mile track is of recent construction, one of only two all-concrete quarter-mile drag strips in North America, and is well built.
Event organizer, Jay Regan of MRE Racing, was enthusiastic early into the weekend of activities.
“It’s awesome the way it came together, got this race off the ground,” Regan said. “Not only the manufacturers for getting it going, but the racers coming in and for attending it. The support of the racers is phenomenal.”
The brisk turnout has prompted the group of manufacturers to consider another schedule date in spring at SGMP.
“I’m confident there will be another one, as far as independent events like this, we’re going to have a discussion on this,” Regan said. “We’re going to try to make an announcement before the event is done as far as moving forward. Right now, the focus is just getting this one done and getting it done right.”
Regan later confirmed that a spring race is definitely in the planning with dates to be determined.
SGMP pit area appeared to be operating at full capacity with the parking of rigs, haulers, trailers, coaches and vehicles. By Saturday afternoon little space remained for participants. Ample parking and seating remained for spectators as proper facilities are a SGMP trademark.
When Regan was asked about an early bike entry count, a smile emerged with his comment.
“We are about at 520. That’s fantastic,” Regan said.
Various classes filled staging lanes at SGMP as bike after bike lined up for side-by-side racing. Eight Top Fuel motorcycles thrilled the crowd with speeds approaching 240 mph.
Veteran Korry Hogan registered an impressive 5.84 ET at 243 mph during his first run, and finally got the beast stopped just three feet before the sand trap.
Multi-champion Top Fuel Motorcycle legend Larry “Spiderman” McBride was enthusiastic.
“For the manufacturers to do this thing is awesome,” McBride said. “I’m glad to be able to be here and glad the manufacturers did it. It goes to show you that motorcycle drag racing can still survive. We’ve got a great spectator crowd and a great field of motorcycles. We have the Harley guys here in their class. It’s unbelievable.”
One thing that seems believable is that given a place to race at the right time with rules to follow, racers in this niche sport will show up quickly.
It’s still all about speed.