Sportbike Motorcycle Drag Racing
Sportbike motorcycle drag racing involves modern sportbikes such as Suzuki and Kawasaki taken off the street and to the track. These motorcycles from the showroom floor such as the Suzuki Hayabusa can run in the 9 second zone in the 1/4 mile with barely any modifications. This type of drag racing could possibly be the easiest, and fastest way to get the chance to run down a drag racing strip.
NHRA The largest drag racing organization is the NHRA, which has over a hundred different tracks where motorcycles can be raced in seven different divisions across the country. Tracks The NHRA allows sport bike motorcycles to drag race. One of these tracks is the most common place to race sportbike motorcycles.
MiRock The MiRock racing series is an all motorcycle drag racing series run at Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, North Carolina and Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek, Maryland. This series runs eight races a year between these two tracks. Their man focus is on sportbike motorcycle drag racing and they have 8 different racing classes available to try by any sportbike motorcycle owner with the proper equipment. Some of these classes also cater to the traditional drag racing motorcycle, but sportbikes more and more are dominating these classes as well.
AMA Dragbike "AMA Dragbike is the largest all-motorcycle drag racing sanctioning body in the world" (About AMA Dragbike). AMA Dragbike is an eight race series that travels all over the county with 3 races in Georgia and a race in each of the following states: Tennessee, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. This is the most popular racing series with motorcycles that travel over 250 mph in the quarter mile with wheelie bars. There are five racing classes alone dedicated to the sportbike drag racing. Some of these classes feature a bracket racing format while others are heads up racing classes where the first racer to the finish line wins. The most exciting class to watch in the Pro Street class where sportbike motorcycles can reach over 200 mph in the quarter mile.
The most basic racing class is the bracket racing class, Street ET. Each motorcycle in this class must have a street tire and feature no wheelie bars, basically a streetbike off the street. Some of these bikes have minor modifications such as being lowered and featuring an air shifter. Each rider creates a dail in time and the person running the closest to their dial in and getting to the finish line first without running under their dial in wins. This is a fun, and easy way to get into racing a sportbike without getting carried away by upgrading with performance products. "This is a great class to come start in and once was the stomping grounds for many racing of the “Pro” riders today" (Series Information).
One of the most popular classes to watch in sportbike drag racing is Pro Street, which features 7 second, street tire motorcycles with no wheelie-bars traveling down the track at over 200 mph. "The Pro Street class is a professional heads-up class that contests the ultimate in street-legal motorcycles" (Series Information). These bikes are just like an ordinary streetbike but with tons of performance enhancing products such as a turbo and or nitrous oxide. These bikes are extremely fun to watch. The Pro Street motorcycles are just as fast as a pro stock motorcycle but resemble more of a street appearance with working headlights and taillights along with street tires. This class is ran at moth the MiRock and AMA Drag Bike racing series.
People in the sport
One of the biggest names in the sport is Rickey Gadson. Rickey Gadson has won more races in AMA Drag Racing in the history of the sport. He is a medium sized rider with the height of 5'11 and weighing 165 lbs. He has lived in the Philadelphia area since he was a child and started the love for racing when he was 13 years old. He was the first factory backed rider in the history of the sport in 1998. He is a 8 time champion and has be considered the king of sportbike drag racing. He last championship was in 2005 in the AMA Dragbike 1000 Super Sport class.
Other big names in the sport are Mike Slowe, Keith Dennis, Richard Gadson, and Nick Mazeika. Each rider has their own style of riding and have been considered stars in this sport. Mike Slowe has won 7 championships in 6 years of professional sportbike motorcycle drag racing. Keith Dennis won the 2008 AMA Dragbike Super Sport championship and was the 3rd person in the 7's on a street tire motorcycle. Richard Gadson is the newphew of Rickey Gadson and has rode just about every type of sportbike motorcycle down the track. And Nick Mazeika was the 2008 AMA Dragbike Super Street Champion, 2008 AMA Dragbike Rookie of the year, and 2008 AMA Dragbike Sponsored rider of the year and has proven he is an up and coming force.
"About AMA Dragbike." AMA Dragbike. 01DEC2007. AMA Dragbike. 12 Apr 2009 <http://www.amadragbike.com/news/templates/aboutus_tmp.asp?articleid=58&zoneid=18>.
"Rickey Gadson." Kawasaki Drag Racing. 2009. Kawasaki Motor Corp. 14 Apr 2009 <http://www.kawasaki.com/Racing_DragRacing/RacingTeamMemberDR.aspx>.
"Series Information." Mirock Racing. 2008. Mirock . 13 Apr 2009 <http://www.mirockracing.com/seriesinfo/>.
"Stars of the Show." 2 Wheel Tuner Dec2008: 50-53. Print.