Nitro or Nuth'n: The Price They Pay

Mike Beland of Florida, driving for DJ had a great rookie season in 2015 with the Nitro Harley T/F bikes.

In the world of motorcycle drag racing, racers can choose to go one of two ways when it comes to picking their poison for going fast. They can choose to race a gasoline based motorcycle or a fuel bike, there are only two choices. It's all in what a racer wants to accomplish and experience as to which is the preferred choice - to each their own. But know this my friends; one is a whole lot more expensive and a lot more work than the other. Be careful what you wish for.

As an example of this, at the NHRA, Harley Davidson Drag Racing Series (HD-DRS) race, held in Norwalk, Ohio, during the Summit Motorsports, Cavalcade of Stars, in 2015, I had the chance to witness once again, the destructive and awesome power of nitromethane based fuel racing. Night after night, the Don Johnson team labored from dusk till dawn to keep their bike in the fight. Swapping out pistons and rings as needed, it seems the internal motor work never ceases in fuel racing. Much the same was the case for the Pridemore team, working past midnight each night keeping DJ and his team company. Such is the life in nitromethane based racing.

Nitro bikes have frequently been known to be described as somewhere between evil and pure evil by many of the racers who race them. But for the nitromainiacs who choose to race fuel bikes, they wouldn't have it any other way. There’s nothing else quite like the sight and sound of a thundering fuel bike, front tire dangling in the air, flames belching from the pipes, hammers from Hell pounding out their song as it rockets down the drag strip. It's a magnificent sight to behold.

Magnificent yes, but there’s a price to pay for this, a very high price.

All one has to do to understand this concept is stroll through the pit areas of the nitro bikes after they make a pass. Don't rush to do this; they'll be awhile making repairs more often than not. While on occasion a nitromethane based motor will behave itself and allow a team a quick turnaround between runs, more often than not, somebody broke something on a pass. And it's not what did they break, but how badly did they break it that becomes the focus. Nitromethane is evil. Ask any nitro racer, racing on two wheels or four wheels; you'll get an ear full.