What is the Most Popular Motorcycle Drag Racing Class?
by Tom McCarthy
Ah, the headline reads as such quite clearly: what indeed is the most popular class of motorcycle drag bike racing in the year 2020? This is an interesting question for the followers of Dragbike.com as we here frequently present news and information on roughly over two dozen classes of drag bikes in competition within about ten different sanctions, worldwide. So with so many classes and so many different rules defining a dizzying number of drag bikes: which class of competition has the most popular drag bikes?
A survey was launched during the week of September 27th, through October 4th, from Sunday to Sunday by Tom McCarthy, Senior Editor at Dragbike.com, along with UK racer, Lizz Charman, and drag racing aficionado Par Pippi Willen, of Sweden. Each poised exactly the same question to seek relative results for discussion as grist for the mill among the drag bike racing faithful.
It should be obvious to all concerned that this survey, while conducted by specific individuals is more of a sampling of their follower’s interests than a true international, independent survey. But I sincerely doubt that if a larger more comprehensive survey was taken that the results, when distilled down to their essence, would show much difference. A larger gathering of total numbers likely would be presented, yet when you get right down to it, I’m willing to wager the end results would be quite comparable to what you’ll see here.
Data from the USA, the UK, and Sweden, independently taken actually mirror one another quite vividly. While the USA had 204 respondents, the UK had 148 and Sweden 52. It’s not the total number of respondents that’s interesting here; it’s the parallel breakdown of the interests in the individual classes that speaks volumes. The vast majority of respondents stated a clear leading interest in Top Fuel Motorcycle, with Top Fuel Harley or Top Fuel Super-Twin a close second, followed closely by Pro Street motorcycle.
This is very, very interesting! In looking closely at the USA numbers, of 201 respondents: 61 people stated that Top Fuel Motorcycle was their favorite class. Almost a third less respondents stated Top Fuel Harley was their favorite and a like number stated that Pro Street motorcycle was their favorite class. Read that again, Pro Street motorcycle, a no-bar, non-nitromethane burning class is now nearly as popular as the thundering NHRA Top Fuel Harleys. 46 respondents vs 42 respondents respectively for Top Fuel Harley and Pro Street motorcycle. In the United Kingdom polling, Pro Street numbers are listed as Superstreet bikes.
What’s even more interesting here is if you look at the top responding class numbers for the UK and Sweden you’ll see a parallel here for the same top classes, with the exception of the fondness of the Funny Bike class in the UK. Without question, Pro Street motorcycles worldwide are gaining over a class of drag bikes that have ruled the roost since someone first poured a can of CH3NO2 into a Harley Davidson, sometime in the late 1940’s.
Now keep in mind Pro Street motorcycle, as a class has only really been around since the late 1980’s. This information bodes well for the sport of motorcycle drag racing in that for the sport to grow and attract new racers, the younger generation growing into motorcycle drag racing – they have grown to know the sport does not exist solely on drag bikes with wheelie bars and big drag slicks.
Moving on with the survey, in the USA it was encouraging to see the level of interest in 4.60 class racing being more than double the interest of Pro Fuel, Pro Mod or Top Fuel Dirt. This spike of interest reflects the level of not only interest but the level of participation by the respondents. Most any 4.60 class racing events in the USA will normally generate close to 20-30 entries and the bikes generate power levels not far off-pace with the Pro Street bikes. The aforementioned fuel classes would populate only a quarter of that number of participants during a good weekend of racing.
This story and topic was generated to pique the interest of Dragbike.com followers and spur open discussion between respondents and sanctions who love and participate in the sport. Consider this: It’s not so important as to where you are in life as it is, where are you going? Discuss among yourselves, where is motorcycle drag racing today and where do you think it will be five years from now?
SURVEY BREAK DOWN
|Top Fuel Import||121|
|Top Fuel Harley||66|
|Top Fuel Twin||30|
|Top Fuel Dirt||6|
|Pro Street Bagger||4|
|Pro Stock Motorcycle||2|
|Vintage Fuel Harley||2|
|Hot Street Bagger||1|
USA Results by Tom McCarthy
|Top Fuel Imports||61|
|Top Fuel Harley||46|
|Top Fuel Dirt||6|
|Pro Street Baggers||4|
|Top Fuel Twin||3|
|Pro Stock Motorcycle||1|
|Hot Street Bagger||1|
European Results by Lizz Charman
|Top Fuel Imports||46|
Sweden Results by Pär Pippi Willén
|Top Fuel Harley||20|
|Top Fuel Imports||14|
|Vintage fuel Harleys||1|
- Rami Vaan, Finland: My absolute favorite class (and has been so for long time) is (methanol burning) turbo FUNNY BIKES… Especially now when it is on verge of being resurrected and is approaching the elusive 5 second region. I wait eagerly for the 1st bike to run it in the near future.
- Frank Moya, USA: Top Fuel is always my number 1 because of guys like Ian King and Spider-Man ripping insane #’s but still cutting great lights and making the actual race fun to watch. But not enough bikes. Pro street is definitely the most bikes with crazy ets and speeds here in US. But my vote is for the (not sure I’m getting the name right) pro extreme bikes. Funny Bikes. I am definitely paying attention to that one. Seems like a 5 second run is about to happen.
- Marius van der Zijden, The Netherlands: Though I usually do not enter such survey’s I’d like to make a small contribution this time. I think you have to put yourself in the position of the spectator. What attracts them to come to races and makes sure they stay at the stands? Runs where any vehicle (being a car or a bike) seemingly effortlessly goes to the end in an arrow-straight line does not create a lot of attention to the general public and makes them to leave the stands. People want to see the pinnacle of the sport with the quickest ET’s where vehicles which has to work itself the hardest way around to get to the other end. In that case ‘IMHO’ the order should be: Top Fuel bike / Top Fuel Twins (or TF Harley) and Superstreet bike (or Pro Street). I think it is just as simple as looking at the stands.
- Phil Baimbridge, UK: My passion is anything blown fuel (I don’t worry about how many cylinders it has) – so my favourite class must be TFB. Why? IMO, whether running a high or low budget operation, competing with a TFB requires a commitment way above other classes. Not only in the sheer cost of the racebike, but the infrastructure to transport, race, maintain and develop one of these machines. There is no getting it “somewhere close” on a dynamometer before you hit the racetrack and it is pretty unforgiving when you get it wrong. But when it comes together there is nothing quite like a TFB.
- Kevin Charman: Top Fuel is a total commitment deal, certainly not a cookie-cutter class! Love the sheer spectacle of it! Hope to be back in it soon.
- Anonymous: Superstreet bike is a good class but obviously a cheque book one. Dull when quick!
- Michael Cupp: So I thought I’d add my two cents. In my mind, the most exciting class is top fuel Harley. The pinnacle of motorcycle drag racing. The only downside is that it’s a small class of riders and odds are good that the same two or three racers will win the majority of events.
- Nick Harper: As much as I love 4.60, have to say Pro-Street! Just something about how wild and violent they are that is just awesome!
|Until Next time…
– Tom McCarthy