AMRA Jim McClure Nitro Nationals at Rockingham Dragway
Jim McClure Nitro National
October 12-13, 2019
by Tom McCarthy
On Sunday October 13, 2019, the Jim McClure Nitro World Finals came to a struggled close at 2:06PM in the afternoon after a day-long battle with the weather that was unwinnable. Rockingham Dragway frontman Steve Earwood made the announcement just after 2PM “Ladies and gentlemen I’m sorry to say this but this battle we have been waging all day will continue into tonight, this is not something we can win. The weather front extends well into Georgia and will continue to come our way well into tomorrow, so I know many of you have a long drive ahead of you, this is it for us today.”
It was as graceful and ending as could be put on the event, which on Sunday, was plagued by intermittent rain from day-break, forward. Each time the track would get dry, the bikes would come out and then the persistent showers would resume.
The morning test and tune started at 10AM on time and the normally one-hour session was shortened to 25 minutes to bump up the driver’s meeting and fuel bike classes were called to the lanes with their bikes and leathers. A session of Thundermax Eliminator was begun after the AMRA rider meeting and they raced from 11:06 to 11:16AM before the session was halted by rain.
After the delay, the invocation was given and the national anthem was beautifully sung followed by the first round of Top Fuel motorcycle E-1. Tyler Wilson defeated Chris Streeter, 6.91 to Streeter’s broken 10/93 and in so doing Wilson won his first round of Top Fuel Harley racing and he also made his first six-second pass on a TFH.
Don Becker then defeated Jim Fagan who never left the starting line due to a complication.
Randal Andras then squared up with Billy Jack for what looked to be a good match up. They left hard together and about 200’ out, Billy’s bike torched parts and Randal thundered off to victory in a big way. By qualifying #2 and going the extra round, he surpassed Jay Turner in points, to win the AMRA Top Fuel points championship for 2019.
In the final TFH round match up, Tim Kerrigan put a light on Tii Tharpe, the #1 qualifier (.043 to .055) then as Tii began to pull away from Tim, something went wrong on Tii’s bike and he slowed as Kerrigan stormed off on a 6.92 pass for the win.
As Nitro Funny Bike began their session, Rich Vreeland and Rocky Jackson were ordered to fire up and as they did, a complication was spotted on the top-end – debris was seen on the racing surface and top-end radioed the starting line to halt the racers. Because these were nitro Harley bikes already running, by ordering them to shut off, they had to pull back from the starting line to service the bikes before a re-start was possible. This led to them missing the session.
Remaining Nitro Funny Bike racers Jim Doyle and Tadashi Saito then faced off. Saito then struggled to produce an 8.94 elapsed time, while veteran Jim Doyle turned in a 7.02 ET @ 198.76 MPH. The final NFB of the session was a bye-run for Ryan Peery of OH, who posted a 6.62 @ 208.88 MPH.
Following the NFB session, the Pro Fuel racing began with Kirby Apathy matched up with the RockStone, Mr. Rocky Jackson. Kirby qualified #1 with a blistering 7.12 that was the first leg of a new AMRA National Record. Kirby then proceeded to drop a bomb on Rocky, delivering a 7.153 @ 179 MPH to Rocky’s 792 @ 164 MPH. This established a new record for the Pro Fuel class and Kirby Apathy.
The next pair out was the last pair out for the 2019 AMRA season. Jim Martin and Dennis Waldron paired up for what would be a championship session for Waldron.
He came into this event with 1730 championship points with Janette Thornley trailing close behind him with 1530 points. Dennis qualified 6th with a 7.58 and Janette qualified 7th with a 7.59. Dennis Waldron was defeated by Jim Martin 7.56 to 7.66, sending Dennis to his trailer, but as this happened, the rains returned. This ended the day and cemented the points lead for Dennis who has earned his first AMRA Pro Fuel championship.
When the rains came one too many times, the plug was pulled and the event concluded. AMRA season one, under new leadership has concluded and in the near future, as soon as points totals are available for all classes, a salute to the season champions will appear here in the news pages of Dragbike.com.
For now, it’s hats off to Randal Andras, Ryan Peery and Dennis Waldron for a job well done. The 2020 schedule is not yet available for AMRA, but the future holds more thunder and lightning for the sanction which has long been home to many a Harley racer.
The sunny day was greeted by a pit full of campers, race trailers and rigs from all across the USA. The AMRA staff after set up on Friday commented, “We’re pretty sure all the campsites are sold out and by Saturday morning people will be hard-pressed to find a place to park. This is looking AWESOME!”
As noted in a pre-race story, close to 24 nitromethane fed Harley-Davidson drag bikes are expected for this event and sure enough, the vast majority of the number is already in the pits. Racers that are already se-up and have started prepping for the weekend are: Jim Fagan, Knuckelheads Racing, Mike Romine Racing, Jay Turner Racing, Michael Beland, Tim Kerrigan, Peter Geiss, Don Becker, Brian Greenwalt, Jim Doyle, Ryan Peery, Rocky Jackso, LSR Racing, Sam White, Tracy Kile & Flat-Larry, Bad Apple Racing TF Nitro Harley, Kirby Apathy Jim Martin, Janette Thornley, Tyler Wilson, Billy Jack, Jay Beasley and more may be coming through the gates before sundown.
Over 50 motorcycles participated in today’s Test & Tune. One of the quickest passes of the testing session was by Jim Fagan on his beautiful Mike Romine prepared Top Fuel Harley. Jim ran a 7.09 elapsed time to the delight of onlookers today. Jim Doyle on his Nitro Funny Bike turned in a 7.13 that was good to help establish a baseline for tomorrow’s three qualifying sessions. Racing begins at 10AM tomorrow.
by Tom McCarthy
For more information visit www.amralive.com
April 27-28 / Spring Rally & Drags / Beechbend Raceway Park
May 18-19 / Orlando Nationals / Orlando Dragway
June 29-30 / Summer Shootout & Rally / Beechbend Raceway Park
July 27-28 / Michigan Nationals Race & Rally / US 131 Motorsports Park
Aug 24-25 / Liberty Nitro Nationals / Numidia Dragway
Sept 21-22 / Clay Jones Memorial Race & Rally / Beechbend Raceway Park
Oct 12-13 / Jim McClure Memorial Harley Nitro Nationals / Rockingham Dragway