American Motorcycle Racing Association
Michigan All Harley Nationals
US 131 MotorSports Park: Martin, MI
July 28, 29, 2018
Nitro Funny Bike
Dennis “The Nitro Menace” Fisher is not only sponsored by Samson Exhaust, he is intelligent, gracious, soft spoken and kind-hearted. He has a successful drone business, Rapid Aerial Imaging, that is flourishing. Yet this man loves to race, and not just any bike. Dennis thrives on the exhilaration of a 6-7 second high that he gets every time he gets on his Nitro Funny Bike. But let me tell you this, there is nothing funny about going 200 mph down a track next to someone else who is trying to out race you. It is a thrill!
Dennis gets a lot of questions asking him why he races these Nitro Harley’s. He might be naturally competitive, but he loves challenges that are stimulating and thrilling. Dennis says, “My experience with these bikes is mine, and mine alone.”
Dennis says, “Whacking the throttle is like being shot out of a cannon. G’s are high – 2-3 and you’re accelerating at a pace you’ve never seen before. Gearheads get all worked up over 0-60 times of 3-4 seconds. How about 0-60 in 1 second? Try to hang on gearhead! The first incremental time we look at is our 60’. Anything under 1.20 seconds is good, we’ve been as quick as 1.17 seconds. It’s a combination of clutch, tire pressure, track conditions and tuning. Misread it and you leave performance on the table or blow the tire away – and maybe your motor.”
At the same time, just because it’s a thrill, there is common sense that goes into knowing what you’re doing so you don’t get into trouble during the thrill ride. This nitromethane powered bike is no doubt a rocket. There is every good reason to know what you are doing before you saddle up on this machine just so parts stay intact! Besides having the best crew and team, Dennis suits up in his best leather and Kevlar chest protector. His crew encircles the engine with a Kevlar strap securing the engine just in case something unexpected happens. Prior to this, every single minuscule thing on the bike is covered with a fine-toothed comb by his first-rate crew. And that is exactly what happened this past weekend at US 131 Motorsports Park, AMRA Michigan Nationals Race & Rally.
In the first round of qualifying, Dennis did not qualify because he hit the cones at the end of the track. What? You might ask. Well, if you don’t know, you cannot steer these beasts of a machine. You guide them and hope that after you have popped that initial wheelie, you come back down on the track with the front wheel straight. That might have been the cause of hitting the last two cones on the track.
Now, you might not think hitting cones with a fireproof leather boot would necessarily hurt, but not only did it hurt, Dennis had a couple of purple toes. That’s because he was going down the track like a rocket! The two different boots that Dennis wears on each foot protect him from the engine and nitro heat, not from foam cones. Go figure. So, unfortunately, he did not qualify his first round. However, he refocused and Q2 he qualified at 6.9 and was #3 qualifier overall. He then stayed focused on the #1 spot, which he got! His Q3 placed him #1 qualifier with 6.81 and 201 mph.
This might have put Dennis at ease for the night, but in reality, he knew he was up against some great competitors the next day. He was top qualifier and he had a good run. Now, crew chief, Steve Vickers, continued his razor focus work on tuning and making a couple minor adjustments.
On Sunday, Dennis “The Nitro Menace” completed round 1 and got the win! He then went into the finals facing off against “The Preacher,” Rich Vreeland. Although Dennis had it at the 60’ mark, the tire spun and he took 2nd place. Although he said, he was, “disappointed,” Dennis “The Nitro Menace” Fisher will be back to race August 25-26 at the AMRA Liberty Nitro Nationals at Numidia Dragway in Numidia, PA.
A bit about the bike and Dennis’ crew chief who he claims is best in the land: Dennis’ NFB was originally built in 2011 for ASB Racing in Canada. Billy Jackson purchased the bike in 2014 to race Top Fuel. Dennis later bought the bike at the end of the 2016 season. He chose to stay with the original builder, Steve Vickers, of Hawaya Racing in Millers Creek, North Carolina to tune and to be his Crew Chief. This has been his ace in the hole.
Dennis’s NFB is a Weekend chassis, purchased through and completed at Hawaya Racing. The engine is a 150 cubic inch, Derringer CL by Hawaya Racing. The 150 cubic inch is to comply with the AMRA NFB rules which also dictate high gear only (no transmission), and a maximum rear tire width of 13”. These bikes are mechanical fuel injection and use a 2 stage centrifugal clutch. This bike is capable of 210+ mph, in 6.5 seconds.
Now, about Steve. Not only did Steve build and tune the bike from conception, he continues to tune Billy Jackson’s Top Fuel bike after he sold this NFB to Dennis. To Steve’s credit, he won the 2017 ADRL Top Fuel Championship with Billy and the 2017 AMRA Nitro Funny Bike Championship with Dennis. This team works well together and they are sticking to what works. Steve is a certified Power Commander Tuner for Harley Davidson street bikes, has been crew chief for seven years, graduated from MMI (Motorcycle Mechanics Institute) and is the manager at Hawaya Racing. If that’s not enough, he builds high-performance engines and dyno tunes them. He designs and programs parts for race bikes, and makes them on his in-house CNC machine. As a whole, Hawaya Racing has won, and or tuned, for many National Championships, and National and World Records.
Now that is a great team! Ride on, gentlemen…
Lu Ann Topovski