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As we launch into the New Year, the 2017 season for motorcycle drag racing looks great from where I sit. The Man Cup sanction has five races, IDBL has five, ADRL for Nitro Harleys has eight races as of this writing, NHRDO has six races slated, AMRA has eight races maybe, and the NHRA will have some events for Top Fuel Harley, but that’s some kind of state secret at the moment for whatever reason. The bottom line is, no matter what class a racer competes, in 2017 there are enough events nationwide for drag bike racers no matter what state they reside in.
Some racers have asked me the question, “Will we ever see the days of motorcycle drag racing again when there was a coast to coast “All Motorcycle” series like in the AMDRA, DRAGBIKE! or NMRA days? Sadly, I respond to that: I doubt it. Not without the support of the Big Four. I see two predominant reasons for this.
Back in the days of the NMRA, the National Motorcycle Racing Association, when Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki were hungry and motivated to overcome Harley-Davidson in selling motorcycles, they were more open to marketing sponsorship packages that befriended motorcycle drag racing. Now that they’ve carved out a healthy market share, I don’t know that they will ever invest in motorcycle drag racing again. This is very ironic, considering the Hayabusa versus ZX-14 rivalry, and how many motorcycles the two manufacturers have sold due to drag racing’s impact on their sales.
Perhaps a bigger reason it’s unlikely we will ever see a series like the NMRA or DRAGBIKE! again is the economics of the world we live in today. Let’s be realistic, going drag racing is something all motorcycle drag racers love to do, but it’s not a necessity, even though we think it is. It’s a life style choice and it requires disposable income to participate. How many people in 2017 really have large enough disposable incomes of thousands of dollars to tow rigs coast to coast for trophies and bragging rights? I think such potential sportsman participants, let alone professional class racers, are few and far between. Too few for a motorcycle drag racing sanction to make a profitable business out of that model.
However, regional racing has taken its place and that kind of racing is thriving. The Man Cup sanction by keeping its races in the southeastern corner of the United States has done well for the last six years. By keeping travel costs down for series racers and staying on quality race tracks, the Man Cup continues to thrive.