Stormy Start to 2017

Weather can play such an important part in racing events. In fact the start of this year’s motorcycle drag racing season was almost blown away by raging winds. On January 22, at just after 4 am, tornados began touching down in southern Georgia and one landed on parts of the South Georgia Motorsports Park complex causing damage to the facility. All of the luxury suites atop the concrete grandstands were lifted from their foundations and destroyed. The majority of the debris littered the stands, with the remainder coming to rest on the drag strip near the 330' mark.

Later the same morning, track manager Jimmy Owens reported on social media that while the media/luxury suites were wiped out, the track itself did not sustain significant damage that could not be overcome. There was a lot of clean up to be done, but the vital systems of the drag strip were intact.

It was a matter of two weeks of hard work, but on Friday, Feb. 3, the track was once again in full operation sending cars and bikes down the track in accordance with its normal Friday night operations.

Jimmy commented in a recent interview, "FEMA, Red Cross, as well as state and local agencies have been doing a lot to help out in this hard-hit area. The rebuilding process for those families that were in the path of the tornado is still on-going."

Proudly, as a good neighbor, South Georgia Motorsports Park has been doing its part in assisting local rebuilding efforts. "Helping Hands and FEMA used the SGMP south parking lot recently as a staging area for 400+ volunteers, it was the least we could do to assist our neighbors," commented Owens.

The Man Cup motorcycle drag racing sanction returns to this facility on April 7-8-9 to begin its 2017 racing season. The media center may be a rented trailer or a large tent, but as long as their 1320 can hold five-second Top Fuel bikes, all will go well.

In motorcycle drag racing sanction news, a much anticipated move by the National Hot Rod Association came to light on January 26 when the NHRA announced that the Top Fuel Harley motorcycles will compete as a championship points class within the, Mello Yello series of drag racing this season during eight national events.

Starting with the season opening race on February 9-12 at Pomona, California, the Top Fuel Harleys will take to the track during the Circle K Winternationals along with the Funny Cars and Top Fuel cars as part of the big show. While the class does not have a primary sponsor as of the season opening event, the National Hot Rod Association is still embracing the big bikes.

Josh Peterson, NHRA VP of Racing Administration stated in a press release, “These machines travel down the track at amazing speeds and are incredible to witness. They will be a welcome addition to the racing weekend.”

Pro Street Bikes to the front: Tyler Crossnoe of Southern Speed Productions, the point man for the Outlaw Street Car Reunion IV race announced on January 21 that Pro Street Bikes will be part of the race this year. Tyler stated, "I've seen the bikes on more than one occasion and I think they are a perfect fit with our show. We are really looking forward to them being with us this year."

Franklin Performance Concepts and Dunigan Racing stepped up to support this event and within weeks of Tyler's announcement, the purse for the P/St bikes was posted as $5K to win, $1K to R/U, and they hope to see all 16 slots filled on the competition ladder.

The Outlaw Street Car Reunion IV (OSCR) will be held March, 22-26 at Memphis International Raceway, in Millington, TN. The race will feature the savage Radial Vs the World cars with big names like Barry Mitchell and Kyle Huettel slated to attend. Other exciting classes being contested by the cars will feature fan favorites like X-275 cars and Ultra Street.

As for the Pro Street bikes, Williford Racing and Dunigan Racing were some of the first to jump in. Quicktime Motorsports, DME and Justin Doucet are some of the early entrants expected to be at the race. The OSCR event, only two weeks before the ManCup season opener, may effect the number of entries. Yet some teams will be eager to get in extra seat time. Their 16-bike ladder should be full on Sunday.