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Tuesday 4 May 2021

AHDRA All-American motorcycle drag racing series

AHDRA Opens at the Closing of Atlanta Dragway

By Tim Hailey,

The AHDRA All-American motorcycle drag racing series gave Atlanta Dragway a flaming, thundering, nitro Harley send-off as the AHDRA opened its 2021 campaign at the soon-to-be-razed Commerce, Georgia speed facility on April 17-18.


TKR & Associates Top Fuel Harley
The biggest thunder in Georgia was brewed up by the big nitro V-twins of the TKR & Associates Top Fuel Class. Ryan Peery's quickness nailed down number one Top Fuel qualifier on Saturday, and remarkable consistency carried him all the way to the final on Sunday. "We were the quickest on qualifying day, which paid off and gave us a bye run in the first round," said Peery - his 6.55 was third quickest of the round.

Jay Turner's path to the final included low ET (6.412) and high MPH (224.28), but The Bulldog chewed up a cam in the semi and couldn't make the final against Peery - guaranteeing Ryan the win.
"We weren't the quickest on elimination day, but we ran consistent, and consistent passes will win races," said Peery. Peery had the opportunity to ease up or go for broke in the final, and broke is what happened. "We still wanted to put on a good show for the fans, so we left a good tune-up in it, but unfortunately we ended up torching the front head (at about half track) on our finals pass. All in all, it was a great weekend. The last TFH race at Atlanta became my first ever TFH win."

Hawaya Racing Nitro Funnybike
Red Rhea's bike took the Hawaya Racing Nitro Funnybike win with brand new rider Mike Baulch aboard. Number one qualifier Armon Furr "Just got beat," according to Furr, when he met Baulch in the final.

"It was absolutely perfect," Baulch said about his first win. "I just kept the throttle open and stayed in it. The tune-up Red put together gave me the ability to look good with a poor (.256) reaction time. That win belongs to Red."

Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel
Preston "President" Bartlett started his Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel championship defense with a win in a stout seven bike field for the carbureted nitro class, but his name wasn't at the top of the charts until the final round win. 

Kirby Apathy qualified number one with a 7.32, but "experienced a catastrophic mechanical failure in the semis" against Bartlett, who beat champion Rocky Jackson in round 1.
Preston faced steady Jim Martin in the final, where Martin's back tire kicked towards the wall at about 150 feet. Jim was forced to back out and Preston - already with a .120 advantage at the tree - ran his best of the weekend (7.391) for the win.
"It was a tough weekend," reported Bartlett. "We hurt the motor during the third qualifier, so we scrambled till 2:00 in the morning, then stopped 'cause everybody was tired. We finished up in the morning, then went one round at a time."

GMS Racing Pro Open
Last year's Extreme Gas and Outlaw Street are now the GMS Racing Pro Open. Mike Motto won both of those last year and started this one-off with a win in the new class. But before Sunday's win came perhaps Motto's biggest win of the weekend - a match with Richard Gadson, who was on hand to make laps on Mike Beland's turbocharged Meth Beth bagger.
"We made some new changes for this year," said Motto. "We needed some runs to test, so we got down to business. We were not sure what the bike would run with the new changes, but we were hoping for 7.60s at 175-180 mph. The bike ran great, but fell a little short of the numbers we expected."

Then came the race with Gadson - a huge rivalry between Mottos' builder GMS and Beland's A1. "It was a great race!" said Motto. Gadson was on hand specifically to try for a 7 second pass on the Beland bagger, and the "race" happened in round 2 of qualifying. "It was a race?" Gadson asked later.
"There were people side-betting on the sidelines everywhere," remembered Motto. "A lot of people bouncing around and pointing when we pulled up to stage. I assume they were betting, but I was in my zone, so no telling what else was going on around me!"
Motto left like it was a race, with an .070, while Gadson left like he was focusing on laying down a perfect pass, with a .173. After that it was all turbo pumping and nitrous spraying (or would have been...turns out Motto's solenoid was broke) to the stripe. "I beat him with an 8.12 to his 8.18 in a very close race!" said Motto, who noted that his bike ran 7.92 at 169 last year.
"He treed me and beat the snot out of me, that's for sure," agreed Gadson. "A good old ass-kicking." I'm pretty excited to be able to line up next to a legend like Gadson and pull off a win," said Motto. "GMS power, baby!" That "Grudge" win held up for number one qualifier for Motto, who went on to handily beat Kevin Campbell for the win in the final.  

Zippers' Performance Pro Modified
Shane Pendergrast swept Zippers' Performance Pro Modified, qualifying number one, setting low ET (8.546) and high MPH (158.99) and winning the final against George Futch III. "I Just want to thank the AHDRA for a good event and my sponsors Hotshotz, SA Racing and Pope's Automotive." Pendergrast also thanked this author "for taking the time to write something for us."

Pingel Modified
Jeff Workman is another defending champion who opened the season with a win - in this case, the Pingel Modified class. Workman had to beat number one qualifier Gary Douglass in the final, and it took low ET (9.376) to do the job after Douglass halved Workman's reaction time (.046 to .092).

"It was some very close racing all weekend long," said Jeff. "I know it would be a very difficult task to keep my belt, but I pulled it off! "I'd like to thank AHDRA and Bill Rowe for a great event, Atlanta Dragway for hosting it, POWERMIST racing fuel, REBEL GEARS, DBR fabrication, family and friends for helping me along the way. Fantastic weekend of racing."

Horsepower Inc. Hot Street
Gary Douglass may have lost the Pingel Modified final, but his son Charley sealed the deal in Horsepower Inc. Hot Street. Charley's .030 light set the stage for the 9.68 to 9.87 win over number one qualifier and defending champion Scott Shenckel.

"First round of qualifying was my first time riding this year," said Charley. "It was ugly for sure. We have to foot shift these bikes in Horsepower Inc. Hot Street, and I didn't get a clean pass in qualifying. Sunday during eliminations I felt much more at one with my bike. I won the semi-final with a 9.84 and went on to win the finals with a 9.680."
"Energy One clutches has been a long-time supporter of Douglass Racing. Lynchburg H-D and Vreelands H-D both also helped with discounts on parts, a thank you goes out to them."

Law Tigers Pro Bagger
In addition to Gadson, there was another Suzuki Pro Street racer sending a bagger in Atlanta. Victor Gotay picked up a last minute ride and swept Law Tigers Pro Bagger - qualifying number one, setting low ET (9.423) and high MPH (144.38) and then winning the final round against redlighting (-.010) Orlando Williams of Street Kings.

Vreeland's Harley-Davidson 9.90
Brad Reiss Jr. won a stirring Vreeland's Harley-Davidson 9.90 final against Crosby Blair. Both bikes ran identical 9.952s, but the winning difference came at the tree with Brad's .094 light obliterating Blair's .171. Vance Houdyshell qualified number one with a perfect 9.90 but lost a double breakout quarterfinal to Blair.\

Universal Fleet & Tire 10.90
Reiss followed up his Vreeland's 9.90 success with a Universal Fleet & Tire 10.90 win. Brad caught a little bit of a break when double defending champion, final round opponent, Kevin Winters took the tree by .011 but still broke out by .012. Reiss' 10.904 lit the winlight. Number one qualifier Jason Leeper lost early with a .197 reaction time.

10.30 index and T-Man Performance Bagger Eliminator
Reiss wasn't the only double winner on Sunday, as Scott Tomsu won 10.30 index and T-Man Performance Bagger Eliminator.

"Wow, what a great weekend at the AHDRA Georgia Peach Nationals," said Tomsu. "We won two classes, but I am pumped about the Super Pro 10.30 win. That is the closest side-by-side racing I have ever been a part of. Also, I was the only bagger in class, I had no electronics (2-step, delay boxes or air-shifter), and no wheelie bar. The racers in that class are very experienced as well, so every round was tough."
Especially Tomsu's 10.30 final round opponent - 9.70 number one plateholder John Shotts. Tomsu took the tree by a full .102 against wheelie bar racer Shotts in a double breakout race. Vance Houdyshell qualified number one with a near-perfect 10.302 and lost to Shotts in the quarterfinals.
Tomsu won Bagger Eliminator when final round opponent Brett Carlisle redlit. "Dragbag also went 141 mph! I believe that is the fastest of any naturally aspirated Harley-Davidson with stock cases EVER! Just more proof that has the best pistons, rods, drop-on kits currently on market."
The next AHDRA round will be at Cecil County Dragway on May 21-23 in Rising Sun, Maryland.