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Tuesday 21 November 2023

AMRA and AHDRA/AMA Jim McClure All-Harley World Finals

32nd Annual Jim McClure Memorial All-Harley World Finals 

This report was prepared by Tim Hailey. Enjoy everything there is to read, see and watch about motorcycle drag racing and more at

Presented by MTC Engineering, the PennGrade1 AMRA and AHDRA/AMA Jim McClure All-Harley World Finals at Rockingham Dragway, North Carolina, USA, (October 27-29, 2023) delivered a fitting memorial to "Da Judge"…

Rockingham Dragway's Jim McClure All-Harley World Finals presented by MTC Engineering and Law Tigers of North Carolina was - by the estimation of everyone who was there - the biggest Harley-Davidson drag race in decades. 

Ryan Peery

Whether you're counting bikes, entries, records, spectators, impact on the local economy - this event added up. The championship finale for both the PennGrade1 AMRA and AHDRA/AMA motorcycle drag racing series showed that American V-Twin drag racing sport and the enthusiastic scene it generates is alive and growing - something that would make the late Jim "Da Judge" McClure beam his legendary smile.

'an incredible 40 nitro bikes'

The event featured an incredible 40 nitro bikes "putting fire in the hole and taking the tree." Nitro V-Twin racing is literally and figuratively blowing up.

Defending AMRA Top Fuel champ Ryan Peery qualified number one at 'The Rock' with a 6.39 at 217 miles per hour. Spring AHDRA Rockingham race winner Tim Kerrigan was second with a 6.42 at 213, and defending AHDRA champion Tracy Kile was third with a 6.44 at only 188! 

The Top Fuel eliminations were a brutal slug match. Kile was spun and done in E1 against multi-time NHRA champ Tii Tharpe on his Spevco Jay Turner Racing bike. Kerrigan slipped past Tharpe's teammate John "JT" Toth and Jordan Peterson raced past Ricky "Sharkey" House. Peery's opponent broke in the waterbox and then Ryan's bike broke abruptly at launch - and the top qualifier was done for the day.

Armon Furr

Jordan Peterson

"The rods had enough and said 'I'm outta here!'" reported Peery. "Luckily they lasted just long enough to get the round win and lock up the championship." Actually, both AHDRA and AMRA championships.

Peterson and his Romine Brothers built-and-tuned, Steve Horne-owned, beautiful former Doug Vancil bike was on an improvement arc on raceday, running a 6.46 at 208 in the semifinal alongside a lane left vacant by Peery's no-show in the semi. That left him with lane choice against Tharpe in the final after Tii's 6.47 at 205 beat Kerrigan.

The JTR team had Tharpe's bike fully loaded for the final and the Spevco boss ran a 6.39 at 215. But that .159 light though ... Tii gave up .121 to Peterson at the tree and came up .004 short of catching the red and black bike he fought with in the NHRA wars a few years ago. It was second generation Nitro Harley drag racer Peterson's first Top Fuel win.

North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Famer Jay Turner is the one the locals all come to see, but Turner focused on his role as team manager and trying to solve the riddle of his massively powerful ProCharged Top Fuel bike.

Sam White

Jonny Ard

Nitro Funnybike also saw a second-generation Nitro Harley drag racer take the win. Armon Furr is the son of the legendary South Carolina racer Bill Furr, and the family magic came through. 

'Peery takes AHDRA and AMRA championships'

Peery was also the number one qualifier in Nitro Funnybike with a 6.59 at 210. But Peery slowed in the semis and defending AMRA champion Jim Doyle got around him to meet Furr in the final. 

Furr came to the line with lane choice, but Doyle's consistency outran him. Again, the tree was the story as that redeye back at the starting line in Doyle's lane signaled the -.010 foul that cost him the race. Peery secured the AMRA championship.

Veteran racer Sam White scored a sweep in Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel, qualifying number one, winning the race, and the championship in both series. White and final round opponent Rocky Jackson left the line within 1/1000ths of each other, with White legging it out with a 7.31 at 170 against Rocky's 7.57 at 169.

GMS Racing Engines Outlaw Street saw a heated, record-shattering battle amongst these gasoline and power-adder no-bar badasses. Andy Simon Sr. started the assault with a 7.64 at 188.36 on his turbo Bagger in testing. Gregg Dahl pushed the bar way farther with a 7.57 on his nitrous-huffer to lead qualifying. But it was Dahl's teammate Mike Motto who won the race and the AHDRA championship with a .009 light and 7.80 lap in the final against Dahl, who shredded his drive belt at the 330.

Mike Motto

Brian Conley

Zipper's Performance Pro Bagger saw Indiana's Jeremy Williamson run the class's first 7 second pass with a 7.98 at 172 in qualifying on his sleek turbo Bagger. But Williamson redlit in E2. Number two qualifier Rick Hunnicutt took his semifinal but broke in the process. That left number five qualifier Scott Tomsu as the last man standing for the unopposed win.

Tomsu runner-upped to Bowling Green winner Jimmy Mailkranz in Thundermax Street Bagger. Mailkranz qualified number one with a 9.33 at 145 and won the final despite giving up .106 to Tomsu at the tree. His 9.42 at 142 was able to drive around Tomsu's 9.86 at 135.

Brian Conley Jr. and the iconic "JT's Auto" bike continued their domination of Hot Street, winning the class for at least the second straight year. Conley qualified number one with a 9.09 at 146 and took a very good final round race against veteran racer Joe Perry. Brian took the tree by .057 and ran a 9.14 vs. Perry's 9.17.

Zippers Performance Pro Modified boiled down to the reigning champions of the two series - AMRA's Billy Doherty and AHDRA's John Price. Billy Doherty qualified number one and Price number two. And that's how it went in the final, too, with Doherty taking the tree .124 to .296, and the stripe 9.49 to 8.70.

Pingel/Axtell Cylinders Modified went to number one qualifier (9.18 at 143) Gary Douglass. He and runner-up Casey Smith both had great reaction times, with Gary an .013 and Casey .018. Gary's 9.26 kept him out in front of Smith's 9.32.

Billy Doherty

Gary Douglass

The Benchmark Excavating Top Eliminator 9.30 final was a battle between Harley index titans - last year's winner David Doremus vs. number one qualifier Ken Strauss. Strauss punched first with a .030 light to Doremus' .057. Strauss somehow let that advantage slip away and lost a double breakout, 9.29 to 9.27 finish. 

Strauss then played out his revenge on multi-time champ Donnie Huffman in the Vreeland's Harley-Davidson Super Gas 9.90 final. Only .003 separated these two index studs at the tree and Strauss ran closer to the number with a 9.97 to Huffman's 10.12. Number one qualifier Kash Laughman lost in round one.

Number one qualifier Joe Petersen beat John Shotts in the BK Electric Super Pro 10.30 final, gaining a scant .004 advantage at the tree, but still pushing Shotts to break out with a 10.28. 

Universal Fleet & Tire Pro Eliminator 10.90 boiled down to a 'battle of the Larrys' - Maynhart vs. Stevens. Stevens took the tree by .010, but Maynhart ran .020 closer to the index to take the win on his V-Rod Destroyer. Number one qualifier Willie George lost in round four.

Terry Mason took the tree by .012 and went dead-on with a 1 to take the Thundermax Street Eliminator 11.50 final over Loren Potter, who broke out. Number one qualifier Racin' Ray Robinson lost to Mason in round 3.

Law Tigers Eliminator came down to a battle of 13 second Harleys, with Talon Harper taking the final over Calloway Ledford. Neither rider set the tree on fire, but Harper's .282 had the advantage on Ledford's .313. Harper ran a 13.52 on his 13.28 dial-in, while Ledford was 13.71/13.35. 

Harper's son Blake won Junior Junior Dragbikes and Damian Patino won Junior Senior, both at the expense of the Hines brothers in the finals.

Jon "Jonny Flattop" Ard won Saturday's Trophy class final with an .030 light and 11.25 on his 11.12 dial. Runner-up Sean Clarke was .142 at the tree and posted an 11.27 on his 11.15 dial.

And that's a wrap for 2023. AMRA's Greg Baugh and John "JT" Toth and AHDRA's Bill and Chrissy Rowe wish everyone a safe and happy off-season and look forward to welcoming the whole, growing Harley-Davidson drag racing family back to the track in '24.

AHDRA and AMRA thank Vreeland's Harley-Davidson, PennGrade1 Oil, MTC Engineering, Hawaya Racing, Pingel Enterprise, GMS Racing Engines, Zipper's Performance, Axtell Cylinders, Horsepower Inc., Vanson Leathers, Universal Fleet & Tire, V-Twin Powersports, Daryl Coffin Motorsports, BK Electric and Thunder Max.