After a season of controversy following the inclusion of turbo-charged dragbikes into the PDRA’s Pro Extreme Motorcycle class, the category will return to nitrous only in 2019.
PDRA President Bob Harris says the change is due to popular demand.
“I feel bad about it because I was the biggest supporter of bringing the turbos in,” Harris said. “At the end of the day we had no choice due to the feedback we received. I did not want to see motorcycles go away in the PDRA and that is what nearly happened.”
Harris says the PDRA issued a survey to every racer who participated in the class over the past three seasons. The feedback was nearly unanimous with the overwhelming majority of nitrous racers voting the turbos out. Some threatened to not run the class if both combinations were allowed.
“We can’t afford to run half our class off or we won’t have a class. We don’t have 35 bikes,” Harris said. “There were a couple of nitrous guys who said they could deal with the turbos. I think those were the teams that were considering building a turbo bike themselves. Several said if the turbos run at all they would not support it.”
Harris said it may not be the end of turbo motorcycles in the PDRA, as he hopes to include them in a separate class if racer interest and sponsor money becomes available. However nothing is officially scheduled for next season.
“We don’t have the money to do two classes right now but we are not ruling it out,” Harris said. “I would like to have some exhibition races if we could get four to eight bikes. We don’t need 16.”
Another change due to popular demand is eliminating two races for the class, Galot and Dragway 42, to make a more economical six-race championship series. The change will allow racers to also follow the Man Cup series.
“We didn’t want the conflict,” Harris said.
With another full-championship payout in PXM, Harris hopes 2019 will see much higher bike counts.
“I think we have a lot of people on our side with these changes,” Harris said. “My goal is to get 16 or more bikes at every race. I’d like to see 20 or so. That way you have to qualify to make the field.”
The turbo ban was greatly fueled by the immediate success of the state-of-the-art Terry Schweigert ridden, Dan Wagner, Timblin Chassis bike with DME and Maxx ECU technology.You can read more about the impressive build here
Wagner admittedly used the bike to force changes, backing up his argument that the turbos make much more power and have an advantage. Wagner’s team is now more focused on running the first turbo five-second pass after Schweigert’s record-setting 6.19 at the Man Cup Finals.
Williford Racing’s Ehren Litten takes the hardest hit, having built his bike with the sole purpose of running PDRA PXM. Litten won one PDRA event in 2018.
Harris says having to restrict the turbos to maintain parity is not a viable option.
“I don’t want to bring turbos to the racetrack and have to put throttle stops on them or restrict them,” Harris said. “Nobody should have to slow their vehicle down in heads up racing.”