Top Fuel Motorcycle

Top Fuel Motorcycle 1000’ Drag Racing: When is now?

Elmer Trett Yellow Top Fuel Motorcycle
Comments (30)
  1. Marcus Möller says:

    Im not a pilot myself, im”just” a hardcore-fan from my childhood.

    One “problem” i see with decrease the distance..noone can ever beat the quartermile speed and E.T-records im conservative and i dont like that!

    But, safety first and this is the best way make our sport more safe.

    I think its more importnant to make sure the surface around the track is smooth.

    Regards from Sweden

  2. Bill Huseth says:

    Top Fuel Bike is simply a more dangerous class than the cars because there’s no roll bar or safety harness in the event of a crash. I want the riders to be safe, but I also want the sheer visceral thrill of quarter-mile action with the front wheel in the air. If the riders are willing to band together and demand 1000-foot racing, then I’ll still (grudgingly) watch, but I VASTLY prefer 1320 feet!

    Bill Huseth
    Top Fuel Bike fan

  3. David says:

    absolutely do it now before we lose another great racer,how sweet would it be to go to the track and still see Elmer.

    1. Tom McCarthy says:

      David, I can’t begin to tell you what it would mean to Motorcycle drag racing today if Elmer were still around. We must take steps in advance to prevent this from ever happening again.

      1. Ian King says:

        I think it is wrong to link this `proposal’ to our loss of Elmer (and in dubious ethic). It is NOT a proven fact that it was due to specific high speed or length of track…

        1. Peter Villacaro says:

          Well said Ian.

  4. Red Roberts says:

    1000′ isn’t short enough… Standardize the entire sport at 1/8th mile. Spectators can see both ends of the race instead of having to pick which end to be at. Racers get everything on an 1/8th mile pass that they do on a 1/4 mile pass except the wear on parts and the danger.. I’m fond of telling folks that if their car runs 120 in a 1/4 mile that they’ll get real close to 100 on an 1/8th – I suppose for top fuel bikes that translates into a 240 mph bike doing close to 200… There’s a real good chance that the sport would expand as racers realize that their costs per pass would go down.. On the race track’s side – a 1/4 mile track ain’t twice as much work as an 1/8th mile = it’s 4 times the trouble (motors bust at 1/8th mile and scatter oil the last 1/8th mile) and a 60′ wide 1/4 mile track takes 3 times as much traction compound as a 40′ wide 1/8th mile dragstrip for traction to be equal between them – and for 1/8th of a mile a 40′ wide track is adequate..

  5. Jim Mayo says:

    Interesting subject, When they went to 1000′ in NHRA I was apposed until I gave it a lot of thought…. They will attain same speeds in the 1000 ft quickly as with any change that has been made in past. But as I get older and clear thinking shows me that safety and > saving parts, Is a reality. I was viewing a old tape the other day of top fuel bikes racing on 1/8 mi. tracks… was still quite impressive, Larry Ring, Pete Hill, Mike Romine and many others, still raced for the “race” not the size of the track. I tell people all the time that my bike reaches it’s quickest time/speed in the 660′ mark 80% and the rest 20% of the speed and time is spent in the last 660. what is the gain? In the top end you got to stop the bike. we have all seen some strange things happen after 660… ever watch a vicious tank slap event? looking for the opponent, only to find him in your lane? the list goes on and on. But even Mr. Hogan said in an interview the biggest issues today are stopping. Red makes a good point, besides my wallet can use a break. Save the parts,

  6. Dave Sebastian says:

    I agree with Red Roberts ( hi Red ) I like the 1/8 mile strips. I watched Tommy Grimes hit just under 200mph at Farmington Dragway this past summer,,on his nitro Harley. It was a hoot to watch.

  7. Curtis Griggs says:

    I like 1/8 mile racing, it would B OK with me if all of drag racing motorcycle and cars in every class were 1/8 mile or 1000′

  8. Ian King says:

    I’m sure my fellow class riders join me in welcoming the concern shared in the article, but few (if any) want anything other than 1/4 mile racing. What should be considered is that the quickest and fastest class in motorcycle dragracing should not be run on tracks that are unsuitable for such machines, particularly if the shutdown area is too short.

    1. Tom McCarthy says:

      Ian, Sir thank you for voicing your comments here, I value that highly. I agree in on both counts that no one “wants” anything less than full throttle 1320 of racing, but depending on many factors, I feel it is time to discuss all options. And that we are doing so can only help the sport.

  9. Kelly Trett Thomason says:

    I personally think it should be left up the the men that run these machines. Not a bunch of people sitting around a table making up rules. Who best knows these machines than those riding and building them? They know the capabilities, the stopping abilities and such. Being around them ALL MY LIFE, and rulebooks being wrote off of our bikes, I do believe that in this case this is something that the Top Fuel Riders need to decide as a whole/class, and let the majority rule. It also maybe something that can change track to track due to shutdown and length of the track.

    1. Tom McCarthy says:

      Kelly I believe in your final sentence, you may have hit the nail right on the head.

  10. Tom McCarthy says:

    I value each and every comment by every person who takes time out of their day to voice his or her opinion.
    In my mind, speaking for myself here, the time is now to start looking at this topic and openly discussing it here as we all are. As you can see by my story, I took the time to exchange with the Top Fuel bike drivers and they have voiced their comments here for all to see. Few are opposed to open discussion.

    1. Ian King says:

      Hi Tom, I disagree that the riders agreed to `open’ discussion. In general they prefer 1320 but a minority are willing to consider 1000, that is not the same as agreeing to having this discussion publicly.

  11. Kelly Trett Thomason says:

    Most people do not recognize the speeds and et’s in the 1/8th mile. You need to take that into consideration as well. I mean to be honest. When I use to tell people Daddy held the record in the 1/8 mile with bla bla bla they would look at me with a blank face. People do not understand this. Especially if this is a 1/4 track and TF is only running 1/8 mile. Now I know this is a safety issue, don’t get me wrong. We want our racers safe first and for most, BUT, YOU WANT A CROWD! You want spectators! You want people in the stands and high MPH low ET is what brings them in and packs the stands correct??? OK.. There are a lot of factors to look at here…

    1. Robert Zorn says:

      Yes Kelly You are right! I have spent many days at a 1/8 mile track because this is what i have and liked it. I like the top end 1/4 mile track But!IHRA has been my home for years We as independent racers.

  12. I feel the Biggest safety feature I have fitted to my bike was My CHUTE Thanks Jay Upton and Thanks Sam Well’s for bringing “The Chute To Top Bikes”But the placement of the activation is also Very Important I have a toggle switch below my left handgrip so my right finger on my left hand can hover over the switch from a 1/3 track on-woulds gets ugly close your finger Chute is out pulling you straight YOU DONT HAVE TO USE IT but it is there.
    The Flying KIWI

  13. wild Bill says:

    Motor sprinting .
    1,000 ft. is your.future

    mph is a tuning tool replaced by onboard
    data retrieval.
    660 ft as needed

  14. Roy Strawn says:

    When NHRA cut the Nitro Machines to 1000′, many complained, many approved..Today, no one can really tell the difference Except the Drivers/Riders..Always Think Safety FIRST…Racing in the Nitro Cars is just as exciting as ever, and performance has increased (Racers are like that). More stopping distance/Time Will Save Lives, even with the long overdue advent of Chutes on Bikes..At speeds over 200-240, The World Changes. Ask the Guys (& Gals) who run the LSR Tracks. Might even make more Riders more competitive..SAFETY ALWAYS FIRST!!!!

  15. Jon Baugh says:

    I SO appreciate the tradition almost “sacred” nature of the 1/4 mile length. I get it..BUT, I really believe that for the longevity and growth of the sport, 1000ft racing needs to be seriously looked at. In my view there are many UP sides to this on a practical level. My first argument is what Drag racing is by definition.. An ACCELERATION CONTEST,NOT a top speed contest…The astonishing top speeds T/F bikes are going, I really believe that with out some Professional, real wind tunnel testing on these bikes, that they are close to a VERY dangerous limit right now, and that testing is VERY,VERY expensive. I would also think that a professional who campaigns on a National level, would SAVE MONEY …running 320ft less every pass, less fuel, less wear and tear…etc. It would make a difference, and I REALLY believe that the quality of the show would be just as good if not better. I certainly do not think NHRA T/F and F/C racing has suffered from a fans viewpoint since the 1000 ft racing began. And make NO mistake, the more asses in the seats, the longer everyone will be Drag Racing. So my point is, to be around longer, we have to be shorter…..Just my opinion….

  16. Greg Pollard says:

    Never having ridden a Top Fuel bike my comments are from the perspective of an owner/crew chief only. Like the majority of people commenting I am a strong supporter of 1320′ racing and would be dissappointed if there was a blanket decision to move to a shorter distance, especially 1/8 mile. I agree with comment made by Ian King that these bikes should only run on tracks with adequate shutdown length to stop them safely. In the short term any decision to shorten a race can be made on a track by track basis depending on shutdown length, weather etc. I also agree with comments that any decision to change T/F racing should be made by people with a direct stake in the sport (riders, owners, crew chiefs etc). Having said that I think what is really needed in T/F right now is some overall organization & direction to grow & monitor the class. I would like to see a governing committee put in place that is made up of owners, riders etc(ideally one body worldwide but more realistically 3 committee’s, N America, Europe & Australia) that could work together to move the class forward. Today’s technology makes this possible without the need for many face to face meetings etc. Committee items could include,

    – review & recommend safety improvements for T/F, examples; parachutes & fairings that deflect wind off the rider etc should be made manditory as soon as they are proven.
    – implement a consistent licensing process for all new riders including medical clearance riders are not making full passes before they are ready.
    – create and recommend a track rating system for T/F such as A tracks – 1320′, B tracks 1000′, C tracks 660′.
    – In the longer term make educated recommendations about the need to move to 1000′ or 660′ racing.

    Ultimately the class would be better and safer with knowledgeable people reviewing these issues.

    1. Peter Villacaro says:

      The term “safety” used in the same sentence with racing of any type is a complete illusion, to think Top Fuel can be made “safe” is a complete fantasy.
      Shortening the course for the cars has proven the tuners will “shorten the fuse” to match and with that another fantasy of “saving money” racing in an essentially unlimited class.

    2. Tom McCarthy says:

      I fully endorse this and hope this open discussion moves this forward.

      1. George Fraser says:

        I really like what Greg had to say Tom about the track rating system and think it’s an awesome idea that the men and women who are part of the sport might want to take a look at.

    3. Ian King says:

      Hi Greg,
      as already discussed I agree with your comments, and in fact we already operate something similar to what you describe In Europe.
      I am current representative for the European Top Fuel Bike Association (ETFBA) and it is open to all riders and owners (if they are not the riders) in Europe of all non twin 4 Cylinder Nitro machines (blown or injected). It is a non profit and non fee charging organisation.

      Within the items you mention as Committee responsible, the licensing one is quite interesting. In EU we have a much more rigorous licensing structure than in NA. For a UK rider to apply for a National Drag Race license they must have a medical `tick’ report signed by their own GP (Doctor) and Optician and also sign their own approval and acceptance of fit for race. If you are 50 yrs or older then you must have a full medical with stress ECG tests every three years. Before running any new bike for a full ¼ they have to prove competence by performing a number of individual actions to the satisfaction of a licensed official namely burnout, launch, 60 ft, 1/8th mile and then a number of ¼ mile passes before they are granted a full license.

      A year after having been granted this National license they can apply for an International License (to race in the FIM European Championship). For this license you must have an annual full medical. You also have to get permission for any races outside of your home country that is granted by way of an insurance policy that benefits rider air repatriation to their home country from anywhere in the world should they be injured in a race. It also affords money for loss of eye (s) and limbs etc.

  17. George Fraser says:

    Not being a pilot myself and not having been over 130 mph in the 1320,I don’t really feel qualified commenting on piloting a tkp fuel bike,I will say that I think like Greg said a track rating system would be a great idea in my humble opinion and think it’s something those who are most involved in the sport should be the ones who have the say as to where this all goes.Personally I’m a huge fan of the sport and the 1320.

  18. Kenup283 says:

    There’s nothing real safe about any of it. Tracks which lack sufficient shut down should be run 1/8 mile and not used to restrict the sport in general just because its “historic” venue or near high market area. When you think about those particular places there’s really not much to be gained in 320 ft when youre already doing 200 mph by the half way point ie. over 300 feet per second.

  19. Robert Chw says:

    Racers are inovative. Loosen up the rules in areas that promote stopping. Look at the advancements addressing speed. Maybe require cars to stop in a specified distance instead of reducing distance raced. Doing this would get more sponsors due to new products needed. Quit thinking the current cars and bikes are all there are, racing constantly evolves.

Leave a Reply