AHDRA/AMA brought their ground-pounding, Nitro Harley-Davidson motorcycle drag racing show to Milan Dragway on July 29-30 for the Second Annual Southern Michigan Bikefest and gave the Michigan fans some thunderous competition they won’t soon forget.
NHRA U.S. Nationals winner and 2021 AHDRA champion Ryan Peery ruled the class with his customary fist of consistent performances.
The final knockout punch was delivered against recent Kuhnle winner Jason Pridemore. Peery took the tree with an .032 to Pridemore’s .103, but Jason’s supercharged “Gunslinger” started laying down better numbers to the 60 foot, the 330, the eighth, and even 1000 feet. But it was there that Pridemore’s march slowed, his trap speed of 184.16 miles per hour a tick slower than his eighth mile velocity. Peery was going 214 and took the win against his fellow Ohio racer with a 6.45 to Jason’s 6.54.
One week after thrilling Milan fans at their Night of Fire, defending champion and 2022 Milan race winner Tracy Kile qualified second just one hundredth behind Peery, but fell to Pridemore in E1.
Peery’s fondest wish at the end of the weekend was to see more Top Fuel Harleys come out of their garages and show up at the track. “I enjoy competing, going rounds,” said Ryan. “I ran consistent and got the W. Great job by the track crew. We had some excellent short numbers, just needed some better air to get the ET’s a little lower. Special thanks to Jack Romine for coming over and lending a hand.
“As always I’ll be looking forward to the next one.”
Like Kile in Top Fuel, Michael Balch was the defending Milan winner and Nitro Funnybike champion. And also like Kile, Balch struggled this time around. So much so that first year nitro rider Cameron Gunter took number one qualifier on Saturday.
“We struggled with an electrical problem again this weekend, but my team never panicked, they just kept working,” said Balch. “They switched out the fuel pump, the BDK, and swapped out clutch lines. My guys give me everything they got week in and week out. I could not be more proud of my crew. They never miss a race, they gave me 150 percent and always believe in me.”
And that belief was well-placed on raceday, as Balch took the tree against Gunter by nearly three tenths. And that’s what delivered the win, as Balch’s still not completely sorted bike ran two tenths slower than Gunter on track for a holeshot victory.
“Cameron did a fantastic job riding his bike for team Bad Apple, but we were blessed enough to get the holeshot win,” continued Balch. “And man did we really need it.
“What a weekend. It sure felt good to park the Millennium Industrial Service/Team Autolite Nitro Funnybike in the winners circle.
“I gotta thank my great sponsors Millennium Industrial Services, Autolite, John Herman Insurance Services, Jim Christman, AOK Heating Air Conditioning and Electrical, Blocker Enterprise, Jeff Altemose, Corey Kerschner, GMS Racing Engines, JBR fences, Rob the Painter, Keystone Landscape and Supply, B.A.C.K. Blackflys, The Candleshoppe of the Poconos, Go Getters Handyman Services, and Creek Siding & Roofing Inc.
“I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate my crew: Steve Rominski, John Red Rhea, Eli and Erik Friend. Without them and my sponsors, this would not be possible. I love my guys.
“We will see you guys in Cecil County at the next race.”
HAWAYA RACING PRO FUEL
Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel champion Sam White started off the weekend with struggles of his own.
“We came into Milan a little anxious after last year’s disaster,” said White. That anxiety ratcheted upward when he got double-bulbed and timed out in Q1. “I made a mistake. First bulb was on and I realized that I was not lined up correctly. Straightened out and ran the pass anyway in order to get data on our machine. It felt good good and we estimated a 7.35 run.
“Second round had to cut the throttle because I was drifting into the wall. Third round I managed to stage correctly and let it rip. Led to a number one qualifying pass at 7.31 seconds.
“On raceday, after I realized that my (first round) opponent was not going to make the call we decided to break the beam in order to save the bike. Second pass of eliminations (a scheduled bye run) felt good at 7.27 seconds.”
That set up the final against recent Indy AMRA winner “Bad Apple Mary” Dangrow. Neither racer was exactly hot on the tree, with Mary’s .129 besting Sam’s .203. But from there on, White’s Hawaya Racing-built Terminator Too started making up ground and took the win with a 7.46 at 164 to Dangrow’s .66 at 163.
“We had a hiccup with tire shake but pulled it out at the end,” said White, who has won all four AHDRA races this year. “Hats off to BAM! Mary is a great rider and having a good year.
“Thanks to my White Lightning Racing Team—Johnny Vickers, Matt Coleman, and my wife April White. Special shout-out to Walter Halonski—he’s getting it done on the clutch grinding machine! Also glad to have Joe the Plumber in one more winner’s circle picture!”
GMS RACING ENGINES XTREME OUTLAW AND MTC PRO COMP OUTLAW BAGGER
AHDRA’s two nearly unlimited no-bar classes, GMS Racing Engines Xtreme Outlaw and MTC Pro Comp Outlaw Bagger, were combined at Milan and resulted in a Bagger vs. no-bags, all-turbo final.
Defending Milan winner Charley Douglass and his recently reassembled Outlaw took the win against Frank Wojcik’s Bagger, the number one qualifier.
“We fired my Outlaw bike around noon on Thursday after a complete engine rebuild, loaded the trailer and headed to Michigan,” reported Douglass. “I made two test passes on Friday and the bike never shifted out of first gear.
“Saturday during qualifying I finally managed to get it to shift into third gear. I put a fresh Energy One Clutches pack in it Saturday night and changed the MaxxECU tune.
“First round of eliminations I had a bye due to Mike Motto breaking, and my bike shut off on the starting line. I went back and made some adjustments and headed up for the final. The bike finally shifted all five gears and I won!
“I want to thank my dad for making a run for parts days before the race. I want to thank Andy Simon Sr. and Chad Hart for the pep talks and for being great friends. My sister Jody and nephew Jacob for all the trackside help. My loving wife for all of her support, she is my hero! Andy Simon Jr. helped with the tune, Energy One Clutches, Cp-Carrillo, xlxbhorsepower, Axtell Cylinders, R&D Machine, H-D of Lynchburg, SA racing, Line 2 Line Coating, Joe’s Parts, Advanced Sleeve, and R&D motorsports.
“I wore a purple bandana at Milan in memory of Steve Allstaedt, who passed a year ago. He wasn’t into bandanas, but he usually wore purple to the track.”
ZIPPER’S PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS PRO MODIFIED
John Price is having a helluva season of Zipper’s Performance Products Pro Modified racing, qualifying number one and taking the win at Milan. He beat Chris Hoppe in the final.
“Well, another win,” said Price. “But this one came with its share of work. I broke a shifter shaft In Q1 and became a slow roller. Made a quick repair for Q2. Same thing, coasted across the finishline. Tried one more thing and finally made a clean pass in Q3.
“I was hoping my temporary fix would hold up Sunday, and it did. Thank you Ryan Perry for offering to weld it if needed.
“I would like to thank Zippers Performance for sponsoring the class and for the help they give me. Thanks to GMS Racing and Mike Shultz at Harley-Davidson of Frederick Racing for their help. Thank you to Keith Carper and my brothers David and Steve for their help.
“Lastly a big thank you to Milan Dragway and Bill and Chrissy Rowe of the AHDRA for putting on the race. See you at Cecil County.”
AXTELL CYLINDERS SUPER MODIFIED
Kimberly “K-Charm” Deshields continued her Axtell Cylinders Super Modified mastery, besting number one qualifier Gary Douglass in the final.
“Since our last race, we lost one of most beloved team members, Earl Norden,” said Deshields. “This win means a lot to me. It was our first race without him. I miss him so much and would give anything for him to be back with us.
“Although, I swear he was riding on my shoulder during the last pass against Gary Douglass. Gary and Earl would always pretend to mess with each other’s bike in the staging lanes. I love our racing family.
“I’d like to thank the AHDRA for putting on another great event and Axtell, my class sponsor. Thanks to Ladies Only Schnitz Racing and Rebel Gears for your sponsorship, and thank you Tim Hailey, for writing these articles and for continuing to take awesome pictures.”
PINGEL MODIFIED AND 10.30 SUPER PRO
Nate Carnahan had a great weekend, winning both Pingel Modified and 10.30 index.
Nate beat Jeff Workman on a holeshot in a great round 1 Modified race, with his 9.84 beating Workman’s quicker-but-losing .82. He then earned the winners plaque when number one qualifier Dru Conner broke in the final.
“It was a good weekend, not an easy one,” said Carnahan. “I am slowly getting the Mod bike back on pace. I got lucky this weekend due to my competition having a few issues. I was able to knock four-tenths off from the first qualifying fun.
“There will be some tough competition at the next race as all of us in the class are getting the bikes back on track. Great racers and better friends in the class.
Carnahan stayed close to the 10.30 index to win the Super Pro final against national anthem chanteuse Heather Jendruch. “In Super Pro I took it one round at a time and managed to keep consistent on my reaction time and focused on my run.”
Perry Paugh qualified number one in 10.30 and lost in round 2.
“Had a great weekend with double wins,” finished Nate. “See everyone at Cecil.”
9.30 AND VREELAND’S HARLEY-DAVIDSON
No-bar racer Brad Reiss Jr. was also a double winner at Milan, winning 9.30 and Vreeland’s Harley-Davidson 9.90.
Number one qualifier Reiss’ .008 reaction time delivered Chris Hoppe his second runner-up of the day in the 9.30 final. Brad qualified number one in Vreeland’s Harley-Davidson 9.90 and put a wide .056 to .202 margin on Cody Hayworth in the final. “Both Chris and Cody are very tough competitors and both friends of mine. Both the 9.30 and 9:90 were wheel-to-wheel racing right to the finish.”
Both wins came on Reiss’ red bike. “Went to the semifinals in (two) classes on my blue bike,” added Brad. “I would have went to the finals on the blue bike in 10.30 class. I got out ahead of her (Jendruch) and the throttle cable broke.”
Reiss thanked his wife, his racing partner, and Reiss Cycle. “Let’s see what happens in Cecil County.”
UNIVERSAL FLEET & TIRE 10.90 AND ELIMINATOR
Frequent winner Cody Hayworth runner-upped twice at Milan, losing to Willie George in the Universal Fleet & Tire 10.90 final.
George’s dad Richard George beat Racin’ Ray Robinson in Saturday’s Eliminator final. Richard’s .011 light pretty well did Robinson in this time around.
Sunday’s Eliminator winner was two-time runner-up Chris Hoppe, who beat a rider listed as A. Hammerhe in the results. Hoppe gave up .023 at the tree but was still able to win the double breakout final.
Racin’ Ray Robinson may have lost an Eliminator final, but he came out on top in 11.50 by beating M. Thurston in the final.
“It was a great weekend,” said Robinson. “The Buell was running strong with getting the number one qualifier Saturday. I had to make sure I could back it up and come Sunday, nerves were running wild.
“As always, I gotta thank my team Universal Fleet and Tire for giving me this opportunity to fuel my passion.”
Super Pro number one qualifier Perry Paugh was able to find the winners circle in Saturday’s Trophy class.
“I got pretty lucky every round,” said Paugh. “My bike just had a transmission replaced, because it had shifting issues. Well, it still has shifting issues.
“So I tried to dial in to what the bike was willing to give me. I kept getting winlights, which is what racing is all about. I raced one of my other bikes in the final, my teammate Denny Nyegran. He broke out.
“The bottle of Crown was an awesome addition to the wall art given out by the AHDRA. Was a great trip.”
Nyegran also runner-upped on Sunday, this time to Talon Harper. “I just wanna thank the Danford family for everything they do to help us with bikes and getting us to the track,” said Harper.
Harper’s son Blake scored his first win in Junior Junior Dragbike on Sunday and the number one qualifier on Saturday.
“This was the second race out with the bike and him piloting it!” said Clayton Danford, who built Harper’s hot rod along with his dad Kevin and Bill Harper. “The late Jay Minor built our first Juniors and taught my dad and I how to fabricate, so we are passing it on!
“Blake grew up racing dirtbikes with his dad, so having him ride was a no-brainer. He is doing a great job and I cant wait to see what his future holds.
“Thanks to our sponsors DBR Fab, La.Alterations and Murray Performance
Jaden Hines runner-upped on Sunday, but the order was reversed on Saturday with Jaden the winner and Blake the runner-up.
Jaden’s brother Michael Hines Jr. won Junior Senior Dragbikes both days with Bradley Croneberger Jr. the runner-up on Sunday.
“It was so great to get back to Milan Dragway,” said Michael Hines Sr. “This is where it all started last year for Jaden and Michael Jr. in their AHDRA drag racing. Thanks to Bill Rowe for getting kids back in the AHDRA. So this time a year later and Jaden and Michael being 2022 national champions, it meant a lot to them and me to get back to the track where it started.
“It was great on Friday getting all their awards from the Ohio race and Saturday getting back on the track.”
The Sunday Junior Junior race between Jaden and Harper had a redo of the final. “On the redo, Jaden went in too deep. We’ve been working on it both days, him and Michael going in deeper, but he went in really deep. So Jaden got second but had a great weekend and hats off to Blake Harper. He’s really doing great and working hard at it too, and comes from a great family of racing.
“Jaden and Michael got a lot more points, so all around it was a great weekend. Weather was good both days, see everyone at Cecil County Dragway in September!”
Bill and Chrissy Rowe look forward to welcoming the AHDRA/AMA family back to Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, Maryland on September 8-10—always one of the best attended races on the tour!