Monday, June 18, 2007
And speaking of platform parity...
A very interesting article on the new NHRA Pro Stock rules from Dragbike.com:
"Perhaps the most significant part of the rules is that while purpose-built billet engines can be developed and run in competition, all parts must have an OEM part number. Anything can be built – within NHRA guidelines – as long as a motorcycle manufacturer is willing to put a part number on it. This ensures factory involvement in the class.
The upside is a utopian racing fantasy: to have multiple motorcycle OEMs battling it out with the most current technology. Racing events where American V-Twins go head-to-head with Japanese inline fours on a level playing field.
The downside is, it is thought, that the cost will inevitably escalate to the point where die-hard independents that have ran the class for years will be financially forced to the sidelines, thinning the field.
The task for the NHRA is nothing short of monumental: To retain parity among racing vehicles of radically different engine geometry.
While each side of the argument postures that the other side has an unfair advantage, the NHRA has to be commended as their rules tweaking over the last few years has produced legitimate parity between purpose-built V-Twins that were non-existent in the year 2000, and Suzuki GS-based engines which last saw US showrooms in the mid 1980s.
The numbers bear this out: While Harley-Davidson rider Andrew Hines took his third straight championship in 2006, he was hardly dominant. His last championship wasn’t decided until the final event in Pomona when Hines was able to edge out the Army Suzuki of Antron Brown by a mere 23 points. A V-Twin (Chip Ellis on the Drag Specialties Buell) has the all-time quickest pass ever at 6.911 but a Suzuki (Angelle Sampy on the Army Suzuki) holds the backed-up national elapsed time record at 6.939 seconds. The top ten in 2006 were evenly split with five V-twins and five Suzuki’s."
Read the whole thing here.