Road Dirt contributing photographer Brandon Johnson attended the Bristol, Tennessee round of the NHRA Drag Racing Series last weekend. The races included a category known as the Mickey Thompson Top Fuel Harley, a 10-race schedule of the fastest motorcycle drag races in the country. Brandon got some outstanding shots, and we just had to share some of our faves from his amazing weekend in the hills of Tennessee.
The series features the NHRA’s only nitromethane-powered motorcycles, with speeds exceeding 220 mph on each pass. Races are routinely decided by mere thousandths of a second. The Top Fuel Harley season began back February 7-10, at Pomona, California, and will conclude Aug. 28-Sept. 2 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Bristol Dragway round saw reigning NHRA Top Fuel Harley champ Tii Tharpe take his 2nd win of the 2019 season, by outrunning Bob Malloy to the tree.
Brandon had trackside access all weekend, and told us the bikes practically explode off the starting line. Imagine wrapping yourself around a cruise missile, lighting a fuse at your right wrist, then trying to hang on. You can somewhat imagine the sheer arm-stretching, head-snapping G-forces that these motorcycle drag racers endure in this class. They are not strapped into a sealed compartment inside the roll cage of a Pro Mod, Pro Stock, Funny Car or Top Fuel dragster. These daring racers are quite literally “hanging on for dear life” as they rocket down the strip, pinned at full throttle, wrapped around a fire-breathing dragon of a motorcycle. Respect.
Thank you Brandon, for sharing these awesome shots, and the palpable thrill we know you experience at the races.
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