Karen Stoffer on her Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
Following the start of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle, held two weeks ago in Gainesville, Florida, 2010 PSM champion LE Tonglet's sponsor, Kenny Koretsky, and his Nitro Fish brand announced it would cease its sponsorship due to a lack of parity in the class.
Tonglet rides a Suzuki motorcycle; Harley-Davidson and Buell bikes are also featured in the class.
This particular lack of parity has been ongoing for quite a while. After all, the only two riders that are able to race Harley-Davidson motorcycles--through their factory affiliation--are reigning champion Eddie Krawiec and three-time titleholder Andrew Hines. It's been acknowledged the Harley-Davidson motorcycles have gobs more power than either the Buell or the Suzuki; it's been estimated the advantage could amount to as many as 50 horsepower!
NHRA was asked to remove 20-40 horsepower from the H-D combine before the next race; it responded by increasing minimum weight on those two motorcycles by 20 pounds. Will that help? Most likely not.
NHRA said that, following "a review of recent performances in the category, he minimum weight for the Harley-Davidson 160-cid, 4-valve combination will be increased by 20 pounds, from 640 to 660 pounds. The adjustment becomes effective April 27, 2012 at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, which is the next stop" for PSM.
The minimum weight for NHRA-accepted American pushrod V-Twin 160-cid remains at 615 pounds and the Suzuki 107-cid engine with 2 valves per cylinder remains at 595 pounds. "NHRA will continue to monitor performance and will make adjustments as necessary."
While there will always be people that can put a motorcycle together and make it to the track to compete with their Suzuki or Buell bikes - after all, this is the least expensive Full Throttle professional class in which they can compete - the quality level can never increase unless competition is more open.
It's time for NHRA to allow the Suzuki engines to run electronic fuel injection - which both Harley-Davidson and Buell use - and allow the smaller Suzuki engine more power to the rear wheel so it can be more competitive. People have been asking for that adjustment for years and to date nobody's listening. Perhaps they will now?