If there’s such a thing as small-tire motorcycle drag racing, we may have just discovered it. Unfortunately, if you really want to witness this form of two-wheeled racing, you’ll have to pack your bags, your cameras (how else are you going to catch these racers eating the pavement?), and board a plane to Thailand. You know, that country where many of your clothes and electronics are made.
While drag racing-specific motorcycles, particularly those running in sportsman eliminators, already use what one might deem a rather small slick tire in relation to their automotive counterparts, this just takes it to a whole new dimension. What these racers are running on is, if we had to guess based on appearance, little more in tread width than your typical mountain bike tire. The difference in this case is that rather than your less-than-one-horsepower legs rotating the rear tires, these have internal combustion engines that don’t have a lot of power, but enough to overpower the little rubber bands they’re trying to put it to the pavement with.
In recent years, we’ve seen the concept of tires being the limiting factor all but go out the window in radial tire and 10.5 racing, but that’s not the case here. If they could hang a ProCharger or a little cheater-shot on one of these bikes, it wouldn’t make one iota of difference except perhaps skin your knees up a little quicker.
The racing, some of which takes place on temporary air strip properties as far as our research can determine, seems fairly organized and does utilize legitimate drag racing technology, including a christmas tree (that runs on a really strange delay setting between bulbs) and a full timing system. The fact that the riders are required to wear long sleeves, long pants, and helmets means there’s some focus on safety, although some barricades between the track and the fans wouldn’t be a bad idea.
As soon as they light off the first set of bikes, you can tell right away this is gonna’ get interesting. With a little more power than tire, these racers are all kinds of sideways. There’s an exception to every rule though, as you’ll notice a couple of racers actually achieving enough weight transfer to carry the front wheels well down the track, just like you might expect from a six-second Pro Street bike. But it gets all the more entertaining when it begins raining…and they just keep racing. That’s right, the show must go on.