Highlighted by speed, precision and the accompanying reckless demeanor, motorcycle drag racing is a fan favorite and the return of the event to this week's Friday Night Drags presented by ACDelco at Atlanta Motor Speedway should be no exception.
After professionally racing motorcycles for 25 years, Locust Grove's Roy Schwarz knows why fans love the motorcycle action: "We're going way faster than a car which makes it more daring," said Schwarz.
But this wily veteran of motorcycle racing isn't afraid to admit the other reason fans refuse to miss the motorcycle class when they come to Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"Well, they're really hoping somebody is going to fall off," said a laughing Schwarz. "On a bike, if something goes wrong, the driver is going down. It makes it more exciting for the driver and the fans."
Generally, motorcycle racers show a degree of daring unparalleled by many other drivers. Dre Busa, who finished second in Friday Night Drags first week of motorcycle racing on July 11, displays this characteristic as well as any motorcycle racer.
While racing two bikes in separate classes at a motorcycle event in April, a tired Busa laid down his bike in a post-midnight run, resulting in a shoulder dislocation and an elbow break in two locations. Yet, less than four months later, the Union City native would finish second at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"I come out because of the thrill," said Busa, who finished second on a 2001 Suzuki GSXR 1000. "It's more dangerous than driving a car - you have to be fearless."
For whatever reason - the speed, precision or fearlessness - all the motorcycle drivers know their class is a fan favorite for one reason or another.
"I've been on a motorcycle since I was five-years-old and I always wanted to go fast," said Phil Ingalls of Fayetteville, who raced one of the few Harley Davidsons to venture onto the drag strip on July 11. "I think the fans like the speed."
Busa says many of the drivers are drawn to motorcycles not just the speed, but also the affordability compared to cars, but Busa says, "The fans like it because it's reckless."
But while they motorcycles may seem faster and smaller than the usual drag machines, Schwarz sees a comparison to traditional rides.
"NASCAR fans love racing, but they want to see a problem - a wreck - every now and then," said Schwarz. "On motorcycles, it easier to see the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat when someone wrecks. The new bikes are faster, more powerful and that much more exciting."
And with the immense speed and precision the motorcycle class offers, its no wonder why the fans at Atlanta Motor Speedway love the motorcycle class.
The motorcycle class can be seen at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Friday Night Drags presented by ACDelco this Friday and Friday Night Drags runs each Friday night through August 22. More information can be obtained by calling 770-946-4211 or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com