Fast and furious: All you need to know about drag racing

There is an increasing interest among motorcycle-enthusiasts in drag racing. How has drag racing, which was hardly talked about a couple of years ago, has now become a hot topic in the minds of automobile lovers? In this article, News Today explains all about drag racing.

Just like hurdles, short sprints, marathon, etc., motorcycles and cars have pitted against each other in different races. While the common type of racing is the one done on track, drag racing, rally racing, dirt racing are also popular. While track racing is similar to hurdles where motorcycles have to encounter corners (hurdles) every now and then, drag racing can be compared to short sprints where drivers have to put everything that they have within that straight line. From start to finish, there is only acceleration and no deceleration or braking at any point in a drag race.

While track racing tests almost all aspects of motorcycles from acceleration to top-end power delivery, and from rear wheel traction to aerodynamics, drag racing tests the straight line performance alone which includes acceleration, top speed and rear wheel traction. No one cares about the weight of the motorcycles or size. If a motorcycle screams from the word go and reaches the destination first, it’s declared winner.

REASON FOR POPULARITY 

Until a few years ago, hyper bikes Suzuki Hayabusa, Kawasaki Ninja ZX 14R, Kawasaki Ninja H2 or heavily modified motorcycles were used for drag racing. But now, in every motorbike shootout, drag racing has become a part. Famous motorcycle reviewers like MCN, Motorcycle USA, etc., have started giving equal weightage to drag racing and track racing to access the performance of motorcycles. In India, more than 90 per cent of the motorcycles can’t handle a track. Add to that, there are only three popular race tracks that are too expensive to use. So today, the easiest way to test performances of Indian motorcycles is through drag races. With better roads getting developed, it has become popular even among non-professional racers and YouTubers.

HOW TO WIN A DRAG RACE

Just like track racing, drag racing requires effort from the rider and motorcycle. The rider needs to launch the motorcycle as soon as the lights go green. The gearshifts should be on time and throttling should be instantaneous. Even one small mistake will cost him the race as chances to commit them are much lesser here than the usual track racing. Coming to the motorcycle (similar cubic capacity), to win a drag race, traction is more important than power. If there are wheel spins on the go, the motorcycle will lose a lot of time. Secondly, engines with higher redline rpm and power concentrated at the top-end, perform better in a drag race as they don’t suffer traction losses at lower speeds and go all out at the top-end.

MODIFICATIONS THAT IMPROVE PERFORMANCE 

The first and foremost requirement for drag racing is aerodynamics. The motorcycles which sport straight line aero packages have the upper hand. Secondly, straight-line performance and longer wheel-base go hand in hand. That’s the reason drag racers worldwide use extended rear swing arms and higher front fork rake angle in their motorcycles. Thirdly, better traction control system can launch the motorcycles effectively.

DRAG RACING BIKES IN INDIA 

There are many bikes used here like Yamaha R15 V3, KTM Duke 390, TVS Apache RR 310, Bajaj Dominar 400, Bajaj Pulsar RS 200, TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, and Royal Enfield Continental GT 650, to name a few.

S Ben Raja