Winless in Pro Extreme Motorcycle since late 2016, Brunson Grothus was eager to fight through an ultra-competitive field of motorcycles to earn the PDRA Fall Nationals victory at Darlington Dragway.
The big noise (or lack there of) of the event, though, was No. 1 qualifier Terry “Milkman” Schweigert. The Canadian dairy farmer topped the final qualifying order in Pro Extreme Motorcycle for the third time this season, though for the first time, he did it aboard a turbocharged entry. Riding a new motorcycle owned by Kevin Clark and built and tuned by Dan Wagner, Steve Nichols, and DME Racing’s Andy Sawyer, Schweigert rocketed to a 3.914 at 184.58 to set up two potential new records.
“That’s exactly what we were looking for on that run,” said Schweigert, whose Q1 pass of 3.968 at 181.60 was also quicker and faster than the existing record. “I was expecting it to run fast because the bike does what (the tuners) say it will do every time, and they said it should run a 3.91 or .92. I knew it was going to take off. It just pulled the whole way through, and I was really planted in the seat.”
Schweigert backed up the record with his second-round pass of 3.942 at 181.09 aboard a new turbocharged entry, though he redlit in the process.
Grothus qualified No. 2 with a manually-shifted, career-best 3.998 at 177.51 on his Indocil Art nitrous Suzuki, which would have been a big news pass if Schweigert’s brand new turbo had not been so much quicker.
Grothus raced past points leader Ronnie “Pro Mod” Smith and defending world champion Travis Davis before taking advantage of a semifinal bye run.
Career-best also describes Spencer Allen’s third place qualifying 4.047 at 175.23. He rode his all-green Lamination Station Racing Suzuki to round wins over Ricardo Knights, Chris Garner-Jones and Ehren Litten’s turbo bike before meeting Grothus’ green and purple bike in Allen’s first-ever PDRA final.
Grothus’ 4.016 at 175.99 defeated Allen’s 4.082 at 174.55. “I feel very fortunate,” Grothus said. “Everything fell our way. I had three really tight races – a .024 stripe, .028 stripe, and a .046 stripe. We absolutely could’ve ended up on the other side of those races. With the way everyone was running this weekend – world records and career-bests – I’m very fortunate to be the last one standing.”
The traditional nitrous vs. turbo argument erupted yet again in the wake of Schweigert’s record-smashing run. Be a part of the intense discussion in the Eatmyink Facebook Group.
photos by Roger Richards, story by Nate Van Wagnen with contributions by Tim Hailey
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