The AMA/AHDRA All-American motorcycle drag racing series crowned its third year of champions in the Bill and Crissy Rowe era, despite battling some serious weather set-backs.
The season started with a Gainesville opener that was shortened by shutdown weepers on a beautiful sunny day. A rare Rockingham rain cancellation initiated the first-ever AHDRA/AMRA combined McClure Nationals. And finally, a Florida State of Emergency brought on by Hurricane Nicole canceled the Gainesville Finals. Sometimes, that’s the luck.
But champions persevere, and AHDRA recognizes their best. First in a series:
Eleven year-old Michael Hines Jr. and his nine year-old brother Jaden swept both categories of Junior Dragbike as the long, nationally dormant class was brought back alive by AHDRA in 2022.
And brought back in a big way, placed in the order of competition with the nitro classes. “The boys and I were so happy when Bill Rowe told us we could start racing in Milan, Michigan,” said the boys’ dad, Michael Sr. “It was unreal being there with the big bikes, and Michael getting to meet Tracy Kile. Michael was in heaven, as was Jaden.
“Tracy called the boys up front to the line to get their pics taken with all the big bikes before qualifying runs were to start, and they’re one on each side of Tracy—the guy they have been watching on TV for years and now they are leathered-up next to him. Wow, how cool is that for a 9 and 11 year old? One week you’re at RMC (Pennsylvania’s Reading Motorcycle Club), the next you’re sitting on your dragbike next to Tracy Kile about to go down the same track as him and all the other big bikes.
Meeting Kile made such an impression on Michael Jr. that Tracy’s name suddenly became a verb. “Friday night at Milan, we are all in bed,” continued Micahel Sr. “The motorhome is dark, and I hear Michael say to Jaden, ‘Hey Jaden….’
“‘Tomorrow I’m going to Tracy Kile your ass….’
“Jaden come back with ‘Yea? I’m going to Spiderman your ass!’
“I am cracking up in bed hearing this. Gotta love two sons going at it.
“It was a great (winning) weekend, and topped it off with getting number one qualifier for both boys and walking out onto the track to open the start of runs with Tracy. The boys had the time of their lives that weekend and loved the whole 2022 season, and what a great season they had—five championships!”
Five championships, because the Hines boys also won at the RMC, where the family has been racing for years. Even while Jr. Dragbikes didn’t run nationally for many years, the RMC kept the class alive.
“Jaden won the RMC Junior Youth and Junior ET classes, and Michael won Senior Youth. Jaden won the AHDRA Junior Junior Dragbike national championship and Michael won Senior Junior.”
Proud dad Michael Sr. then went on to tell his children’s racing history. “Hines Racing started out in 2016. The line-up was going to be Nikki and Brielle Hines (then 6 and 7 years old), Michael and Jaden’s older sisters. But Brielle backed out, so Michael wanted to race. I said ‘You’re only 4 and a half years old, wait till next year!’ He said ‘Noooooo.’ So I went out and got him a PW50 Yamaha. He loved it and rode it great.
“In 2017 I got Nikki a Junior Dragbike. it was smaller than the one’s the boys have now, with a 75cc chappy motor on it.
“2018 and Michael got that Junior Dragbike, his first fat tire bike. Nikki got a bigger Junior Dragbike and I put a Junior Dragster motor in it. Everyone was thinking I was nuts!
“Michael beat his sister and won Junior Youth class for his first championship and Hines Racing added Jaden onto the team.
“So moving on it was just Michael and Jaden in 2019. The boys were having fun but Michael got third in Junior Youth with Jaden in fourth—the only year Hines Racing didn’t win the championship.
“Winter of 2019 into 2020 comes and it’s time to build new Junior Dragbikes. I called Lonnie Deturck. Michael was going to start racing Nikki’s old bike with the Junior Dragster motor in it and Lonnie was building the new one for Jaden. But when we got it done, the bike was too big for Jaden, so Michael took it over and Jaden got another new one—both with GY6 150cc Honda scooter motors in them with 60 kits and other goodies custom built by Lonnie.
“In 2020, COVID-19 came and the RMC ended up having a half season but no award dinner. Jaden won Junior Youth class and Junior ET. But the boys also race at South Mountain Raceway too, in the Junior ATV class. Jaden won that in 2020 and Michael was in second place.
“COVID ends in 2021—Michael’s last year in Junior Youth class. We raced at South Mountain again and Michael won and Jaden finished in second. But at RMC, Michael won Junior Youth and second or third in Junior ET. A great year for both.
“We’d like to thank Bill Rowe for getting Junior Dragbikes back into racing in the AHDRA, and Lonnie Detruck for all his hard work. He’s doing Jaden’s bike all over now to look like Michael’s bike—same body and longer.
“And the boys would like to thank all the kids at RMC. All these kids are so good at racing and make my sons work hard and have made them who they are today. They love racing with all these kids and hope they all start racing in the AHDRA next year with us. It will be a show to see.
“Both boys started racing at four and a half years old. Michael’s been calling his own times since six and a half years old, and Jaden has the last two years. They love what they do
“It’s been a great year and the boys can’t wait for the 2023 season to start!”
story and photos by Tim Hailey
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