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Fri, 19 Sep 2003, 10:49 AM

Two-Wheelers Come Roaring Back to Memphis Motorsports Park
Courtesy of NHRA Communications


Antron Brown
After taking three years off from racing at the NHRA event at Memphis Motorsports Park, the Pro Stock Bike class makes a return to the race this month.

Riders from the two-wheel category couldn't be happier.

"Memphis has a great track and I love going there," said Antron Brown, rider of the U.S. Army Suzuki. "I love going to that part of the country. They have a lot of rock-n-rollers there. It is such a unique atmosphere on top of the fact that the track is very fast.

"Memphis is one of the more unique venues on the circuit and I was very happy to find out that we were going back. I love going there."

Pro Stock Bike will once again rejoin the rest of the professional drivers for the 16th annual O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals, Sept. 18-21, at Memphis Motorsports Park. Larry Dixon, Tony Pedregon and Jeg Coughlin are the defending winners of the $1.9 million race, the 19th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson's 20-year-old rider GT Tonglet is also looking forward to being in the Volunteer State.

"I'm really happy because it is close to my home in Louisiana for one thing," Tonglet said. "Even better, Memphis has a great track. I don't know how the weather is going to be, but it is a real smooth track and it will allow the bikes to run fast."

Defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Bike champion Angelle Savoie won the last two events held at Memphis Motorsports Park in 1998-'99. Brown has yet to earn a Tennessee victory, but he knows there will be plenty of support for him and the rest of the category when the bikes make a return appearance.

"Pro Stock Bikes are on the rise as far as fan popularity," Brown said. "The class is gaining on a whole, but we always have great support in Memphis. When you get to the track you can see a ton of motorcycles parked in the (spectator parking). Even when you go downtown, you can see bikes everywhere. It is a very cool place to be."

Tonglet went to the final round in St. Louis in June, but has yet to earn a win this season. While the Harley-Davidson V-Rod program is only in its second year of operation, Tonglet has been plagued more this season by his reaction times on the starting line. Tonglet has lost four rounds on red-light starts out of the first 10 events of the season.

"So far the season has been pretty good although I expected to do a little better," Tonglet said. "I've had a red-light problem this year. Hopefully I will be able to step it up from here on out. I'm looking forward to being in Memphis because I will have a lot of friends supporting me."

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