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NHRA: Honda set to debut in NHRA Pro Stock Bike competition

3 December 1999

Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
Pro Stock Bike enthusiast Dennis Mirante decided he wanted to ride among the ranks of Angelle Seeling and Matt Hines, so he attended George Bryces Motorcycle Drag Racing School, and continued his education by renting a bike from competitor Greg Underdahl. His goal was to gain seat time, and hopefully earn his competition license. The two headed to the AMA/Prostar event earlier this season in Atco, NJ, and began making some passes. By the end of the weekend, Mirante gained a foundation and knew he wanted to continue.

His two-wheeled past included riding Honda "Blackbird" and "Valkyrie" model motorcycles on the street. He considers himself a "Honda aficionado", and brand loyalty made him wonder if there could possibly be a winged future in the sport.

"I decided that if I were to go Pro Stock, I wanted to be different from everybody else." explained Mirante. "I believe the sport will be much more successful if there is brand diversity."

After considering all of the hurdles that he would have to cross, both mechanically and financially, Mirante turned to Underdahl with the idea, and for his advice.

"I thought he was out of his mind at first" said Underdahl, "but after giving it some thought, I turned to Byron (Hines) for his advice."

After researching the engines potential, Hines came back to the table thumbs up explaining that it was totally possible to produce the horsepower required from the Blackbird powerplant.

With the blessing of one of the sports pioneers and most revered engine builders, Mirante and Underdahl struck up a partnership. Mirante will be the team owner, and Underdahl will be providing his expertise in the riding and tuning departments.

"We will consider adding a second bike to the team late into the 2000 season, after development phases are complete" continued Underdahl, "and Dennis will ride that bike into the 2001 season and beyond."

"Honda Pro Stock - Phase 1" is already under way, with Kosman Racing putting the finishing touches on the chassis currently. Trac Dynamics is set to receive the chassis for finishing, which will include the mounting of composite bodywork which they are currently developing for the project. Byron Hines Colorado-based Freedom Motorsports will be supplying the project

with engine development and production. This project marks the first time that a "late model" production engine will be used in the Pro Stock category - the class is currently dominated by pre-1984 design Suzuki GS1100 engines.

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