SALEM - Earlier this year, Kirk Poffenberger and Glen Huston pitched the idea of holding motorcycle dirt drag races to the Columbiana County fair board.
So, at 7 p.m. Tuesday it will be competitors "start you engines" in front of the main grandstand for possibly the first ever motorcycle drag races at the fair.
Admission to the grandstand is free and the event, which is tied to "Biker Night" at the fair, will be part of the Echo Valley (Carbon Hill Road, East Palestine) Dirt Drag Racing points schedule.
Huston, the Echo Valley in Top Gas and Modified Street points champion for 2010, said, "A lot of people confuse these bikes with hill climb bikes because of the knobby tires. But that's where the similarity stops."
He said dirt drag racing has been around a long time and some may remember the old New Waterford Dirt Drags that were popular in the mid-1980s.
Both Huston, who began racing six years ago and Poffenberger, who began four years ago, have raced dirt bikes at Echo Valley and in Hopedale, Ohio.
Tuesday's event will run double-elimination rounds over a 350-foot track. No alcohol, nitrous oxide or nitromethane is permitted. Each lane is 15-feet wide.
Huston said, "Some of those are pretty fast bikes."
The top bikes, Top Gassers, should be in the five-second bracket with speeds reaching about 80 miles per hour before the shut-down area. Modified Street bikes should run about 70 mph, Poffenberger said.
"That about 100 feet per second, or close to it," he added.
Huston said, "Three-hundred and fifty feet is just longer than a 100-yard dash." He said dirt drag tracks are usually an eighth-mile or just shy of 500 feet.
Poffenberger said, "The big thing will be the start. Because you just have enough room to catch a shift into second and that's pretty much it."
Anyone can enter. "It's open to any rider," Huston said. "We want to get young motorcycle riders (women included) involved and grow the sport."
Safety equipment, a helmet, eye protection, long-sleeved shirts, pants and shoes are required. "It's safety, safety, safety," Huston said.
Poffenberger said, "This is a perfect fit for the fair. It's dirt ... backyard style my bike is faster than your bike ... OK lets find out."
The track can hold a light rain, but Huston said they can only run "as long as the track conditions hold up."
The classes include Top Gas, an open class for bikes with knobby tires and built for racing; Modified Street, a class for stock street bikes modified for racing with two divisions, 750cc under and over; Street bikes are stock configuration, street tires and license plate with two divisions, 883cc under and over; dirt bikes are two-stroke and four-stoke combined and also has two divisions, 350cc under and over; Quad runners are two and four stroke combined class with two divisions, utility and sport class; and a "run what ya brung" category.
The two top classes, Top Gas will have guaranteed payouts of $350 for first and $125 for second place while Modified Street will pay $200 each for the winners in 750cc under and over and $100 to each runnerup.
The rest of the classes will pay 50 percent of the entry, which will be split with the fair board, and trophies for runnerups.
The entry fee is $25 for Top Gas; $20 for Modified Street and $10 for all others.
There will be bike night awards and games during the event which has free grandstand admission.
The fair opens Monday and runs through Aug. 7.
Huston said, "This is new, as far as we know to the Columbiana County Fair."
It might a first for any county fair in Ohio.
Huston noted, "You don't see this every day. It's all about adrenaline."