By: Alan Dockery
Photo by Stephen Justice
We have a new Carolina drag racer to cheer for and he has already won a national title. Mike Beland, Maiden, NC, is the American Motorcycle Racing Association 2016 Top Fuel Champion.
Growing up in rural Western Massachusetts, Mike was an active guy and eager to take on the world. Two weeks after high school he was in Marine Corp Basic Training, and subsequently served for six years. After a few years working on cars and trucks at a dealership, Mike started his own business, A1 Cycles. For several years, he enjoyed the South Florida sunshine in West Palm Beach growing the reputation of A1 Cycles. Twenty-one years later and the shop is now in the Carolina foothills.
Mike has an impressive custom and racing bike resume. His award-winning show bikes have been featured on the cover of five national magazines. He has done six pilot shows for Speed Channel and been featured on "Pinks” and "Pinks All Out." He has also been on Air Talent for "Pass Time" and "Pinks All Out 2016." Mike has been in several documentaries on the National Geographic and Travel Channel.
For a few years in the mid-1990’s Mike drag raced in the Super Comp Bike Class at New England Dragway finishing in the top ten each year. Then he raced a few years on the local dirt track taking several class titles. From 2000 to 2005 he ran AMA Pro Flat Track earning a national expert license and competing in lots of main feature races aboard a Harley-Davidson.
The current AMRA Top Fuel champ got back on the drag strip in 2006 for local bracket racing in Palm Beach. A couple years ago, Mike felt the need for nitromethane. He attended Johnny Vickers’ Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel School and graduated at the top of his class. In 2015 he quickly earned Top Fuel licenses in both the International Hot Rod Association and the National Hot Rod Associations. In his first season, he won a race at Sonoma. CA.
For 2016 Mike got real serious as he joined the Danny Johnson team riding one of the best machines in the country, thanks to his sponsor Shield Bright and associate sponsor Raising Hail Racing by David Wild. The Top Fuel Harley Mike rode is an incredible bike with a D.J. chassis holding a 182 cubic inch engine with a two-speed Lenco transmission and 14” wide rear slick. That slick takes a beating as it tries to put more than 1,000 horsepower from three gallons of nitro per pass to the track.
Mike did well all season, winning the AMRA Bowling Green, Kentucky, race on the way to the association championship. Look for him at the drag strip in 2017 as he goes after the IHRA and the NHRA titles, too.
Like all racers, Mike can use sponsors. If you want to help a North Carolina Top Fuel Harley team go after more championships, hit up Michael Beland on Facebook.