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May 23, 2022 11:29 pm

Side by Side Drags brings Harrison, MI Airport to life


By Steve Landon

Harrison, Michigan – May 15, 2022; — Those old enough to remember may recall a time when the  Airport north of Harrison, Mich.,   saw more than just the arrival of an occasional recreational pilot or flight of National Guard helicopters stopping in for a break. Overall the airport has been pretty quiet, however, it has not always been that way.  Now thanks to dedicated volunteers  the airport is coming back to life.  On Sunday May 22 the first event in years took place on the grounds with exciting Side by Side drag racing before an impressive crowd.

A race official prepares to launch a driver down the strip. In the future the group plans to have a starting tree and timing system to do the job.

A race official prepares to launch a driver down the strip. In the future the group plans to have a starting tree and timing system to do the job.

Back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when everyone had a snowmobile  the airport was closed to aircraft in the winter months. For years the

Dillon Sprague of Harrison give local fans something to cheer about as he crosses the finish line to win 1000 NA in his 2021 Yamaha  YXZ 1000R before an impressive crowd

Dillon Sprague of Harrison give local fans something to cheer about as he crosses the finish line to win 1000 NA in his 2021 Yamaha YXZ 1000R before an impressive crowd

airport was  the place to be. Two  nearby restaurants. a  small party store , a bar  ,and  easy access to gas , parts and trails  made it a popular gathering place until it was opened year-round as an active airport in the mid 1970’s.  Over the years the airport held  fly-Ins complete with airplane rides,  small aircraft shows  and activities for visiting pilots and families.  Since those days things have been pretty quiet around the old airfield. Sadly with that quiet caused in part by fewer visiting aircraft and budget cuts, the runway is not as good or as appealing as it used to be. In-fact it needs repairs soon or the site of the Harrison Airport could become just a big empty field as pilots look elsewhere for smoother take offs and landings.   Hosting events especially in recent years is nothing new at smaller airports across the nation in fact the Zettel Memorial Airport in nearby Gladwin, Mich.,  has enjoyed great success for several years  with  “Thunder on the Strip”  a popular drag racing event, many small airports have become home to car, motorcycle shows and other popular events .

One of the driving forces behind this year’s Side by Side races is Air Force Veteran Timm Heinig  who worked to pull the event together in roughly a month.

“I served in the U.S. Air Force, before coming back home a few years ago. I’m a Third generation Harrison resident, my family has been around for a very long time.  I’ve wanted to be involved in the community and always wondered why we weren’t doing any events at the airport so I joined the airport advisory board in the fall of 2021 and asked if I could be their events planner and this is where we’re at now.

Driver create a dust storm as the charge down the 300 foot strip in neck and neck competition

Driver create a dust storm as the charge down the 300 foot strip in neck and neck competition

Several months ago I started meeting with the Airport Advisory Board in regards to bringing events like drag racing to the airport  as well as other events. They were very receptive to the idea. My initial goal was to get an event going later this summer like a car show and swap meet plus have a structured drag race with several classes and possibly a bracket race . The car enthusiast exploded with excitement. I realized then this is something we needed to get after sooner than later “- Heinig said.

Why do a benefit for the Airport?

“The Harrison  airport relies on volunteers and grant money to stay open. It is considered a basic use airport and does not receive FAA funding . The airstrip is in need of some significant repairs along with some of the facilities . My plan is to get some events  like drag racing this summer, snowmobile races in winter as well as other events that might be of interest to the community and visitors  to help with the cost of repairs and future investment  into the airport.

While it didn't compete this little homebuilt Side by Side sure drew a lot of attention

While it didn’t compete this little homebuilt Side by Side sure drew a lot of attention

Having the Side by Side  races was an independent idea of mine. With the help of my mother Wendy as well as strong community support and sponsorship from local businesses it was able to come together. This was our test run to see how an event would go at the airport  so we stuck with the Side by Sides this time. We have several ideas  that include more dirt races and even drag racing on airstrip once its repaired” –   Heinig continued

Concerns that a little rain might dampen attendance quickly evaporated  when the sun came out just  in time to make for a  perfect day. What little rain fell hardly dampened the strip.

Running on a two lane 300ft dirt drag strip, drivers kicked up the dust in some downright exciting races While scoring was done manually this time officials hope to have a timing system and radar in the future.

For a first-time event the program was set up for a smaller number of entries. As the event grows and entries  increase, classes will be adapted.

“Side by Sides have an array of engine sizes and power so we tried to keep this event as simple as we could- non turbo and turbo class. We had a class

Event coordinator / race director Timm Heinig addressed drivers just before action got underway

Event coordinator / race director Timm Heinig addressed drivers just before action got underway

scheduled but we didn’t have entries for it

Overall we’re extremely happy with the turnout and community support. We plan on more events with the dirt track, as well as events with small aircraft in the future. Money raised will go into maintaining the airport and putting on future events” – Heinig explained.

Presently the group hopes to have snowmobile races likely during the Harrison Frostbite Festival.
Their first event now behind them plans are already in the works for others in the future.  One thing is clear the Harrison Airport is back on the right flight path headed for a bright future as long as the people behind this effort are at the controls.


1000 NA
Dillon Sprague,  Harrison, MI – 2021 Yamaha  YXZ 1000R
Turbo/ Modified
1.  Jeremy Amy, Clio, MI – 2020 CanAm XDS
2. Shawn Lewis, Swartz Creek, MI – 2019 CanAm X3
Class ?
Mark Bajor – 2022 Polaris RZR Pro R 4 LE
November 11, 2016 2:41 pm

Preliminary Research Finds That Motocross Racers Are Prone to Injury, Despite Safety Equipment

young-937728_960_720Physical health is extremely important. While there are a number of articles and studies that report the health benefits of running, weightlifting, yoga, and the like, many people prefer more unconventional exercise methods.

Pole dancing can burn up to 485 calories an hour, and motocross can burn between 180 and 250 calories per hour, depending on a person’s size.

But with all forms of exercise, there are risks involved. Despite the health benefits and rush of adrenaline that motocross riders experience on their bikes, the sport is extremely dangerous.

In a recent investigation, doctors and health professionals found that despite helmet use, 85% of the riders that they tracked over 10 years experienced injuries — namely concussions — and one died from his injuries.

The doctors who commissioned the study looked at 35 boys ages eight to 17, who all raced on tracks sanctioned by the American Motorcycle Association. The study was conducted between 2004 and 2014.

Dr. Christopher Arena, the study’s lead author and resident with the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at Penn State Health, Hershey Medical Center, said that these findings will hopefully help identify additional safety measures that should be implemented by the sport’s governing body.

“I think the sport is absolutely growing in popularity,” he said.

A former motocross racer himself, Dr. Arena believes that corporate sponsorships and television broadcasting has incited more interest in the sport.

A Florida doctor, however, is not as enthused by the sport’s growing popularity.

Dr. Barbara Pena, research director at the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital emergency department in Miami said that children under 18 shouldn’t do motocross at all.

“A child’s brain is still developing,” said Dr. Pena, “and we don’t really know how much injury a developing brain can take before it causes long-term damage.”

Of the 35 boys surveyed, 49% of them experienced concussions, despite wearing all of the mandated race equipment, including helmets, shatterproof goggles, protective boots and pants, and long-sleeve jerseys.

Additionally, 32 fractures were reported. Broken legs were the most common, but broken arms, collarbones, and ankles were also reported.

Among those who experienced lower extremity fractures, 80% had to undergo surgery.

“If it was my child I probably wouldn’t allow [them to do motocross],” said Dr. Pena.

However, Dr. Arena believes that “the sport can be made safer.” Improved helmet design and rule changes to the sport that emphasize the risk of head injury are just two things he suggests to make the sport safer.

The findings were presented on Sunday, Oct. 23, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in San Francisco. However, these results have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. In the meantime, the results should be considered preliminary.

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October 17, 2015 2:30 pm

Just how to Improve Skills for Sixth Graders

Many individuals don’t learn how to produce a five paragraph article. However, writing an essay certainly will be achieved adhering to a straightforward format for almost any essay question, and is not incidental. Things You Will Need pen paper Spellchecker computer Guidelines Formulate your introduction. An introduction’s objective is to show the reader EXACTLY what will be mentioned within the outline. For instance, in case your dissertation question is ” how will you conserve money, and what strategies can you implement when doing this?”, you would spell out the concern: I conserve money in many different ways. Read more…


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