Picture this: you’ve packed up the RV and the family, and you decide to travel to Northern Ontario for a weekend of relaxation. Instead of heading to your regular campground, you decide to mix things up a bit and head to the dragway. Yep – you read right, the dragway. Camping, family togetherness and motorcycle racing are all available at King of the North Dragway and Event Park, located 15 minutes east of North Bay, Ontario.
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Alternatively, you can make this dragway and event park a destination along your motorcycle tour through Northern Ontario. Whether you plan to stay for the day or the weekend, this venue offers a wide range of events and activities for all ages.
The Bike & Sled Shootout is what brought me to King of the North Dragway. To be honest, I didn’t know much about this place because it just opened last year and I’m not from the area. I quickly realized this dragway and event park was a diamond in the rough – a rare gem that was planted in the middle of rugged cottage country and the beauty of Northern Ontario. Luckily for me, it was my job that weekend to explore the dragway, learn its story, and check out some awesome motorcycle drag racing. Little did I know that I would get the opportunity to take a bike down that glistening, oh-so-smooth dragstrip.
Not too long after I got to the King of the North Dragway, a beautiful custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle rolled in. I looked at my buddies, Chris and Jeff, and we all wondered the same thing: “Is he going to race that bike?!” Much to our excitement, he did, but first he made sure to give us a nice smoke show before tearing down the track. The smell of exhaust and molten rubber brought back childhood memories of watching my dad race at our local dragstrip.
Then, Russell, from Demented Cycle in North Bay asked me if I wanted to take his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 down the dragstrip. My eyes lit up at the chance to take this beautiful and powerful bike down 1/8 mile of sheer freedom. There were no speed limits and no risk of getting a ticket – how could anyone say no?! As soon as I conquered that 1/8-mile strip, I was hooked. My hands were shaking, my breath was shallow, and I was ready to get back on that bike again. Right then, I understood why people invested their hard earned time and money into this sport; the adrenaline rush was like nothing I’ve experienced before.
Being the curious person I am, I wanted to know more about what made this dragstrip King of the North. I chatted with Alex Cassel, 2013 points champion, who has travelled all over Ontario and beyond to drag race his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R. He enjoys the convenience of the local track, in addition to spending time with friends and family. I also met Brad Belford from Blackout Racing, who trailered his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R about four hours from Timmins, Ontario to get out on the IHRA-sanctioned 1/8 mile strip. The dragway features a downhill staging lane and an uphill shutdown, which allows for world class racing at this location.
Racer after racer told me how they appreciate the family-friendly atmosphere of the dragway, where they can enjoy a weekend of camping, entertainment and drag racing. This is a full drag racing facility in the forest, and is minutes away from crystal clear lakes, which offer great swimming, fishing, and boating.
That night, we drove to Cedar Gables Lodge, located five minutes from the track to enjoy a delicious steak dinner. I excitedly showed the owners of the lodge, Darcy and Joanne, video from my journey down the dragstrip. Over dinner, we chatted about upcoming events at the dragway, including the Shockwave jet truck the following weekend. I checked out the King of the North website, and saw that Nitro Harleys would be at the Shake the Lake event on August 22-24th. I quickly called my own family, who are all proud owners of Harley-Davidsons, to share the news of this event. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a weekend than camping with the people I love, and enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, and Northern hospitality at King of the North Dragway in Bonfield, Ontario.