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Editor & Publisher, CEO Jeff Burk
Managing Editor, COO Kay Burk
Editor at Large, Bret Kepner
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Motorcycle Editor, Tom McCarthy
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Editor & Publisher
CEO Jeff Burk
COO Kay Burk
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Director: Casey Araiza
Director: Dave Ferrato
Contact: Casey Araiza
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ET DRAG RACING
NEWS & ANALYSIS
motorcycle memo's w/Tom McCarthy
Looking forward to this season
Photos by: Tom McCarthy
Larry "Spiderman" McBride is hunting for his 17th Top Fuel motorcycle championship in 2017. Can anyone untangle his web and prevent this?
As we start to swing into the summer months of motorcycle drag racing, the action, like the weather, is starting to heat up. In NHRA Pro Stock motorcycle, the results from the first three events of the season show that two racers lead the way in a very tight field of competition.
At the season opening Gators, Eddie Krawiec won the first race of the year. At the Four-Wide Nationals, LE Tonglet, won the event and he scored another Wally at the Lucas Oil Southern Nationals. Going into the summer months, Krawiec leads in points with 306, followed by Tonglet with 291, Andrew Hines has 204, Scotty Pollacheck with 196, Joey Gladstone 188, Steve Johnson and Matt Smith are tied at 136 points each, Hector Arana Jr. 126, and Angelle Sampey is in the tenth spot with 114 championship points. There has been great racing and solid parity within the class of 2017 for NHRA P/S Motorcycles.
The appearance and competition of Joey Gladstone in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle has been a great thing for motorcycle drag racing in general. Seeing Joey on TV now, knowing he was one of the world’s fastest and quickest on a Pro Street bike long before he raced NHRA P/S motorcycle, is really a kick for Joey’s former Pro Street competition. Joey had some great bench racing sessions at the Man Cup season opening event where he was racing in Real Street and sportsman competition as well. This will be a year to remember for the Gladstone family and friends.
In Top Fuel Harley racing with the NHRA, after four of eight races completed, Jay Turner leads in points with 323, followed by Rickey House 259, Bobby Malloy 241, Kevin Boyer 159, Michael Pelrine 139, Tii Tharpe 112, Tracey Kile 92, Randall Andras 73, Andy Beauchemin 70, and Mike Beland in the tenth spot with 57 points. The next event will be Topeka Kansas on May 19-21, as the big T/F bikes enter the back half of their NHRA schedule. Jay the “Bull Dog” Turner will be tough to dethrone. His #1 plate on his T/F bike is not his first, nor likely his last. Anyone that wants to take it from him will really have to earn it.
In other sanction news, the IDBL season opening event that was set for April 21-23 was rained out at Budds Creek. Their next event is set for May 19-21 at Maryland International Raceway and hopefully Mother Nature will be in a better mood. Hat’s off to IDBL President Jack Korpela for pulling the plug on the event a few days before the race. Without question, he did the right thing with all things considered. Most importantly, the timely decision gave racers a chance to re-think their racing plans for the weekend and many racers who were headed for the IDBL event went further west, out of the rain band, and they attended the NHRDO event. While IDBL took it on the chin, they did what was right for motorcycle drag racing as a sport and they are to be commended for that.
As a result of the IDBL rain out, the NHDRO season opener at Muncie Dragway on April 21-23 was well attended by many of the heavy hitters. This was race #1 of NHDRO’s six event season. Interesting note: NHDRO is adding a 20-point bonus to the year-ending points totals of racers who have a perfect attendance at all NHDRO events in 2017. Their next event is May 12-14 at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Indy. Three weeks after their race, the big dogs come down off the porch to rumble.
The Man Cup motorcycle drag racing sanction gets back into action on the weekend of June 3-4, at Memphis International Raceway, in Millington, TN. Top Fuel bikes will lead the way with Larry “Spiderman” McBride seeking his 17th T/F bike championship. Larry’s 5-second performance at the Spring Cup, a stout 5.92 at 233 mph in qualifying (Q-3) and 5.91 at 238 during E-1 competition have set the pace for the Top Fuel bikes. There was a bunch of 6.0’s run by the other T/F bikes at the Spring Cup, but they will have to pick up the pace to catch the Spiderman, who will go quicker this race if conditions permit.
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 5 - May 2017
Michael Ray will have all eyes on him, every pass at Memphis for the Man Cup event on June 3-4. Will he run the first sub-seven second elapsed time in the Pro Fuel Harley class? His string of 7-0's at the Spring Cup event signal he's ready.
Of great interest at the coming Man Cup event will be the performance of Michael Ray, driving Johnny Vickers “Terminator” Pro Fuel Harley. Michael’s string of 7.0’s at the Man Cup event are a clear signal that the first ever 6-second elapsed time by a Pro Fuel Harley is about to happen. This will be a big moment in Pro Fuel Harley and motorcycle drag racing history.
The Pro Fuel Harleys are really what was known as “Pro Drag” from 1980 into the new era. It’s a carbureted, no-transmission class intended to help bring new racers and new blood into the Harley fuel racing classes. The first ever class champion way back when was Jim “Da Judge” McClure during the first season of Pro Drag class racing. Most motorcycle drag racing people know who Jim is and was: the man is a true American motorcycle drag racing legend. This class has come a long way from its 9- 8- 7-second roots. That technology and talent has brought it this far is just amazing.
It should be noted here that the future of Pro Fuel as a class is evolving just like the race bikes. There is a lot of open communication on social media lately about the rules of the class needing to keep pace with the performance of the motorcycles. Keeping costs of racing in line and parity between the teams is vital to class health and growth. The racers themselves are exchanging ideas on perhaps weight breaks and cubic inch potential developments that can have a big impact on the class. It’s vital that the sanctions all listen to the racers and work with the teams to do what’s best for the sport.
Memphis on June 3 and 4, if the weather is right, may see record performances in both Pro Fuel and Pro Street Motorcycle. In drag racing it’s all about the combination!
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