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It was no surprise that when the Midwest’s largest motorcycle drag racing series, NHDRO brought its high-horsepower, two-wheeled road show to the St. Louis area’s Gateway Motorsports Park for June 3-5’s Motorcycle Madness, sparks would fly.
But heavy overnight and Saturday morning rainfall left rubber peeling off of Gateway’s quarter mile. No problem -- nearby St. Charles, Missouri-based Rudy Sanzottera jumped in with his Quicktime Motorsports teammates and the track crew to completely burn and scrape the track, and then re-prep before racing could start Saturday afternoon.
And it was worth it. Thanks to this effort, a firm foundation was laid for record-breaking action, courtesy of Indy winner Mark Paquette (who ran new NHDRO McIntosh Machine & Fabrication Pro Street records of 6.772 at 210.90 MPH at Indy). Paquette bumped those records to 6.769 and 214.28 mph in drastically changing weather conditions.
Saturday was brutally humid at swampy Gateway, but Sunday was a whole different ballgame—a strong cross-breeze pushing along dry, cooler air over a track that was really rubbering-in.
After qualifying number 1 with a 6.84 at 213 on his turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa, Paquette faced Huntsville runner-up Justin Doucet in round 1 of eliminations. Doucet was struggling Saturday with a bad spin immediately off the starting line. He seemed to have it solved with a timing change while testing in the grudge session, but Sunday morning’s launch was pretty familiar and no match for Paquette—who leapt into the .70s with a 6.78 on a round 2 bye.
Paquette met Gabe Fredrick—who’s found 6.90 consistency—in the semis, but this time Frederick spun at the eighth mile. Not that 6.90 would have been good enough against Paquette’s 6.79. Hard-working Sanzottera fell to Paquette’s teammate Bud Yoder in the other semi.
Defending Pro Street champion Yoder is getting back up to speed after experimenting with his bike, but he’s not quite at Paquette’s pace. Yoder spun in second in the right lane while Paquette ran his best number of the weekend for the win in the left.