motorcycle memo's w/Tom McCarthy

The Building Trade is Busy

Coming into the start of the 2018 motorcycle drag racing season, with April only one month away, I’m happy to report the building trade is very busy. Not the housing trade mind you, but the drag bike building trade. New builds for 2018 are wrapping up and some are already testing, also upgrades abound adding to the anticipation for a stout drag bike racing season.


Hot off the rumor mill: A certain pair of Hayabusa pilots have teamed up with a top chassis maker to create a new monster that is targeting Man Cup Pro Open and PDRA competition, with a bar-bike that potentially can outrun anything in its respective classes of P/O and PXM. How quickly they can de-bug the new build and get it running to potential is another story entirely, but when it comes out, get the cheese and crackers ready, much whining is expected.


Also red hot from the rumor mill: A former Top Fuel motorcycle standout has a new bike being created from the rails up by the McBride brothers, which will be in effect a second generation of Larry’s “Star” motorcycle, which produced a recent 5.61 elapsed time: the quickest in T/F motorcycle to date. And that’s not all that is under construction at Cycle Specialist in Newport News, VA. A man from the “Land Down Under” has contracted the McBride brothers for a new T/F bike and that is also under construction. Not to mention a few sand-draggers. Right now Larry McBride is about the busiest he’s ever been since he opened the doors there in early 1980’s.

Speaking of new T/F bike builds, Sam Wills of Innovative Frame Works in Oklahoma City has a new Harley Top Fuel bike almost ready for Armon Furr. Armon raced hard in 2017 and he’s ready to up the ante for this season. With close to 200 CID in the frame rails, he headed for the deep-six club and that’s a fact. By this season’s end we should see qualified fields under the 6.50’s. A recent head count of Top Fuel Harley teams/bikes currently up and running shows that there are almost three dozen TFH bikes that could show up for an event, if the planets lined up.


Sam Wills and the Nitro Conspiracy team have announced that they have ceased Top Fuel motorcycle racing competition and everything is up for sale: the bike, the transporter, everything. Sam will be busy building bikes from here on and working as a consultant to several Top Fuel bike teams. You’ll still see Sam and Mike Dryden at the races, just Sam will not be in his Vanson Leathers competing for points anymore.


NOTE: This does NOT mean Sam will not race again. Yes, there is something else brewing here, in the Skunk Works. He’s not retired, not yet.

Another new build due out in 2018 is the latest creation of Mike Romine for Doug Vancil and the Vance & Hines racing team. Just after the NHRA Winternationals, Mike headed over to see John Storace at Weekend Frame in Texas and picked up two new chassis from John. The current bike Doug is racing is the “Let’s get out there and get some points” bike and the new VHR machine is now officially under construction. It will test during this season and will be out…when it’s ready.


At Johnny Vickers shop, Hawaya Racing, Johnny reported in: “It’s been a busy off season, we have been machining up parts, getting inventory up. We may have two T/F bike builds this coming out from us this year, my new POW/MIA bike will be out and we have more on the drawing board. My new P/F carburetor will likely undergo some testing at Valdosta in April.”


Grothus Drag Bikes reported: “We have two new builds going on at this time, one is for Pro Mod. We had a busy winter, our Dominator button brackets (handlebar mounts for electronic buttons and switches) and billet throttle sets are stocked up. Brunson will be out to defend his 2017 Man Cup Pro Mod title. GDB will continue to support the backbone of the drag bike world -- the sportsman racers. We will be at all Man Cup events in 2018 with our bus/trailer/parts display.


Project Scootch – John “Red” Rhea of Nashville, TN, a long time Top Fuel Harley racer brought an interesting project to Jay Turner Racing over the winter months; his TFH had a weight issue with close to 50 LBS of ballast needed on one side of the bike to bring it into balance. So, Project Scootch was launched to scootch the motor-pod assembly over close to three-quarters of an inch, to off-set the weight imbalance. This involved quite a bit of cutting, welding and fabrication, which JTR was more than happy to do for Red. When the fabrication work was done completed, the frame was properly blasted, primed and painted fresh. Once again the bike is in showroom condition and tested fine at Bowling Green, KY, just before the 2018 Gators with Chris Smith in the hot seat.


Sanction News Reports: Man Cup is ready to go and on April 6-8 they will lead the way in all bike class motorcycle drag racing action. They kick off the 2018 season at SGMP as they do every year and have a new treat for the Top Fuel Twins: The official Pingel Top Fuel Twin 5-Second Club has been announced. Any Top Fuel Twin and they can be in T/F or T/F-Twin class, there is a $1,000 cash bonus for the first T/F-Twin to run a 5-second elapsed time pass during Man Cup sanctioned competition. Wayne and Donna Pingel leaped at the chance to sponsor the award and it will honor the first five racers who run in the fives, with a T/F-Twin, during Man Cup sanctioned competition.


The NHDRO is getting a lot of play on social media. It’s very loyal racer and fan base are hot for the 2018 season, which kicks off April 13-15 at Atlanta, the weekend after the Man Cup opener.


XDA (Xtreme Dragbike Association) the latest creation from Jason Miller and Miller Brothers Productions (MBP), is set to launch its season, April 27-29 at Budds Creek, MD. Jason has been busy securing class sponsors and is excited to return to motorcycle drag racing in 2018. XDA has a six-event slate for the year with races at MIR, VMP, and Atco.


OSCR-V, Tyler Crossnoe’s excellent Outlaw Street Car Reunion V will kick off at Bowling Green, KY, on April 18-22 at Beech Bend Raceway Park. Just as last year, the Pro Street bikes will be in attendance and they are expected to be there in force. Last year, Williford Racing was there and Rodney’s 6.69 and 6.68 right off the trailer during Thursday testing set the pace. It was a great race and hopefully at Bowling Green the P/St motorcycles will bowl em over again this year.  



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