motorcycle memo's w/Tom McCarthy

Records Set in Europe and Other News

Filippos Papafilippou (Ivan Sansom photo)


In World Top Fuel Motorcycle News: Filippos Papafilippou of Athens, Greece, recently had a most auspicious debut as a Top Fuel motorcycle pilot in competition at the “Main Event” in the United Kingdom, at Santa Pod Raceway. [See complete coverage of the event at here.] During Memorial Day weekend, on Saturday, May 26, 2018, “Flying Fil” as he is affectionately known by fellow racers, clocked in with a stellar 5.782 elapsed time at 236.16 MPH on his Q-2 pass, while piloting the Gulf Oil team prepared Top Fuel bike formerly owned by 10-time European T/F bike champion Ian King. Mr. Papafilippou purchased King’s famous Top Fuel motorcycle and took on ownership at the end of the 2017 racing season.


On Mr. Papafilippou’s first full pass of the day, he logged in a 6.099 at 214.08 ON HIS FIRST FULL PASS ON A TOP FUEL MOTORCYCLE! His first two runs on Ian King’s old Top Fuel bike are historic for several reasons. Number one, in the history of T/F motorcycle drag racing, no new guy on a T/F bike has ever recorded a 6.0 run, that’s just “supercalafragileisticexpealidocious” in and of itself. But as to his next pass, the 5.78 with a 2…. That run is the fourth quickest elapsed time on the GOAT List (Greatest Of All Time) in the history of Top Fuel motorcycle drag racing. In just one day, Filippos Papafilippou of Athens, Greece, surpassed Korry Hogan’s career best and served notice to the T/F motorcycle teams in the USA, “You are not alone.”


Flying Fil, or Filippos Papafilippou if you prefer, is a 46-year-old successful business man from Greece, who loves drag racing. He’s been involved with the sport since 2000, and has been motorcycle drag racing since 2013. He is internationally well known for his Funny Bike drag racing efforts and he is the proud owner of the most bizarre pass ever made in motorcycle drag racing history. He once had a mishap the resulted in a mid-track slight collision that resulted in his being thrown from his drag bike. He had the great fortune and presence of mind to land on his opponent’s wheelie bars, and took hold. He then rode out his opponent’s pass and ended up at the end of the race track on his opponent’s drag bike!


Papafilippou’s birthday happens to be November 5th and with a little more luck perhaps Flying Fil will be in the USA on that date this year making 5-second elapsed time runs at the Man Cup World Finals in Valdosta, Georgia. Larry “Spiderman” McBride may have the world’s quickest drag bike with a 5.61 elapsed time, but with a 5.78 for the Gulf Oil team featuring Filippos Papafilippou, Larry has company and five months to get ready for the battle for Top Fuel motorcycle supremacy coming in November.

Papafilippou (right) clowns around with Rikard Gustaffson back in 2014. (Ivan Sansom photo)


In other International T/F motorcycle drag racing news, Rikard Gustaffson of Falkenberg, Sweden, attended the Tierp International event held at Tierp Arena in Sweden on June 7-10 and turned things up a bit. He had low ET with a fine 5.81 and Top Speed of the event for motorcycles with a 237 MPH pass and won the event. Those are world-class numbers by anyone’s measure. If Rikard and Flying Fil can get the backing to come to the USA for the Man Cup World Finals this November, they can really turn up the heat on the world’s fastest Arachnid.

Dave Vantine  (Tom McCarthy photo)


And speaking of Spiderman, Mr. Larry McBride, Old Spidey has his web full already with challenges in the USA as Dave Vantine has trailered Larry McBride in the first two consecutive Man Cup events of 2018. That’s two wins in a row for Larry’s understudy who has clearly learned his lessons well. Larry was the #1 qualifier with a 5.84 and lost to Dave in the final round after breaking traction at the Spring Cup event. Then it was Déjà vu all over again at the Rockingham DME Nationals, race number two of the season as McBride again was low qualifier with a 5.84 and lost to Vantine in the final round, 6.22 vs 6.36. With two races and as many wins for Vantine in a five-race season, race #3 will be pivotal in July when the Man Cup rolls into Dragway 42 in Ohio, July 13-15.


Man Cup’s DME Nationals went into the books June 2-3, as Steve Earwood and his staff at Rockingham Dragway hosted the fastest and quickest bikes in the USA. McBride’s 5.84 @ 245.81 in Pingel Top Fuel motorcycle action was evidence of this and in Real Street, Spencer Claycomb posted stunning numbers, 7.72 @ 184.37, to set the pace in qualifying. It was hot and humid all weekend providing challenging conditions for all the racers.

Tyler Wilson  (Tom McCarthy photo)


Rising to the challenge, among the many at the Man Cup race was Tyler Wilson in Pro Fuel motorcycle. Tyler won the class by beating number one plate holder Preston Bartlett 7.40 vs 7.46 in the final round. Tyler is a former Man Cup number one plate holder as well and he could pose a significant threat to Preston’s #1 plate defense if Tyler makes the next race and goes deep.


In other M/C drag racing news, NHDRO held an event at Gateway Motorsports Park just outside St. Louis, MO, on June 8-10. The sanction run by Brian Welch had good attendance for the event. In the Pro ranks, Gaige Herrera defeated Frankie Stotz for the Pro/Street win, and Chris Cutsinger took out Brad Messer for the win in Pro Open.


Going into the Thunder Nationals June 15-17, the Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harleys have 16 bikes pre-entered for the class. The sanction had to cap the number of entries into the first motorcycle event, the Gatornationals, at 20 bikes because there is only so much pit area space at a big Mello Yello event, so capping it at 20 was a necessity. However, 16 to 20 pre-entries vying for an eight-bike ladder will not go on for long if the ladder remains at eight contestants. I’m sure the NHRA is giving thoughts to next season’s competition ladder. On the other side of the coin, having a “First Alternate” always available for the ladder is a big plus on Sunday when a Q-4 racer breaks and can’t make the show on race day. This is a good situation for all concerned.

Also in NHRA action, LE Tonglet (far lane) took out Andrew Hines in the final round of NHRA PSM action at Virginia Motorsports Park with a great .006 RT to Andrew’s fine .029 light that was not enough for the head-hunting LE Tonglet. This coupled with a 6.841 for LE to Drew’s 6.848, was the sum of all fears for the VHR camp. What a great drag race! (Chris Haverly photo) 



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