motorcycle memo's w/Tom McCarthy

European Strength in Numbers

Photos by Tom McCarthy

Bob Malloy


Recently on June 6-9, the Tierp Internationals were held at the stunning Tierp Arena in Sweden with fantastic results coming in showing the great strengths of motorcycle drag racing world-wide, especially “across the pond” in Europe.


While the records did fall, one thing I saw that most impressed me was the number of competitors and the quality of the competition that beset the fields in the various classes of FIM competition. For example, in Top Fuel motorcycle, eight Top Fuel bikes were present to do battle. In Top Fuel Twin, 14 bikes entered, in EDRS Pro Stock motorcycle five bikes entered and in NMC Super Street Bike (our equivalent of Pro Street) there were nine entries.  Not only did the professional classes show solid strength in numbers but their qualifying numbers were stout and a testament to the high level of performance European racers have achieved, much to their credit.


In the class of T/F motorcycle, Filippos Papafilippou of Greece, piloting the Gulf Oil Top Fuel motorcycle tuned by the Ian King-led team qualified #1 with a world class run of 5.786 at 224.14 MPH to set the top bench mark during Q-4. Interestingly enough, on that same pass, in the other lane was Rikard Gustafsson, who ran a stellar 5.85 at 247 MPH! Together they ran the quickest side-by-side T/F MC pass outside the USA. In Top Fuel Twin, Marcus Christiansen 6.42/213, Pro Stock motorcycle, Kalle Lyren 6.97/192, and in Super Street Bike Mathias Bohlin, 6.95 at 210 MPH. All of these #1 qualifiers would have qualified well at any race in the USA with the exception of the PS numbers, which given NHRA standards are tough as nails.


On race day, Papafilippou defeated Gustafsson in the final round, 6.63 to 6.70, in Super Twin, Marcus Christiansen defeated Gert-Jan Laseur, 6.48 to 8.0, in PS motorcycle Kalle Lyren 6.98 defeated Fredrick Fredlund 8.50, and in Super Street Bike Vesa Ruhanen won with an 8.03 pass after his opponent, Anders Blanck, unfortunately broke.


In other racing in the international arena; June 7-9, the Gulf Western Winter Nationals was held at Willowbank Raceway in Australia. This included the class of Top Bike as they refer to their Top Fuel motorcycle class in the land down under. Chris Matheson of Nitro Voodoo fame was on his “A game” for the event in posting a fine 6.036 during competition, his new personal best and the quickest ET for the Aussies. Matheson won the event and the championship points over veteran Jay Upton for a sixth title for his Nitro Voodoo team. USA notables Mitch Brown and Jack Korpela were in attendance for the event, giving a bit of USA flair to the mix.


May 31 to June 2, the XDA drag racing sanction held a very successful event at the VMP facility, bringing quality motorcycle drag racing to the masses in the Southeastern United States. This was race #2 of the six-event season for XDA and it was just as big a bash as their first event on April 26-28 on home turf at MDIR.


Over 690 entries were in competition for the weekend in the various XDA classes, the quickest of which is the powerful Orient Express Pro Street bikes. Jordan Hasse of Pennsylvania won the event with a 6.84 over Rodney Williford who broke. Rodney is currently leading in P/St points and will be tough to beat this year – as he is every year.


In DME-sponsored Real Street racing, Anibal Merced won with an excellent 7.76 over Brad Stinnet, who encountered difficulties. Anibal now leads in R/St points over Mark Hylton 235 to 214 championship points. The next XDA event will be June 21-23, at Maryland International Raceway.


In NHRA Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley competition, Tii Tharpe won the event in Topeka, KS, on June 9. Tii won the event over #1 qualifier Bobby Malloy who stepped up with a 6.34 during qualifying, but he banged a motor during the final round as Tii posted a 6.31 for the win.


Jack Romine continues to play a major role in the success of Beau Layne's TFH effort as he tunes the motorcycle at every event.


Eight bikes entered the fray at Topeka as this was race number 6 of a 10-race season for the Top Fuel Harley bikes. Going into the NHRA Bristol event (race #7), Beau Layne still leads in championship points with 322 points accumulated pre-Bristol, Doug Vancil stands in the #2 spot with 275 points and Tii Tharpe with 267 points. Rickey House (238), Jay Turner (227) and Bobby Malloy (218) are all still in shooting distance with four races remaining, but that door will start closing fast after the Bristol race.  While 18 different TFH contestants have entered NHRA Mello Yello racing this year, only the top six have a shot at the championship right now.


AMRA drag racing for the “All Harley” crowd will continue on June 29-30 at Beech Bend, KY, for the Summer Shootout Rally and Drags. For details please see the website for details



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