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Dave Vantine , out of the shadows and into the light of Top Fuel bike competition.
Dave Vantine of Hamilton, New York began motorcycle drag racing twenty-seven years ago in the sportsman ranks. Twenty-five years later he entered the class of Top Fuel bike in the year 2013 and has been working diligently in the shadows of veterans like Larry McBride, Greg Pollard, Chris Hand, and Sam Wills since his entry into the class.
With a few seasons under his belt and more than one five second run to his credit, he's now emerged from the shadows as a valid threat to compete for his first Top Fuel motorcycle championship in 2015 with his own Top Fuel bike. In March of 2015, Dave took full possession of the former Pollard Nitrosports bike and is now a force to be reckoned with in his own right.
The 52 year old Mr. Vantine has been on two wheels since he was a little guy. His first bike, a 1970 Yamaha 60, was certainly not his last. His love of motorcycles and his need for speed brought him into motorcycle drag racing in the year 1987, when he made his first passes at Esta Safety Park drag strip, in Cicero, NY, at the age of 25. Dave started off in the sportsman ranks in motorcycle drag racing, as most drag racers do, bracket racing, and he advanced into the class of Pro Gas until he made the step up into the professional ranks by making the move to the Pro Mod (P/M) class in the early 1990’s.
It was there that Dave began to acclimate to motorcycle drag racing at truly high speeds coupled with low elapsed times. “I made a move basically from a 9.20 gas bike to a 7 second Pro Mod nitrous bike. It was a radical move. It was really hang on, get adapted, stay focused and that’s how I made the move from the sportsman ranks into the Pro’s about twenty two years ago.”
He started getting the bug for a Top Fuel bike in 1996. “After I won the IHRA P/M bike championship in 96, I had become pretty good friends with Larry McBride bout that time and one day I called Larry up and asked him if he ever needed some extra hands to help out. He said yes and that was my introduction to the class. I started going to races with Larry and Steve, helping them out. Along the way I got to know Tony Lang a bit and his wife Gina (formerly - Trett), and I was I big fan of her dad, Elmer Trett for years. So by my long time association with Larry, I got to interact with the Chris Hand team, Ron Webb; all of them. Top Fuel is really like a small family of teams, it’s a close circle of friends and families really.”