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On Sunday afternoon, September 13, 2015, during the IDBL, Orient Express, US Nationals, an unusual event occurred that evolved from a rather usual set of circumstances that says a lot about the extended family that comprises the sport of motorcycle drag racing. No one could have seen this coming in advance, yet here it is; an unusual result from a rather usual set of circumstances in drag racing.
The aftermath of this is a big part of what makes motorcycle drag racing great - a shared sense of people coming together for a greater common good. It's the sum of all things considered that when added up equal this greater good. It all started with a bang.
At exactly 1:07 in the afternoon on that fateful Sunday, two Top Fuel bikes crossed the finish line at Atco Raceway in New Jersey, one smoking the rear tire, the other smoking and in flames. Dave Vantine of New York was smoking the rear tire of his T/F bike trying desperately to stay ahead of Larry “Spiderman” McBride, of Newport News, Va., during their match racing contest. Dave did just fine with his 1320-foot burnout. Larry in the other lane, did not fair quite so well.
Somewhere around the 1,000 foot mark, during this pedal fest, Larry's T/F bike went bang as a catastrophic engine failure erupted like Mount Vesuvius, with similar results as the whole top was blown off Larry’s Top Fuel bike motor. While under power, at high speed, Larry's motor grenaded and the entire short block assembly was exposed as the motor split in half at the deck height, with the actual engine case deck itself blasted away from the motor.