motorcycle memo's w/Tom McCarthy

Hot Times in the Summertime

In the summer of 2018, a very hot one indeed, the motorcycle drag racing sanction now known as the XDA or Xtreme Dragbike Association was coming in hot on the weekend of July 27-29 for their 18th annual, WPGC 95.5 FM Bike Fest. A whopping 789 entries filled into nine classes giving drag bike racers a weekend of fast and furious action at their home track, Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek, MD.


The premier class of Orient Express Pro Street Motorcycle did not disappoint this weekend with 17 of the world’s quickest Pro Street motorcycles going head to head. Rodney Williford’s 6.61 and 224.73 were the quickest and fastest of the weekend for the class. But steady goes to the win as Chris Connelly took home the W on Sunday.

Rodney Williford


As an interesting side note, Rodney Williford of Williford Racing made four runs on the weekend in the 6.60’s in the blazing heat of mid-July, and set a new XDA record for the Pro/Street bike class. His 6.61 elapsed time is currently #1 on the GOAT list (Greatest Of All Time). Nine of the top ten on the GOAT list are turbocharged; eight are Suzuki Hayabusa’s, one Honda and a one very cool, old school Suzuki GS, Nitrous bike. Pro Street – not for the meek.


Another outstanding achievement of the event was the 18 entries in DME Real Street racing class and the re-setting of both ends of the Real Street records. Going into the event, the elapsed time record was 7.659 and the MPH record was 193.16. Eddie Chapman, of Pocomoke City, MD, re-set the marks to 7.654 @ 195.17 MPH. Jeremy Teasley defeated Spencer Claycomb for the class win on Sunday.


Top Fuel motorcycle match racing was also on tap for this event. Larry “Spiderman” McBride and Dave Vantine put on a show for the drag bike fans with 5-second elapsed times and runs near 250 MPH. Larry’s quickest of the show was a stout 5.76 @ 250mph flat.


Speaking of America’s favorite arachnid, he performed with great gusto at the Man Cup Fast by Gast Nationals on July 13-15 at Dragway 42 in Ohio. Larry qualified #1 with a spectacular 5.88 @ 241 followed closely by Pingel Top Fuel series points leader Dave Vantine’s 6.03 elapsed time. The two titans of T/F motorcycle met for the final round match up on Sunday, but the event was halted by a downpour with many of the finalists in the lanes Sunday evening.


A welcome addition to the Man Cup Top Fuel bikes at Dragway 42 was the first Man Cup appearance of the T/F Harley team of Jason Pridemore. His stunning blown and injected Top Fuel Twin was there more for testing than actual competition, as the bike has undergone major changes in the last 14 months, so the D-42 appearance was really shake-down time for team Pridemore. While the numbers they produced were not the big numbers they are hunting for, there was a measure of success in getting the bike to produce consistently improving numbers without hurting anything major. The fans and racers got an eye-full just in seeing the beautifully hand-crafted monster.


As for monsters, Preston Bartlett of Florida is currently the point’s leader in Orangeburg Cycle Racing Pro/Fuel class and he’s getting a creditable challenge in defending his 2017 #1 plate from Sam White, who recently purchased Johnny Vickers “Terminator” bike. Sam qualified number one with a fine 7.32 and was more than Preston could hold off in their final round match up. Sam beat Preston 7.22 vs 7.32 for his first win of 2018. If Sam White can keep the momentum going there are two races remaining in the Man Cup series this season, September 14-16 at GALOT and November 15-18 at SGMP for the World Finals.

Tii Tharpe


In NHRA, Top Fuel Harley action, there is but one race remaining in the series as of this writing to be run on September 3rd, 2018 at the NHRA US Nationals. This will be the final points race of 2018 for the Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harleys. Race ten-of-ten will be needed to decide this championship. Going into the final round of the series, Doug Vancil of NM is out front of Tii Tharpe by 18 points. Jay Turner is in third place, 85 points behind the leader.


It’s very interesting to note here, Doug Vancil of New Mexico has been in the front of the points lead since the first race of the season. Tii Tharpe and Jay Turner missed the first race of the year this season when their trailer broke down and they could not make the trip from North Carolina to California in time. If they had made the first race, there is little doubt that the current points standings may well be quite different.


Technically Turner still has a shot at becoming the number one plate holder and defending his current #1 plate from the 2017 season. But his teammate Tharpe has the best chance of knocking off Vancil on the Vance & Hines Racing Top Fuel Harley, from the top spot. One of these three veteran racers will be the M/T Tires, Top Fuel Harley champion come Labor Day, September 3.


The NHRA has been running the US Nationals at the Indianapolis Raceway facility since 1961. The Top Fuel Harleys are slated to make two qualifying runs on Saturday and Sunday at the Big Go. Then on Monday, the biggest drag race of the year will decide who’s #1 for the Top Fuel Harleys.  



official DRO sponsors

 © 1999-2018 - Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source LLC - 607 Seib Drive, O'Fallon, MO 63366 Phone: 636.272.6301 - Privacy Policy

fficial ponsors