motorcycle memo's w/Tom McCarthy

Man Cup World Finals: That winning feeling

On Sunday, November 18, 2018, the Man Cup Mann Hill Garage annual World Finals wrapped up the year in motorcycle drag racing and it generated that winning feeling for not only the 16 class contestants, but for the class champions as well. It’s true that little can match the rush of racing once a racer completes a run and turns off onto the return road, but this is also true of that winning feeling only team members can truly feel when all the ridiculous hours of devotion and busted knuckles are suddenly paid in full with a win light – exactly when a team needs it most. There is simply no other feeling in the world quite like it.


One could describe this as suddenly being ecstatic or elated, but words just fall short to describe the spontaneous eruption of emotions from within persons so devoted to their passion in life. Words are just insufficient to convey the message of what people are feeling, the very moment they win. It means so much to the few, the proud, the brave, who give everything they can to produce their best efforts, in hopes of a win light.


The World Finals, held at South Georgia Motorsports Park, in Adel, Georgia, from November 15-18, was attended by hundreds of drag bikes and spectators from all over the world, once again making it the “World Class” event it truly is. There were racers from Aruba, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the UK, Greece, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Puerto Rico, and Canada, and many contestants, as well as fans, from the USA. Not every country could, of course, make their way into the winner’s circle at the end of the event, but they all surely gave it their best effort.


For the record, the winners by class were: Mitch Brown in Top Fuel, Tak Shigematsu in T/F-Twin, Kirby Apathy in Pro Fuel, Ashley Ownes in Pro Mod, Rob Garcia in Pro Open, Frankie Stotz in Pro-Street, Marcus Hylton in Real Street, Tony Mullen in 4.60, David Fletcher in Super Comp, Nicolas Bowling III in Top Gas, Barry Pryor Sr, in Crazy 8’s, Butch Norwood in Street Fighter, Craig Adams in Super Eliminator, Joe Deck in Pro ET, Ken Strauss in V-Twin, and Garvey Werlman in Street ET.


As for that winning feeling let’s look at what that looked like for some of the teams involved.

Ian King’s Gulf Oil Racing team seen here are watching the win light about to happen as King streaks to victory over Larry McBride during E-2 of Sunday’s action. Ian took out Sam Wills in E-1 with a 5.89 to Sam’s 6.20, then he beat The Spiderman on home turf with a strong 5.95 pass that his team desperately needed. They race hard throughout the 2017 season here in the USA without the results they knew they could generate, so this was a very big round win for the Gulf Oil team. Mitch Brown may have won the event, but for Ian King Racing – this was huge.

The celebration was intense from the match up of Preston Bartlett of LSR racing vs Sam White, when Bartlett took the win. Only 7 points separated Bartlett and White coming into this event, so when they squared off in E-2, it was a true championship round of racing. When Bartlett’s win light came on, his team really let everyone know how they felt about winning this one.

Pro Street racer Frankie Stotz dominated the Man Cup World Finals Pro Street class with consecutive runs of 6.607, 6.608, 6.601 and 6.603, to clean the table like a pool-hall shark. He not only won the event and set a new world record for the class in the process, but he won the DME All Star Shootout as well, taking home 10 Large in the process. His dad, Kent Stotz, pictured here, his face is etched with the unmistakable marks of what it means to this father to see what his son has accomplished. While they are a team, and dad calls the tune-up shots, it’s Frankie Stotz who pilots the bike and produces the results. It was Father’s Day in November of 2018 for this man at this race.

Sverre Dhal of Norway made the long haul to bring his home-made Top Fuel motorcycle to the United States of America to race against the best of the best. He beat Dave Vantine in a seldom seen throttle-fest, where both contestants are on and off the throttle, for the full distance of the 1320 feet of race track. He was eliminated during E-2 by the event winner Mitch Brown, but Dahl and his team gave a great showing of how strong the European T/F bikes really are. Rumor has it we may see more of him in 2019.  



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