motorcycle memo's w/Tom McCarthy

Setting the Stage for Tomorrow

Photos by Tom McCarthy

McKinney Racing, a long-time supporter of PDRA, is pushing hard for rule changes in PXM class racing.


As the motorcycle drag racing season of 2018 moves into the month of October, the actions in the preceding month are not only setting the stage for the legends of this Fall, but for the 2019 season. Big decisions are in motion currently that will impact the whole sport of motorcycle drag racing.


Recent messages exchanged with the National Hot Rod Association have revealed that a ban on blower bikes for 2019 in the Top Fuel Harley class has NOT been imposed, as of 10 October, 2018. No such ban has been implemented, but multiple sources have told me it has been under consideration for some time. Truth be told, there was some very weighty discussion by powerful parties at the recent NHRA US Nationals at Indy in September. However, contrary to rumor central, no official such ruling has been made at this time. If or when such an announcement is made by NHRA, the results will be posted at DRO by Agent 1320.


Another sanction considering changes in the rules relative to the topic of supercharging is the PDRA, who admitted turbo bikes into the PXM drag bike ranks at the start of the 2018 season. On various social media outlets during the first ten days of October major established PXM teams, who have back-boned PDRA PXM motorcycle drag racing for years now, have been in open revolt if PDRA did not make rule changes ASAP.


The reason for this is basically the nitrous oxide-aided bike teams are hearing the frightening sounds of the turbo bikes spooling-up. According to the racers, the nitrous bikes are on the ragged edge of what they are potentially capable of when running in the 3.90’s elapsed time zone. The new turbocharged bikes are indeed “brand new” and it is already clearly visible these bikes can and will run 3.80’s and perhaps deeper, when they are fully developed to their potential.


The NOS bikes have filled out the competition ladders for several seasons of PDRA racing now and, when the bike counts were waning, PDRA announced in 2018 to allow the turbo bikes in to boost the class strength. While this has increased participation in the bike-count department, the parity of supercharging versus NOS as power adder is now in question.


This same problem has plagued different car classes of competition many times and now it has reared its ugly head in motorcycle drag racing. Some racers are calling for two separate classes for the bikes; others are seeking parity by rule changes. Once a decision is made in this matter, Agent 1320 will have more to write about here at Drag Racing Online. The most important thing to consider at this time is, the sanction has heard the racers and they are willing to work with them to resolve these issues.


I checked in with Bob Harris of PDRA and he replied via email, “There will be rules changed before the race next week in VMP (Oct 18-21). This off season, we will look at all the data and options along with motor and chassis builders to make the PDRA bike class as good as it can be.”


As some sanctions are winding down by October, one major motorcycle drag racing sanction has wrapped up its year of competition and it’s time to salute the winners of the various classes of XDA motorcycle drag racing competition. The XDA, in its first full year of operation after it evolved from MIROCK to IDBL to XDA during its metamorphosis, had a very successful 2018, despite having to battle Mother Nature all season, as many sanctions have.

Spencer Claycomb has totally dominated Real Street racing during the 2018 season wrapping up the championship with XDA and is all but out of reach in Man Cup competition.


In XDA Pro Street Rodney Williford went into the last race of the XDA season and, while four other racers were within striking distance, Williford went all the way to the final round and won the event. And with that win he wrapped up another championship season in Pro Street.


In the Real Street class, Spencer Claycomb so dominated the class all year, he had the championship wrapped up before the last race of the season even began.


Spencer is also accomplishing this with the Man Cup sanction. With one remaining race still on the Man Cup schedule, Spencer is ahead of Budd Harrod by 144 points. He only needs to enter the race and break the beam on race day to cement his second #1 plate for the year in Real Street.


The 4.60 class for XDA was won by Richard Gadson by one slim point over Michael Thyen. Richard had the points lead going into the event and in racing action, Richard went out early, giving Thyen and others a shot at the title. But Mother Nature cut the event short. Michael Thyen was still in the race and may well have gone all the way, but such was not the case. When the points were totaled up, Richard Gadson was still standing as #1.


In 5.60 class racing, Jeremy Teasley won the championship and he also won the #1 plate in Crazy 8’s this year with XDA. In Top Sportsman, Wilson Burkhead cornered the championship, in Pro ET, Dale Hamilton, and in Street ET Dustin Lee won another championship, likely making him the most prolific winning sportsman motorcycle drag racer of this era.


XDA will be back in 2019 with a six-race season, beginning April 26-28 at MIR and ending at Budds Creek on September 22.


Just ahead, on November 15-18, the Man Cup motorcycle drag racing sanction will be hosting the annual World Finals event, featuring drag bikes . 



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