motorcycle memo's w/Tom McCarthy

World Finals, world class racing

Photos by Tom McCarthy

On Monday, Nov. 25, the Fuel Tech World Finals, run by the Man Cup motorcycle drag racing sanction, wrapped up six days of racing to conclude the event at South Georgia Motorsports Park. There were delays due to weather from both precipitation complications as well as falling temps and, of course, when close to 800 participants are in competition, there will be complications. There were over 100 professionals in the seven pro-bike ranks alone.


This was one of the longest and most gratifying motorcycle drag racing events for hard-core racers and fans to attend. There was many a new personal best and record set. But none more spectacular than Larry “Spiderman” McBride’s test & tune pass on Thursday evening.


It was 7:15 PM, the lights were coming on and the Cycle Specialist team led by the McBride brothers really put the spurs to their Pingel Top Fuel motorcycle on a test pass. The bike’s 1.0 on the 60 feet was just what they wanted and the half-track 3.67 @ 215.31 MPH was just staggering. Then an incredulous 1.83 seconds later, the SGMP scoreboards lit up: 5.507 @ 264.96 MPH. That was the quickest and fastest pass in the history of Top Fuel motorcycle drag racing. This is truly an omen of things to come.


Larry set the new world record for Top Fuel motorcycles just a month earlier at Rockingham Dragway, during the MTC Nationals with a 5.67 @ 263.10 MPH.

As the World Finals unfolded, Larry qualified #1 with a 5.62 @ 261 MPH. He met up with Ian King of the UK on the beautiful Gulf Oil Top Fuel bike in the finals and together they delivered a stunning side-by-side race everyone who witnessed will long remember.


When they launched their Top Fuel bikes on Monday afternoon, everyone could see they were on a hard run, with Ian gaining quickly through the mid course. From the starting line area it was impossible to tell who was in the lead late in the run. When the scoreboards lit up with 5.929 for Spiderman and 5.924 for Ian, with the win-light lit for team McBride, it was bedlam on the starting line for the Cycle Specialist team. Larry took the win on a holeshot, .199 to .212, and it was a great drag race indeed.

Tommy Grimes


To further validate the high level of competition for the Fuel Tech World Finals, Jason Pridemore of Ohio on his homemade Top Fuel Harley was the #1 qualifier with a personal best, 6.17 elapsed time @ 208.23 MPH in the Pingel Top Fuel Twin class. His opponent in the final round was Tommy Grimes of North Carolina, who is driving for Per Bengtsson of Sweden. The Swedish entry, known as “The Beast” is a two-cylinder vertical twin, built by Mr. Bengtsson and they ran a personal best in testing of 6.18 at the race, so they felt confident they were ready for Jason Pridemore.


Tommy got the jump on Jason, .108 to .203 and he never looked back. Jason spun the tire just after the launch and Grimes stayed hooked up for 1320 feet and produced a winning elapsed time of 6.60 @ 218 MPH. It was the first World Finals win for the Swedish team and it was very gratifying for them after crossing the Atlantic Ocean, just to compete against the best in USA.


The international pro teams were not the only ones taking names and kicking butt at the World Finals. Team Aruba, which arrived with two overseas freight containers and 29 bikes, came to win as well. And win they did while facing some of the top ET racers in the USA, with over 100 bikes in the class.


Liska Racing Street ET was every bit the brawl everyone expected it to be at the World Finals. With round after round of furious racing, this was the class Team Aruba sunk their teeth into and they succeeded. By the end of the race, two members of Team Aruba survived the fray to meet up in the final round. Rondley Calorina and Benjamin Somers of Aruba matched up with dial-in numbers of 9.36 and 9.91 respectively.


At the hint of a green light, Somers was away first with a .024 RT and Calorina responded with a .044 and they were glued side-by-side all the way down the track. At the stripe, Calorina’s 9.63 was quicker than Somers’s 10.32 to the dial-in and victory belonged to Rondley Calorina on this day. The celebration by Team Aruba was ecstatic, with national flags waving and beer flowing. Once again the people of Aruba showed great team spirit and great racing skills in winning the class.


The race took six days to complete; it looks like the motorcycle drag racing version of “Drag Week” has finally come to the two-wheeled wonders.

In other news, on Nov. 17, Angelle Sampey announced she has re-signed with Vance & Hines Racing and will be back with the team in 2020. Her teammates did well in 2019. Andrew Hines won the 2019 championship, his sixth, Eddie Krawiec finished fifth and Angelle finished her season in seventh place.


As for motorcycle drag racing going into the 2020 season, there are no less than six major drag racing sanctions hosting over two dozen races all across the USA. Anyone looking to go motorcycle drag racing in any class has much to choose from coast to coast. Please see the respective websites of your sanction of choice, for details. 



official DRO sponsors

 © 1999-2020 - Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source LLC - 607 Seib Drive, O'Fallon, MO 63366 Phone: 636.272.6301 - Privacy Policy

fficial ponsors