motorcycle memo's w/Tom McCarthy

NHRA TFH Champion, EU FIM Finals and More

On September 2, 2019, Tii Tharpe of North Carolina clinched his second consecutive NHRA Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley championship, while racing out of the Jay Turner Racing stables. For the second consecutive year, Tii won the NHRA points championship by going the distance and winning sufficient points to once again relegate Doug Vancil and his V&H Racing bike to the bridesmaid position of #2.

No one can deny the great consistent driving of Tharpe and his near flawlessly prepared Top Fuel motorcycle built and maintained by Jay Turner Racing. The bikes out of the JTR racing stable were fearsome as expected in 2019.


During the running of the 65th NHRA US Nationals, Randal Andras qualified #1 with a 6.15 @ 227 MPH. At Indy Randal, Tii’s teammate, proceeded to tear through the TFH ranks like a hot knife through butter. In E-1 Randal dispatched Andy Beauchemin with a 6.35 @ 235.4 pass as Andy broke and slowed to a halt. The semi-final round match up was the big one as Randal faced Doug Vancil, his team-mate Tii’s only threat to the throne. Randal cut a light on Doug .051 to .058 and from there, he just ran away from the VHR bike, posting a fine 6.36 to Vancil’s slowing 7.71 elapsed time. This insured Tii’s championship and they faced off for the Big Go trophy in the final round. Randal again cut a light on Tii, .034 to .042 and then whupped him, 6.32 to 6.42, for the Rage’n Cajun to claim his first ever NHRA US Nationals trophy.


Across the pond, on September 5-8, 2019, the European finals of the FIA/FIM sanctions were held at Santa Pod raceway, in England. The Gulf Oil racing team with Ian King and Filippos Papafilippou, AKA-Fast Fil, dominated the event with their best outing to date. With Filippos Papafilippou piloting the Gulf Oil Top Fuel motorcycle, they qualified #1 with the second quickest pass ever made by a Top Fuel motorcycle in the history of the sport: 5.662 @ 246.74 MPH. The team also posted runs of 5.663, 5.701, and 5.869, on their way to winning the race and their second consecutive FIM/FIA Top Fuel motorcycle championship with Filippos Papafilippou in the hot seat. This makes 13 European T/F championships for Mr. King.

Ian King


Clearly Ian King’s team and the motorcycle he created with his teammates, are a force to be reckoned with as they are on the verge of eclipsing Larry McBride’s 5.611 elapsed he ran at the Man Cup, Mann Hill Garage World Finals in November of 2017. If the Gulf Oil team can return to SGMP this November and bring that performance with them, Pingel Top Fuel World Cup competition will really be stunning event to behold!

Congratulations to all the FIA/FIM 2019 champions in motorcycle drag racing: European T/F Motorcycle - Filippos Papafilippou; European Super Twin - Marcus Christiansen; European Pro Stock Bike – Fredrik Fredlund; European Super Street Bike – Steve Venables; and European Jr Drag Bike – Blade Drummer. A hearty congratulations is extended to all racers.


September will be a busy month for motorcycle drag racing with some major events on tap along the Eastern seaboard. On September 12-15, the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycles will be at Redding, PA, for the MOPAR Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil. This is one of six remaining NHRA races for the PSM class. Currently Andrew Hines is in the lead, 20 points ahead of his teammate Eddie Krawiec with Matt Smith just ten points behind Eddie, so it’s anyone’s ball game with half-a-dozen races remaining.


On Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Blair-Bedford Dirt Drags, the annual Daniel Weaver Memorial Top Fuel Shootout will take place starting at around 3 p.m. Jason Plummer, Paul Plummer, and George Mellott are some of the confirmed Top Fuel Harley motorcycles I have been informed will be there in attendance.


Also on the same weekend, at Maryland International Raceway (MDIR) the XDA will wrap up it 2019 season with the DME Fall Nationals, Sept. 20-22. The world’s fastest and quickest Pro Street motorcycles will be in attendance and the Real Street bikes may well re-set the XDA World Record again at this the final event of the year for the XDA sanction.


Then to wrap up the month, on Sept. 27-29, the Man Cup motorcycle drag racing series will roll into Darlington Dragway in South Carolina for the 190 Hook-up Nationals. There will be a test & tune on Friday for early racers. Saturday the pit gates open at 7 a.m. with racing set to begin at 9 a.m. This is a Saturday/Sunday event, the third race of a five-race season. Remaining races for Man Cup will be at Rockingham on Oct. 26-27 and at South Georgia Motorsports Park on November 21-24.


The NHDRO motorcycle drag racing sanction has one event remaining on their six-race series: they will meet again on Oct. 19-20, at the former Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis, MO, to crown their 2019 champions. 



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