Motorcycle Drag Racing’s “Big Go”

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Man Cup presented by Vance & Hines
Mann Hill Garage World Finals presented by Kibblewhite
November 9-13, 2016

Motorcycle Drag Racing’s “Big Go”

Man Cup Mann Hill Garage World Finals 2016

You know how in some stories or with some jokes you get that “Ya had to be there” tossed at you? Well that’s how it was at the 2016 Man Cup, Mann Hill Garage, World Finals. It was that big a race, and had that much drama and performance. If you were not there, best efforts will fall short in trying to explain to you what the event was like for the five days of racing.

The event had major drama, world record performances and big names abounding from all over the world. Even the first lady of Top Fuel motorcycle, Jackie Trett was there. The King – Mr. Ian King 10 time Euro TOP FUEL motorcycle champion was in attendance, and Cannon (Chris Hannam) was in the house. Now add to that Euro TOP FUEL racers Gert-jan Laseur, Marius van der Zijden, and fuel Harley racer Tadashi Saito of Japan, along with Tak, and you get the idea. Truth in fact, many travelers from all around the world come to the Man Cup World Finals to make the event what it truly was: a World Class racing event.

Spectators even saw a wedding performed on Friday. The lovely Aubrey Hahn officiated with an assist by her husband Bill Hahn Jr. as they married off Lizz and Kev Charman, of the U.K. on the starting line. With Kev headed to go Top Fuel motorcycle drag racing next year, they can count on fast times ahead.

This is the first “motorcycles-only” drag race in my memory spanning since 1981, where it was drag bikes only – for five days of motorcycle racing. Only the NHRA’s annual “Big Go” at Indy, the famous US Nationals exceeds this in overall scope. And the NHRA’s Big Go now goes on for a full week of racing, a true marathon event for racers and fans alike. Six years of hard work and the evolution of the Manufacturers’ Cup sanction into “Man Cup” has brought about this.

Tuesday, members of the Man Cup staff arrived at the South Georgia Motorsports Park complex and began laying out the course, the parking and engaging in track surface prep. Their enhanced preparations so early in the week were justified by the 613 motorcycles that entered competition for the race and competed for an actual payout of $67,500 to the entrants, who won in their respective classes.

There were two major announcements made at the World Finals that will carry over into future Man Cup racing events. The first one is the initial creation of the “Pingel World Cup” to highlight, World Finals events. The creation of the World Cup as a trophy is underway, and attached to it will be a monetary fund created to help make available additional funds to international Top Fuel motorcycle teams, who seek to race in the USA at the Man Cup World Finals events, beginning in 2017.

The second major announcement was the creation of the annual Elmer Trett Memorial, Top Fuel Motorcycle Top Performer award. An award to be given annually to the Top Fuel motorcycle drag racer who achieves the fastest Top Fuel bike speed, during Man Cup sanctioned competition, for that calendar year.

 

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Racing began in earnest on Wednesday with an open Test and Tune session. The following day, on Thursday, open testing for teams continued and the DME Racing sponsored Pro-Street All-Star Shootout kicked off with two rounds of qualifying, followed by the first two rounds of eliminations. After racing was done for the day, DME Racing graciously hosted a BBQ for all who wished to attend and no one walked away hungry.

On Friday, as racing began, included into the program was the All-Star Shootout which they wrapped up before Q-1 of the main Man Cup race. 29 Pro Street bikes entered the competition and when it came down to the final round, Ehren Litten and Rodney Williford matched up for the $10,000 first place prize. In an all Williford Racing final, Ehren Litton prevailed, taking “10 large” in cash, home in the process.

With the Man Cup’s Q-1 run on Friday evening, it was Saturday night when the three rounds of qualifying were completed for this race. Larry McBride’s 5.83 @ 247.29 was top’s in TOP FUEL, Tracy Kile was the quickest in TOP FUEL Twin (6.55), but the real excitement happened in Pro Fuel. Michael Ray, who’s in his first season of Nitro Harley Pro Fuel racing, stunned all present by putting a 7.06 up on the score board that just floored everyone. In Pro Mod, Eric McKinney delivered the quickest ET with a stellar, 3.99, in Pro Open, Travis Davis was quickest with a 6.34 elapsed time, in Pro Street, Rodney Williford’s 6.78 was a stand-out and in Real Street, Joey Gladstone’s 7.76 led the way.

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Winner : Larry McBride
Runner-up : David Vantine
#1 Qualifier : Larry McBride

2016 Champion : Larry McBride

On Sunday when eliminations began, it was the Pingel Top Fuel bikes out first in a session that will never be forgotten. Larry McBride, who came into the last race of the season 19 points behind Sam Wills, qualified number one ahead of Sam and he needed that badly for a chance at winning his 16th TOP FUEL motorcycle title. Larry unleashed a 6.05 @ 245 on Sam, who spun the tire at the hit and shut off early. Larry’s win gave him a shot at the championship but that’s not what people will remember this round of racing for: it was Korry’s Hogan’s horrific crash that stunned all present.

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Korry was matched up with Chris Hand and they left the line together side-by-side to half-track and it looked like a pair of five-second runs in progress, then tragedy struck. Something in the motor let go and it perforated the oil pan, unleashing 5 quarts of hot oil at about 165 PSI. The spray oiled the rear tire severely and the bike just laid down about the 1000’ mark. It impacted the wall in the left lane, threw Korry into the wall head first at 200 mph, and then the bike ricocheted across the track, burst into flames briefly and came to rest down track.

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Shortly thereafter, a stunned Korry Hogan could walk to the ambulance with help and was driven to the hospital by his dad to get checked out. Miraculously, Korry suffered minor injuries and with this being his third bad crash on a TOP FUEL bike, he’s hanging up what’s left of his Vanson Leathers, which worked great once again. The Alwine Racing Top Fuel bike was heavily damaged in the crash and their participation in 2017 is unclear at this time.

As racing resumed and progressed, Larry advanced and met up with Dave Vantine in the final round. The Vantine Nitrosports machine had been vicious all weekend running consistent fives every pass and for the final round Dave gave the nod to “Go for it” with the tune-up. They had a 5.79 ET in round two and they were shooting for a lower number when they met Larry for the last race of the year. The tune-up was too much for the prevailing conditions and they went up in smoke quickly as Larry motored on to a 5.99 @ 234 mph pass that not only won the event, but clinched his 16th, TOP FUEL motorcycle championship in the process.

 

Winner : Takeshi Shigematsu
Runner-up : Tracy Kile
#1 Qualifier : Tracy Kile

Pingel Top Fuel Twin was a feature at this race. With five bikes entered, Tracy Kile’s 6.55 was low qualifier and this earned him a solo shot in round one as a trip to the semi-final round. There he met up with new guy Jim Page, who was entered in his first ever TOP FUEL Harley event. His 6.74 to Tracy’s 6.75 ET was certainly game and he nearly upset the veteran, but Tracy’s .035 to Jim’s .116 RT spelled defeat for the rookie fuel bike pilot. In the final round, Tracy had to deal with “The Man From Japan,” Takeshi Shigematsu. This time the tables turned on Tracy, his .096 light was no match for Tak’s .038 RT as they wow’d the crowd with identical 6.52 elapsed times. Yes, it was 6.529 Vs 6.524 but Tak’s 38 shot him into the winner’s circle.

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Winner : Michael Ray
Runner-up : Jordan Cruz
#1 Qualifier : Michael Ray

2016 Champion : Wilson Tyler

In Hawaya Pro Fuel racing, the word WOW was uttered time and again. During qualifying, Kirby Apathy took his homemade, self-designed “Gunfighter” motor to the next level. In Pro Fuel racing, 7.30’s are great runs, 7.20’s are rare. The last time anyone ran a 7.0 was in 2014 and it was only the second 7-Oh anyone had ever recorded on a carbureted-high-gear-only bike, when Kirby stopped the clocks during the Man Cup World Finals with a 7.07, the place went hush then erupted-wow!

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His glory was short-lived, he wasn’t even off the return road when Pro Fuel rookie Michael Ray came storming by on Johnny Vicker’s “Terminator” bike: 7.06. Wow again!

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One Kirby supporter was overheard to say, “Jesus, whatever happened to 15 minutes of fame; that was more like 15 seconds!” And that was pretty much how the rest of the race went for the stab & steer crowd. Michael Ray, on Johnny Vickers bike, with Johnny Vickers doing the tuning, was there to take names and kick ass and they did, all the way to the winner’s circle. Ray dispatched, Jim Martin, did a competition single, then terminated Cliff Holly and Jordan Cruz for his second consecutive Man Cup event win in 2016. This team combination can be devastating if they stay after it in 2017.

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Winner : Ashley Owens
Runner-up : Ronnie Procopio
#1 Qualifier : Eric McKinney

2016 Champion : Paul Gast

In Falicon Performance Pro Mod; Ashley Owens qualified second behind Eric McKinney, 4.04 to 3.99 respectively, but that was the last second place achievement Ashley had for the weekend on his way to winning the race in Pro Mod. In three rounds of eliminations he took out Terry Wynn, Chris Garner-Jones, Paul Gast and Ronnie Procopio.

Despite a lose to Paul Gast, he still claimed the 2016 championship with a 17 point lead over Travis Davis.

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Winner : Mark Rendeluk
Runner-up : Jean Gosselin
#1 Qualifier : Travis Davis

2016 Champion : Mark Rendeluk

In the Nitrous Express Pro Open class of racing, it was the continuation of the Mark Rendeluk show. Mark decisively won all five of Man Cup’s events in 2016, and did so handily, with his Chris Wedman tuned, big nitrous-huffing monster. During the Man Cup World Finals, he met with Jean Gosselin of Canada, who qualified fifth with a 6.70. Mark cut a .004 light on Jean, then delivered a 6.60 to Jean’s 6.87 for win #5 in as many races for the Man Cup Nitrous Express Pro Open champion. Mark won the championship with a 249 lead over teammate Niki Zakrzewski.

 

Winner : Joey Gladstone
Runner-up : Jeremy Teasley
#1 Qualifier : Rodney Williford

Champion : Joey Gladstone

 

APE sponsored Pro Street racing was a marathon dog fight at the World Finals due to the DME sponsored $10,000 All-Star Shootout preceding the actual Man Cup race. Racers had seven competition passes between Thursday and Friday, then qualifying for the Man Cup Friday night, followed by two more qualifiers on Saturday, just to get to Sunday’s race. More than one team was stealing parts from motor A to build motor B, while motor C was in the frame rails.

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Winner : Ehren Litten
Runner-up : Rodney Williford
#1 Qualifier : Mark Paquette

During the DME Racing ‘$10,000 to win’ All-Star Shootout, and the final round was Ehren Litton Vs Rodney Williford with Ehren prevailing. Then into qualifying for the Man Cup race it was Rodney Williford 6.782 for low qualifier and Ehren Litton with 218.83 as the high MPH man.

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Williford racing is a threat to be respected in Pro Street, but when it came down racing for all the marbles, it was Joey Gladstone on his Vance & Hines sponsored, DME Racing tuned bike that stood above all comers. Gladstone locked up his fourth consecutive Man Cup title by going five rounds on Sunday, eliminating, Tony Ficher, Justin Doucet, Terence Angela, and Jeremy Teasley along the way.

Gladstone took the championship with a 93 point lead over teammate Terence Angela. Brandon Mitcham made a hard fought effort this year to round out the top three in points.

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Many racers have made tremendous advancements throughout 2016 and the ET’s continued to drop during the DME Racing All-Star Shootout. Mark Paquette stole the show with his blistering 6.707 ET during the first round of eliminationsjumping to the top spot on of the GOAT List. So the 2016 season ends with Mark Paquette as the fastest Pro Street racer in the country. In 2017 pepare for the competition to come out swinging.

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Winner : Joey Gladstone
Runner-up : Johnny Dobrin
#1 Qualifier : Joey Gladstone

Champion : Joey Gladstone

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Shinko/WPS Real Street class racing saw 15 teams enter the race, with the number 1 qualifier, Joey Gladstone standing above the rest after three rounds of qualifying with his 7.76 elapsed time. The 190.75 MPH high-speed mark by Johnny Dobrin was also a stand out during the qualifying sessions.

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On Sunday, Joey Gladstone cut through the field like a hot knife through butter for the win. He eliminated Tony Jackson, Anibal Merced, and Johnny Dobrin to not only win the race in class, but clinch the title in Shinko/WPS Real Street competition. Gladstone took the championship over Jason Herron by 156 points.

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Winner : Ronnie Procopio
Runner-up : Chester Lee
#1 Qualifier : Chester Lee

Champion : Ronnie Procopio

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In the Grothus 460 Ultra class racing, Roderick Sanders and Ronnie Procopio were at battle until the end. At the World Finals, young Roderick Sanders qualified 14th, out of 22 racers and attempting to win his first national title in Grothus Ultra 460. Sanders had a 40 point lead over Chase Morris who could not cover that, clinching the title for Sanders. Both Sanders and Morris went out first round. Ronnie Procopio was a man on a mission, at Valdosta. By day’s end, it was mission accomplished. Ronnie eliminated Roy Sears, Durwood Rawlings, Ricky Gadson, and Chester Lee to win the event.

Ron Procopio took the 2016 championship over Roderick Sanders Jr. by a mere 9 points! Grothus Dragbike 4.60 had a successful year with 45 competitors vying for a championship.

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Winner : Mike Konopacki
Runner-up : Jeremy Teasley
#1 Qualifier : Darryl Perkins

Champion : Chad Otts

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The Star Racing Top Gas competition at the World Finals was fierce! As Bill Hahn Jr. the announcer has dubbed him “Mike Konopacki – The Canadian Assassin” was in the house and all the T/G racers received the consequences of his appearance. This cagy old veteran of sportsman motorcycle drag racing is hands down one of the best sportsman racers, ever to throw a leg over a drag bike. He’s won numerous championships since the 1980’s and he’s reappeared, not really running for points, but just for fun and to remind people he’s still out there lurking in the shadows. So beware, he may come out at any time and win races, just as he did at the Man Cup World Finals.

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Konopacki eliminated points leader (s) Chad Otts, Mike Lingo, Ricardo Marte, and Jeremy Teasley on his way to the winner’s circle. “I’m not interested in running for points” he commented on Monday, after the win. “I just want to have a little fun and come out and run at some of the big events.”

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Winner : Ed Hughes
Runner-up : Jeremy Teasley
#1 Qualifier : Bryan Minor

Champion : Matt Smith

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In the MTC Engineering Super Comp race, Ed Hughes of Massachusetts came down from New England and won it all in the 8.90 Index class. Ed took out Calvin Mason, Slim Bradley, Mike Perry, Dustin”BAMF” Lee, Gary Russell, and in the finals, Jeremy Teasley, to win the event. Ed is a multi-time track champion in Top Bike at New England Dragway and has been motorcycle drag racing since the 1980’s. With Rick Stetson and NHRA P/S bike racer Sam Hurwitz as his advisors, he’s in good hands and applies his skills well.

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Winner : Ron Arnold
Runner-up : Wade Smith
#1 Qualifier : Curtis Griggs

Champion : John Markham

In World Wide Bearings Crazy 8’s racing, Ron Arnold of KY, won the event defeating one of the points leaders, Wade Smith, in the process. Ron is an avid sportsman motorcycle drag racer that is well known and very skilled at index racing. Ron also eliminated Clark Proctor, Angie Young, Bob Carlson, and Barry Pryer on his way to victory.

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Winner : John Markham
Runner-up : Roy Johnson
#1 Qualifier : Frank Loney

Champion : Wade Smith

The Wiseco Street Fighter series at the World Finals was won by, John “Spooky” Markham who also won on Sunday in Pro-ET. John eliminated Stanley Russell, Bob Carlson, Brian Dale, Chris Rodse, and Roy Johnson for the win in Street Fighter. The Spooky Man will finish in the top ten of the class for the 2016 season.

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Saturday Winner : Duane Schmidt
Runner-up : Rick Smoot

Sunday Winner : Duane Schmidt
Runner-up : Clint Riley

Champion : Duane Schmidt

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The D&G Chassis, V-Twin class at the World Finals was won by Duane Schmidt on both Saturday AND Sunday! His back to back wins on consecutive days will do wonders for his championship points totals, he’s assured a top-ten finish, but until the dust settles on the points totals, the championship is, as of yet, to be announced. Any racer who can win back to back events during the Man Cup World Finals is a racer to be respected.

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Saturday Winner : Dustin Lee
Runner-up : Kelly McDaniel

Sunday Winner : John Markham
Runner-up : Shawn Welch

Champion : John Markham

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In MPS Pro ET racing, Dustin “BAMF” Lee won top honors over Kelly McDaniel on Saturday. And on Sunday, John Markham won over Shawn Welch. Dustin Lee and John Markham both clinched championships prior to the start of the finals. Lee clinched the Dragbike.com BAMF Championship. And Markham won the MPS Racing Pro ET championship with 193 lead over Chad Otts. These two guys are some of the toughest Sportsman racers in the business.

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Saturday Winner : Brian Dale
Runner-up : Gary Russell

Sunday Winner : Jerry Rius
Runner-up : Stanley Russell

Champion : Bob Carlson

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In the Garwood Customs – C&S Customs Street ET racing series, on Saturday, Brian Dale defeated Gary Russell for the win.

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On Sunday, Jerry Rius took out Stanley Russell for the win on Monday. All the sportsman racers, as well as Man Cup staff are to be commended for hanging on through Monday to complete the race. The racers were called to the lanes at 9AM and by 11AM, the race was complete.

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The Street ET championship was won by Bob Carlson, but only by 6 points! Stanley Russell, Bob Carlson and Clint Riley show up for every event this year, and it was a battle between them until the end. Bob Carlson went into the finals with a lead, however, Russell’s performance at the finals closed the gap to cause Carlson to break a sweat on Sunday. With over 150 racers participating in Street ET every year, the class champion is usually not determined until the last event. Great work by all our sportsman competitors.

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2016 was a great year for Man Cup racing. In 2017, the Man Cup season will kick off on April 7-8-9 at SGMP once again with five events slated for the season. This will include a first ever 1/8th mile race set for GALOT Motorsports Park on July 15/16 that racers are looking forward to.

To watch the vent Live Video Feed – click here.

Report by Tom McCarty

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