story and photos by Steven Moxley and Tim Hailey, videos by Hailey
For the second straight year, motorcycle drag racing fabrication powerhouse DME Racing partnered with Dave and Jason Dunigan’s Dunigan Racing, and Chris Connelly and his Pro Stock Inc., to put on the DME Racing All-Star Pro Street Shootout. This $10,000-to-win event for the world’s quickest streetbikes was run on November 16-17, immediately preceding the 2017 Manufacturers Cup World Finals at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta.
Mark Paquette didn’t win the first Shootout last year, but he did have the quickest bike—nearly the sport’s first 6.60something pass with a 6.70. After parking the bike for a full year, Paquette was right back in the Georgia groove, qualifying number one this year in a 30-bike field and running another 6.70 to advance out of the first round—6.708 to trailer Frankie Stotz, who ran 6.860. Mark’s teammate Bud Yoder had the next best time of 6.779 during round one.
The Shootout also featured some of Europe’s best Super Street Bikes, invited to run under their own rules for the first time ever. Denmark’s Mogens Lund, Sweden’s Björn Friström, and multi-time British champion Steve Venables all packed up and made the trip. “It was absolutely fantastic!” said Venables. “Everyone made me so welcome that I didn’t want the week to end.”
“We were welcomed by everyone we met, and everyone said that they were happy that we made it,” said Lund, who coincidently raced frequent European opponent Venables in the first round of the Shootout. Lund’s motor blew at ¾ track (number three rod broke) and Venables took the win.
“I still can’t believe that I went there to the homeland of the sport we all love and made 13th in qualifying for the Shootout, only to race Ven, that I could have raced all year at home! What are the odds?” said Lund. “I would like to thank everyone for making us feel welcome. This has been a dream coming true for me.”
Round two and Rodney Williford—who is the class’ first 6.60something man—ran 6.730 to knock out Venables. Round three and last year’s winner Ehren Litten lost on a holeshot to Yoder’s 6.812 with a quicker 6.811. Williford ran low ET of the shootout with a 6.701.
After a round 2 bye, Paquette put a .000 light on Justin Shakir in 3 and was beaming with confidence entering the semis. But that’s where it fell apart for Paquette and Yoder. Bud had a healthy .048 to .082 staring line advantage over DME’s Jeremy Teasley, but number two qualifier Teasley’s DME power kicked in when he needed it and drove him around Yoder, 6.808 to 6.869.
In the other semi, Paquette’s series of smooth passes came to an end with a wheelie at 100 feet, and he lost to Williford.
Rodney has been the performance leader at Pro Street races around the country all year, and he entered the Shootout final round between 700 horsepower, street legal, turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusas with lane choice against Teasley. It was a great race, with Williford taking the tree by .014 and running 6.73 at 221.85 mph against Teasley’s 6.76 at 216.
Rodney capped off his dream season with the $3000 Man Cup race win and the $1000 bonus that goes with it, netting him a cool $14,000 for four days of racing. “It was an awesome event and I am just happy to be able to compete and run these crazy times and speeds we are running now,” said Williford. “I see the competition closing in so we have to try to find that next step in performance.”
Williford attributed his 2016 dominance to hard work and good choices. “We tested every chance we got in the offseason and found out would and would not work, so we just stayed focused on what did work with the chassis, clutch, and power management. We tried to stay in the window of what we knew worked and it kept us more consistent this year.
“Huge thanks to DME, the Dunigans and the Connellys for supporting our class the way they do and giving Pro Street racers some really exciting events to look forward to. As always I have to thank my wife Amber, Papa Jimmie and my whole race family and team who always pull together and make racing fun!”
Teasley was still excited despite the defeat. “What an awesome five days of racing,” said Jeremy. “It was a great shootout with 32 competitive Pro Street bikes at one race. Our bike was running great all weekend and gave Rodney a hell of a race but just came up a little short. I can’t thank the DME team enough for keeping it running fast for all five days of testing and racing.”
“I was very pleased with the racing,” said sponsor and competitor Jason Dunigan. “It was some of the best racing and qualifying I’ve been a part of. Thanks to all the sponsors and competitors—I had a blast doing it!”
“I’d like to thank everyone for their support of the DME Shootout,” said DME’s Dimey Eddinger. “Thanks to the European competitors and fans, and special thanks to our team members and best friends. We had a great time and look forward to next year being bigger and better!”
As always, the event included a fabulous BBQ buffet and distribution of prizes sponsored by many of the sport’s greatest companies and individuals.
Watch this video of the Shootout dinner and prize giveaway:
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