The Best Motorcycle Drag Race of All Time

story and photos by Steven Moxley and Tim Hailey, videos by Hailey

Simply put, it was the best motorcycle drag race of all time—so far at least. It was a lightning strike of achievement and atmosphere, with all the right players on all the right machines at the right time in the right place to conjure pure magic.

With nine bikes from Europe attending the event, the Manufacturers Cup World Finals presented by Kibblewhite Precision Machining was a true world finals event.

It’s been nearly twenty years since a large group of riders from Europe competed in an event in the USA, at an AMA/Prostar race in Gainesville. This time they came from Denmark, Finland, Sweden, UK, and also from Japan—bringing their bikes to compete with the best from the USA at South Georgia Motorsports Park near Valdosta. Legendary parts maker Pingel, drywall bead experts Trim-Tex, racing patron Dave Dunigan, and the Man Cup were all instrumental in donating and arranging financing to facilitate transportation.

The weather was in the high seventies leading up to race day when it dropped ten degrees and added a bit of a head wind.

And it wasn’t just the on-track action that made this event so special. The assembled group of retired and active talent roaming the pits jacked up the world class feeling in Valdosta—guys like Top Fuel ace Ron Webb, seldom-seen AHDRA badasses Johnny Mancuso, Mike Lehman and Cliff Dwy, former Redline Oil brothers Tim and Kelly Kerrigan, and more.

This was the weekend that all other races will be compared to for the next 20 years—until the next greatest race of all times goes down.

Here’s our coverage, class by class:

Top Fuel

Top Fuel Twin

Pro Fuel

Pro Street

Pro Street Shootout

Pro Mod

Pro Open

Real Street

Sportsmen

The Man himself, Wayne Pingel (Tim Hailey photo)
Liberty Racing’s Ken “Big” Johnson with his daughter (Tim Hailey photo)
Transmission Master Bill Robinson and Louisville 4.60/Pro Mod stud Deshaun Wheeler (Tim Hailey photo)
Trim-Tex superstar Joe Koenig with daughter and son-in-law. Joe had the time of his life in Valdosta (Tim Hailey photo)
Harley dealer and former AHDRA Top Fuel dominator Johnny Mancuso (Tim Hailey photo)
Mike Thyen and Billy Vose (Tim Hailey photo)
Anibal Merced and roadie splitting guts with big laughter (Tim Hailey photo)
Hard working British photojournalist Steven Moxley (Tim Hailey photo)
It’s always great to have Ivan and Rose around! Here’s a shot of Nitro Shutter’s Rose Hughes on the job (Tim Hailey photo)
Media beauties Sandra Alberti and Brandi Neithamer (Tim Hailey photo)
Stanley Russell and sidekick Bryan going rounds deep into the night (Tim Hailey photo)
Michael and Paul Ray, rejoicing that Paul is newly scarred but still alive (Tim Hailey photo)
Tres Hombres Craig Corwin, Frank Velasco and Kelly Kerrigan (Tim Hailey photo)
Adam Konopacki and daughter
Photographer and inkman JT Norton (Tim Hailey photo)

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