THROWBACK: Huge Crowd Witnesses Rockingham Opener

This article covers the 2011 MIRock Superbike Series opener at Rockingham Dragway. Enjoy!

A large, Grudge-hungry crowd flocked down from North Carolina’s Sand Hills to Steve Earwood’s Rockingham Dragway for the March 19-20 Mickey Thompson Performance Tires MIRock Superbike Series Honda/Suzuki of Sanford Spring Bike Open. They witnessed sunburned, Northeast motormouth “Chachi” trashtalk his way into a losing Grudge race with his rider Eric “Lil’ E” Hart against local hero Trae Heath and his rider Bud Yoder. But they also saw a full slate of Pro class action and Sportsman match-ups.

Bud Yoder on “Wigsplitter”

When Yoder won that Grudge race on Saturday night, he was riding Heath’s “Wigsplitter” Orient Express Pro Street bike originally built by Detroit’s Ronnie Mitchell. Bud Yoder appears to be ton a solo pass in the photo above, but that’s only because “Lil’ E” left Chachi’s nitrous Pro Street bike out of gear in the other lane. Ouch. This race was the most hyped match of the event, with Chachi entertaining crowds both online and in the house with a constant stream of trash.

But the wallet-heavy race of the night was lost by Rickey Grayson to Ray Lee when Grayson’s 1000 wouldn’t shift. “We took the race with our fully dressed NOS bike, and after all the talking and waiting it got late and the track got cold,” said Grayson. “We took some power out the bike and shortened it up to try to get down the track, but the bike still over-powered the track and spun after the 60, which caused the bike to not shift at high rpm.

“The owner of the bike I was riding name is Leonard Pratt and it is a fully dressed ’07 GSXR 1000 built by 4th Generation. Bottom line is we stepped up and raced a all out grudge bike with our little fully dressed cause that’s how confident we are about our bikes and the power we make, but you cant win if you spin! We’re still ready for any fully dressed sitting like us any day.”

Here’s the complete grudge photo gallery from the event:

Yoder on “Rizzo”

By day, Yoder rides Mitchell’s own hot pink “Rizzo” Suzuki Hayabusa in Pro Street. Yoder qualified #2 for his “day job” behind defending class champion Rodney Williford’s redhot 7.182 at 201.19. But Williford gave up the tree to Jeremy Teasley and his nitrous-huffing Pro Street ZX14 in the semi. Williford then spun and was unable to catch Teasley, who lost the final to Yoder.

Ronnie Procopio

Mickey Thompson Pro Mod made its MIRock/Rockingham debut, with local hero Ronnie Procopio taking the 4.19 to 4.30 eighth mile win over Virginian Eddie Gonder.

Perhaps Procopio was making up for spending the winter at home instead of at the Arabian Drag Racing League. He took #1 qualifier with a “smokin’ and tokin'” 4.20. Legion of Doom teammate Robbie Hunnicutt was #2 with a 4.23.

One of the highlights of the weekend was 14 time champion Billy Vose hopping onto the ancient mount of “McNasty” MacArthur. Vose carried the vintage 1998 Timblin chassis to its quickest-ever 4.22 on Saturday night, then dropped that to a monster 4.11 in Sunday’s warm-up. But somehow the carb strap got sucked through the engine in the semi and the unlikely pair’s improbable march on the field was ended.

Here are all the Pro Mod pics from the weekend:

Alfred Clark’s Cycle Dynamics “Saints” ‘Busa goes long in Crazy 8s

Kenner, Louisiana’s Alfred Clark took House of Speed Crazy 8s on the “Black & Gold Super Bowl” stretched ‘Busa built by Cycle Dynamics. Clark beat Maryland’s Stephen Moye in the double breakout final. Here’s what the guys had to say:

Here’s the full Crazy 8s gallery:

5.60 winner Jimmy Shifflett

Jimmy Shifflett took a redlight win over Shayne Proctor in Motorcycletireoutlet.net 5.60 (photos here) and Fearsome Andy Baumbach beat DJ Lockwood in FBR Shop Top Sportsman. Top Sportsman photo gallery here.

Top Sportsman winner Andy Baumbach


George Shriver
Wally Davis

Nitrous Express Pro ET wins went to George Shriver over Robert “Crossroads” Johnson on Saturday and Wally Davis over Baybay Yarbrough on Sunday.

Here’s the full Pro ET photo gallery from the weekend:

Clay Davies
“Ice Cold Killer” Mike Herman Jr.

Schnitz Racing Street ET was won by Clay Davies over Larry Pierce on Saturday and Michael Herman Jr. over Glenn Glass on Sunday.

Here’s the full Street ET photo gallery from the weekend:

Jeremy Teasley on his record 7.79 pass

But the highlight of the weekend had to be Jeremy Teasley’s DME Real Street 7.79 ET record pass on the Adams Performance/RS Motorsports Kawasaki ZX14. That happened on practically the first lap of the season, as Teasley became the first Real Street rider to break into the .70s on his first qualifying lap. Wild wheelies in rounds 2 and 3 showed that tuner Roger Starrette was aiming for the moon, but Rockingham’s knowledgeable railbirds knew that Starrette would reign the blue beast in for raceday to get down the track and back up the record in the process. And that he did with a 7.812 on a round 1 bye. Teasley beat Delaware’s Joey Gladstone 7.84 to 7.97 in the final.

“What can I say, the weekend went very well—better then I planned,” said Jeremy Teasley. The reigning Real Street champion started the 2011 season with a record shattering 7.79 on his very first official pass of the year at the MIRock Superbike Series Spring Bike Open, proving that Teasley and his Adams Performance/Roger Starrette built and tuned Kawasaki ZX14 are once again the combination to beat.

“The bike is basically unchanged from last year,” said team boss Coby Adams. “We’re still running the stock ECU, but we’re making a little more power on motor. Jeremy’s able to run to the 330 on motor alone as fast as we did on nitrous last year.” Continued progress is not good news for the competition as they struggle to catch up with last year’s performance of this multi-time championship winning team.

In addition to more power, the team has even found more durability in their ZX14s. “We didn’t have to change any motors, so that’s a great thing,” noted Teasley. “Roger worked super hard on the Real Street bikes all weekend and all of his work shows with that record setting 7.79 at 190 mph. I can’t thank him enough!”

Roger Starrette and Coby Adams celebrate Jeremy Teasley’s Real Street record setting 7.79 at 190 mph

Teasley raced past his teammate Mark Billiter in the semi before squashing the turbocharged Suzuki of Joey Gladstone in the final.

Mark Billiter on the Adams Performance/RS Motorsports Real Street Kawasaki ZX14

Here’s the full Real Street gallery from the weekend:

Teasley also rode the lime green, nitrous-huffing Pro Street ZX14 to the final round where he fell short to Pro Street record holder Bud Yoder.  “The Pro Street ’14 had some chassis problems that had it going left, but Coby figured that out right before they loaded it to come here.”

“We kinda fell off the face of the earth at the end of last season with that bike,” admitted Adams. “But now we’re back! Like the Real Street bike, we built a little more power into the engine. But we also fixed the rear axle and all our chassis problems went away.”

Jeremy Teasley on the Adams Performance/RS Motorsports Pro Street Kawasaki ZX14

“Once that was fixed there was a problem in third gear, wanting to pull timing out,” reported Teasley. “But Garron (Adams Performance crew chief Garron Miller) pulled the laptop out and fixed it with some genius tuning. So we won Real Street, runner-upped in Pro Street, and as a bonus got the Real Street record—a great weekend!”

“Now we can figure how to get the Pro Street back in the teens again and beyond,” added Adams, who ran second with his Mini Sprint Car the following weekend at North Carolina’s East Lincoln Speedway. “We put a new Muzzy pipe on the Mini Sprint and it’s definitely stouter than the package we had last year. We were fastest car all weekend but I hit a big hole with 2 laps to go and gave up the lead!”

Adams Performance also builds the motors used by Jammin’ Jimmy Weinert’s AMA/Supercross team. Riders Tyler Bright and Taylor Futrell easily qualified for the Main at the recent Dallas event and are moving up in the standings each and every event.

Here’s the full Pro Street gallery from the weekend:

Rockingham MIRock races always delivered great candid shots. Here’s the full gallery:

ATVs also raced at The Rock. Here’s a gallery:

Pre-Race

The Mickey Thompson Tires and Wheels MIRock Super Bike Series begins its 12th season with the March 18-20 running of the Honda-Suzuki of Sanford Spring Bike Open at Rockingham Dragway.

Once again, competition points earned in eight events – four each at The Rock and at Maryland International Raceway, will determine champions in a variety of classes including the new Pro Mod division.

One of most successful independently-operated motorcycle series in the United States, the MIRock Series this year will feature more than $400,000 in posted purse and contingency awards and more than 300 riders competing in seven classes including Pro Mod, Pro Street and Real Street.

Historically catering to the “no bar” motorcycles, motorcycles racing without the benefit of traction bars, the MIRock Series this year is adding the thoroughbred Pro Mod bikes to the program with anticipated eighth-mile performance of little over four seconds at speeds near 180 miles per hour.

Mickey Thompson Performance Pro Mod is one of three professional categories contested within the series along with Orient Express Pro Street and D.M.E. Real Street.

In the season opener, Pro Street record-holder Jeremy Teasley of Orient, Ohio, is expected to vie with 2010 series champion Rodney Williford of Rougemont, veteran Bud Yoder of Flint, Mich., and Winston-Salem’s Dimey Eddinger, among others.

Teasley also will be a contender in Real Street, the category in which he won the championship a year ago after guiding his Kawasaki to victory in three of the four races at Rockingham and two of three at MIR.

Other classes include Motorcycle Tire Outlet.net 5.60 Pro Comp, FBR Shop Top Sportsman, House of Speed Crazy 8’s, Nitrous Express Pro ET, Cycle Connection Street ET and Cooper Performance Grudge Bikes.

All defending champions are expected to return for the 2011 season to defend their titles including Top Sportsman’s Boo Brown of Potomac Falls, Va., Crazy 8’s’ Eddie Chapman of Pocomoke, Md., and 5.60’s Jim Shifflett of Waynesboro, Va.

The 12th Mickey Thompson Performance bike season kicks off on Friday with private testing at 10 a.m. and test-and-tune for all bikes at 6 p.m.. Saturday, time trials begin at 10 a.m. with pro qualifying at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. The Cooper Performance “Afterdark Underground” program will begin at the conclusion of pro qualifying and will feature two hours of the most serious “grudge racing” in the two wheel nation. Pro eliminations begin at 12 noon on Sunday.

Adult admission is $20 per day or $35 for a two-day pass. Three-day passes also are available for $45. Saturday VIP parking, in the pits, is $10 with free parking in the main back spectator lot.

story, photos and video by Tim Hailey

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