story and photos by Steven Moxley with additional coverage from team reports
Holy Crap! Eric Teboul loves American peroxide
The Manufacturers Cup Haltech World Finals were held at recently resurfaced (concrete to the end) Bradenton Motorsports Park. There was a small group of European racers entered and headlining the event was Frenchman Eric Teboul with his Rocket Bike.
Sweden’s Peter Svensson
With the two quickest Top Fuel Bikes in the world entered for the event, the crowd was hoping to see the first side-by-side 5.7 second bike race. Sweden’s Peter Svensson and his 5.70 bike had come over to the States and tested at the resurfaced track the previous weekend. On Thursday’s test session, Svensson had a timing belt break, which damaged all the valves. On Friday he did a check out pass of 6.17 and found an intake valve damaged. The team stripped the motor and found the timing was 15 degrees out on the exhaust cam.
Svensson missed Friday’s opening qualifying session, but on Saturday made a pass of 5.806 at 217.70 mph, which meant he became the seventh member of the MTC 5 Second Club. But he damaged the clutch and skipped the final qualifying session to repair for eliminations and still held on to number one spot.
Larry McBride was trying to find a set-up for the track all weekend. On Friday he broke a sprag in the transmission, and eventually qualified with a 6.007 at 207.27. “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me (not to be #1). I’m not used to that,” McBride said. “We were not able to put our finger on the problem and it was troubling.”
David Vantine also had problems finding a set-up and took third spot in the last session with a 6.254 at 222.44.
Sam Wills teamed with Mike Dryden and returned to racing this year and has been testing the new fuel bike he built. He last competed in 1997, having run a career best of 6.50 at 216mph. This new bike has only done twelve passes before this event and has not done a full pass (power up to 900ft mark). In qualifying, Wills damaged a valve after running a p/b of 6.400. The team changed the motor and in the final session lit up the track with a blown a head gasket. So the team burnt the midnight oil and fitted another motor ready for eliminations.
Sam’s looking all broad shouldered and shit in this shutdown photo
Chris Hand pulls the chute in the shutdown
Chris Hand was another rider struggling to find a combination for the track and was on the bump spot with 7.146 at 218.76. Hand changed motors (from Robert E. Lee to Galahad) for eliminations (feeling General Lee’s Confederate dollars were spent—editor).
MTC 5 Second Club inductions took place during opening ceremonies, including Hand’s from his dramatic pass at Indy. (In typical family fashion, wife Sharon got the check and Chris got the plaque—editor)
Vantine vs Wills
Svensson had a bye to open eliminations and ran 6.251 at 215.98. Wills put a huge .018 to .099 holeshot over Vantine, who powered around to take the win 6.246 at 216.60 to Wills’ full power pass of 6.426 at 210.42.
McBride vs Hand
McBride got out of the gate first against Hand but smoked the tire. He recovered at the 1/8 mile mark, where Hand was just ahead, and then motored to the finishline and took the winlight 6.769 at 210.37 to Hand’s slowing (#2 cylinder dropped) 6.941 at 149.92. “We smoked the tire right off the line and I pedaled it hard. I was fortunate enough to catch him right at the lights,” McBride said. “Chris had shut it off early because he thought he had won the race when he saw me smoke the tire. I hate to do that against a friend, but I had to stay in it.”
Vantine ran a personal best of 6.149 at 219.08 in the first semifinal, but it was not enough to beat Svensson’s 5.970 at 212.26. Peter then had problems in the shutdown area when he ran onto the grass between the track and wall, resulting in damage to the offside front corner of the frame and around the foot peg area.
McBride had a bye and smoked the rear tire off the start line. “I smoked the tire right at the hit of the throttle on my bye run. So my crew (brother Steve McBride, Roland Stuart, Chuck Stuart and Keith “Kebo” Adams) decided to put the old clutch back in it. It was a major undertaking but it was the only solution,” McBride said. We thought we were in Vegas because we just rolled the dice. We felt since we were not getting down the track we had nothing to lose and we had to try something.”
So the final bought together the two quickest bikes on the planet. McBride was loaded up his old fuel bike while spectators’ eyes watered from the nitro fumes drifting across to the stands. McBride put a .038 to .131 holeshot on Svensson and was never headed. He claimed the win and the Manufacturers Cup with low ET and top speed of 5.765 at 227.10 against Svensson’s early click-off 6.022 at 199.82. “We had to really rush to get the bike put back together to get the run in before dark, so I think being so amped up helped my reaction time. I saw yellow and I was gone,” McBride said. “It was an unbelievable pass. It was absolutely awesome. It’s hard to describe.
“The hype leading up to the race was very stressful. We knew all of our stuff had to be perfect. We wanted to have everything in place to compete against somebody of his status. But we were having clutch issues. We got some new discs and they were so aggressive they were breaking our transmissions (in qualifying).”
With the victory McBride collects his 12th career championship. “It sounds like I’m getting old,” laughed Larry. “John Force just won number 16 so I’ll take 12 for sure. It’s hard to believe I’ve been drag racing for 35 years. This race was probably the most fun I have had. It made it sweeter.”
McBride thanked his primary sponsors—Pingel Enterprise, Drag Specialties-Parts Unlimited, Red Line Synthetic Oil Corporation, Web Cam, Final Swipe Merchant Services, and Joe Koenig’s Trim-Tex Drywall Products. “Joe is one of the best guys I have known in my life, and he sells the best drywall products in the world.
“Wayne and Donna Pingel are like family to me. I make the joke that I’m their oldest and youngest child. Pingel has by far the best quality in America. They have the top of the line, best engineered products and they are all USA made.
“The Web Cam girls and Steve are the best. They are like family to me as well. Laurie Dunlap does so much to help the sport. They also make the best cams on the market.
“Red Line is the best oil on the market or Alan Johnson would not be using it. Drag Specialties is a great company that I’m honored to be involved with. They are the best people to deal with. And I really appreciate Final Swipe and Gary Baillio. I really want to express my gratitude for him coming on board this year. He’s a great man with a great company.”
“There is not one sponsor that is not important.” McBride thanked his associate sponsors and added, “Everybody is equally important. We couldn’t do it without each one of these fine companies—K&N Air Filters, Web-Cam, Vance & Hines Motorsports, PR Factory Store, Ferrea Valves, Kibblewhite, Precision Machine, World Wide Bearings, Vanson Leathers, Belt Drives Ltd, Simpson Race Products, Nitrous Express, APE, EK Chain, Arias Pistons, MSD, Protect ALL, Cometic Gaskets, B&J Transmission, Carolina Cycle, L.A. Sleeve, PJ1, Mickey Thompson Tires, Valco, Goodridge, Carlisle Belts and Gates Belts.
McBride also thanked all of the dragbike racers who made it to the event from different countries. (McBride quotes courtesy of www.Cycledrag.com )
Top Fuel Twin
Bob “Opie” Malloy
The start of the meeting didn’t go too well for Bob “Opie” Malloy, when he damaged a pinion bearing on one of Jim Smith’s motors during testing on Friday, forcing him to miss the opening Top Fuel Twin qualifying session. But by the final session, Malloy led the field with 6.340 at 213.06 mph.
Just behind him was Rickey House with a new Johnny Vickers 196 cu in motor and a 6.348 at 218.28. He also ran a 219.56 p/b speed with a slower time of 6.350. House struggled in testing trying to find a clutch set-up (with Vickers tuning the clutch) but it all came together in the end.
Former European SuperTwins champion Per Bengtsson was next and ran 6.43 at 195 in Friday’s test day. He qualified with 6.466 with a p/b speed of 226.18. In Saturday’s sessions, Bengtsson’s battery failed at mid-track on the first pass and then he had to abort the next run due to no oil pressure when they fired up the bike.
Joachim “Acka” Riemer
Joachim “Acka” Riemer has had his bike back-halved and modified by Vickers early this season. New MSD (top fuel) coils have been fitted and he is now using a five plate Bentec clutch. Riemer steadily dialled-in the clutch on the machine and ran 7.12 in Friday’s test session—best to date run for the bike. Riemer was very happy after he ran 6.905 at 197.23 in Saturday’s session (the last time he ran a six second pass was a 6.85 in 2005) and was hoping to go quicker in the eliminations.
Rich Vreeland was on his new bike looking for a set-up and ran a best of 9.132 at 113.90. He ran a best speed of 151.54 in the final session.
Ray Cason had problems in qualifying sessions and ran a best of 12.020.
Malloy broke the beam to open eliminations when Cason was a no-show. Vreeland had a problem at the 100ft mark against House, who stopped the clock at 6.797-206.37.
Bengtsson vs Riemer
It was an all-European race next, with Bengtsson and Riemer leaving the start line at almost the same time. Bengtsson took the winlight 6.432 at 197.32 to Riemer’s 7.024-175.88. Riemer then had problems in the shutdown area (went off the end and hit a fencepost—editor) and got hurt. He was flown to the hospital and suffered cracked ribs and a damaged lung.
Joachim “Acka” Riemer
Lucky Malloy then had an earned bye to the final. Bengtsson was ahead of House at the 300ft mark in the other semi when a sprag broke in the transmission, leaving House to go into the final. Data reading to that point showed Bengtsson was on a run for p/b of 6.35.
On paper this final was going to be a close race, but it was decided at mid-track when Malloy’s front cylinder head hydrauliced and lit up the evening with flames. House claimed the victory with a 6.433 at 208.81.
Orient Express Pro Street
Joey Gladstone on the DME turbo Suzuki Hayabusa
Twenty three riders qualified to fight for the $10,000 Orient Express Pro Street purse. Newly crowned MIRock champion Joey Gladstone was the number one qualifier with a 7.016 at 211.71 mph on the DME turbo Suzuki Hayabusa. Teammates Terence Angela and Jason Dunigan qualified second and third with 7.045-208.76 and 7.105-199.77 respectively as DME swept the top three spots.
South African Brad Anassis qualified fourth with a 7.137 at 200.13 on his 2008 RMR-built ‘Busa. Ryan Schnitz’s 7.155 at191.48 rounded out the top five qualifiers. Sean McPhee’s 202.74 and Mike Bayes’ 200.89 were the only other riders to run 200mph plus during qualifying.
Flyin’ Frankie Stotz
Frankie Stotz had been entertaining the crowd (but not dad Kent—editor) with his wheelies off the start line during qualifying, but Angela ended Stotz’s hopes of getting to round 3 of eliminations with a 7.063 to Stotz’s 7.181. “Our performance was up and down,” said Kent. “We ran stellar 60 foot times, and from the 330 to the 1/8th mile was also stellar. The lighter bikes (nitrous bikes and 1000’s, like our Honda) had more trouble with traction in the middle of 2nd gear at exactly 2.45 seconds into each run where the concrete to asphalt transition is. Even with the chassis loaded it would start to spin until I took enough power out to get through that section. That worked but also slowed us down enough to not be able to win. I tried other combinations that got us the 7.06 in the first round Sunday only to spin in exactly the same spot again on the next run and our season was done.
“Many people said they would love to have earned our #2 plate, but after two #2’s we were really sad to see the season end without a #1 plate.”
Also in E2, Ryan Hable knocked out McPhee 7.266 to 7.640 when Sean drifted to the wall at ¾ track. Dunigan put a .015 r/t over Jeremy Teasley, who powered around to take the win 7.006 to a losing 7.150. Jose Valencia ended Anassis’ dream 7.128 to 7.325. Gladstone found the combo and ran 6.970-208.47 to trailer Berginie Naar’s 7.395. Schnitz beat Phil Stoll 7.166 to 7.351.
There was a shock in round 3 when #18 qualifier Hable beat “10K” Angela 7.364 to 7.429. Teasley dipped into the 6s with a winning 6.998 over Valencia’s 7.243. Schnitz took a shot at the tree against Gladstone but pulled a redlight as Joey ran another 6.986 at 208.47.
Teasley ended Hable’s great run in the first semifinal with a winning 7.190 to Hable’s 7.254. In the other semi Gladstone, had a bye and ran 6.978 at 206 mph.
Gladstone turned the wick up for the final and put a .011 r/t over Teasley to claim the $10,000 dollars with his quickest run of the weekend—6.937 at 208.23 and be the 2013 Manufacturers Cup winner. Teasley slowed to 7.277 at 183.
There were two $10K Pro Street races this season and Team DME claimed them both. DME boss Dimey Eddinger, Gladstone and the whole DME team thanked DME Racing, Penske Shocks , Catalyst Racing Composites, NLR , Vanson Leathers, Lucas Oil , CP/Carillo , Web Cams , Worldwide Bearings , Cometic Gaskets , R&D Motorsports , VP Racing Fuel , Dunigan Racing , DCE and MTC.
Billy Vose on the MPS Hayabusa
Two legends slugged it out in Pro Comp qualifying with points leader Billy Vose, on Mike Thyen’s MPS Hayabusa, coming out on top of Paul Gast with a 4.072 at 173.94 to Gast’s 4.080-175.09. I’d rather see these machines racing over the quarter running mid sixes (or 6.30s like last year’s Pro Mod winner Eric McKinney in Valdosta) at 200 mph plus instead of pulling up short at the 1/8 mile mark.
“We paced the field for the first round of qualifying on Friday with a 4.110 at 172.74 MPH,” MPS’ Dan Rudd said about the Vose entry. “While doing routine between run maintenance we discovered the crank was extremely tight in ‘Problem Child.’ This engine seems to be living up to its name. We had experimented with some new bearing technology and it had bitten us.
“We installed ‘Moe’ on Friday night and we were ready for Q2. Billy blasted off a team best 4.072 at 173.94, resetting the quickest run for a Hayabusa powered motorcycle. Because we had hurt one of our best engines in just one round of qualifying and we were already qualified #1, we elected not to run the third qualifier. A calculated decision that paid off, as no one was able to best our Q2 time and we would stay #1.”
Title contender Brunson Grothus was next with a 4.108. Jeremy Teasley ran 4.148, Ryan Schnitz 4.171 and Kim Morrell 4.187 made up the top half of the field.
“We were leading the Manufacturers Cup Pro Comp championship points by a scant 5 points ahead of C.D. Watson, and 6 ahead of Brunson Grothus. “We had to go at least as far as either of them to win the championship.”
Vose had an earned first round bye, and did Gast had a bye also when Darian Guillory was a no show. Likewise Mark Paquette had a bye with Teasley a no-show and Grothus also went into round two when C.D Watson’s transmission broke in qualifying. Rick Perry redlit against Morrell, so the only race of an ugly first round saw Schnitz beat Terry Wynn with a 4.169 to a losing 4.274.
Gast turned the wick up against Schnitz and ran low ET of 4.056 to trailer Ryan’s 4.155. Vose had another bye as did Grothus, who ran a personal best of 4.085 at 173.47.
The title decider was in the first semi, with the winner taking the crown. “The championship coming down to a one race shootout is just the way we wanted it,” said Rudd. “We had detuned slightly for the 4.10 pass the second round, so we knew it was stand on it time for Grothus.”
This was the best race of the day, with Grothus putting a .015 holeshot over Vose’s .027. Billy charged after Grothus and just failed with Grothus 4.114 at 170.19 winning over Vose’s 4.110 at 172.44. “We had gone 1.02 sixty foot times every run this weekend except this one, a tire spinning 1.04,” said Rudd, ignoring the holeshot. “Seems we got after it a little too much.”
Grothus was hoping to take the event win along with the Manufacturers Cup, but that dream ended just off the start line with a problem in the final as Gast took the winlight with a 4.400-151.
Another no-bar rider entertaining the crowd with wheelies off the start line during qualifying was Rickey Gadson, who was on top of the Real Street pile at the end of qualifying with a 7.770 at 188.87. Next up was Exoticycle’s Johnny “Turbo” Dobrin’s 7.858-184.95. Johnny Turbo ran top speed of the meet at 191.48 with a slower time.
Best race of the day was in the first round with Victor Gotay overcoming Anibal Merced’s huge .031 to .119 holeshot with a close win of 8.059 to Merced’s 8.148.
Gadson ended Gotay’s day by beating him in the semis 7.801 to 8.122 at 189.91—top speed in eliminations. In the other semifinal, Jamie Lopes red lit against Dobrin, setting up a Kawasaki ZX14R (Gadson) vs ‘Busa (Dobrin) final. Dobrin got out the gate first only to have a problem down the track and slow. Gadson took the winlight with a 7.838, but Dobrin took the title.
Rocky Jackson led a close and competitive Pro Dragster field in qualifying, resulting in personal best figures for Jackson of 7.208 at 171.36. Rebel Glover was the best of the Hawaya bike team with a 7.249-173.47. Dale Nilles was next 7.276-170.94.
Leading the next close group of racers was Tyler Wilson’s 7.300-168.63. During Saturday’s first qualifying session Wilson had an incident in the shutdown area and came off the bike. He was battered a little bit, but was ok.
Jannette Thornley was close with 7.326-166.32, followed by Clint Pleasant on his Fast Cat 7.363-170.35 and local legend Willie Herschberger’s 7.388-171.95—who is testing for next season (Jordan Cruz ran 7.21 on this bike).
Rich Vreeland went quicker on his Pro Dragster than his Top Fuel Twin with a 7.519-160.65. Pete Stimeling 7.546-162.16, Walter Halonski 7.725-169.04. Jordan Cruz ran 7.489-148.90 but broke a pinion bearing and was out of the show. Steve Pleasant was on the bump spot with 8.055-164.62.
Glover had a bye into round 2 of eliminations as did Stimeling, who ran a p/b speed of 166.20mph. Clint Pleasant’s 7.395 beat Herschberger, who had problems at mid-track. Nilles led from start to finish against Halonski, 7.338 to 7.542. Jackson ran another p/b of 7.172-172.81 to beat Steve Pleasant, who slowed at mid-track. Best race of the round saw Thornley come from behind to beat Vreeland 7.331 to 7.469. Vreeland ran the top speed of the meet 174.35.
Round 2 and Thornley again was last out the gate, but powered around to beat Glover 7.453 to 7.533 in a close race. Nilles again was out the gate first—this time against Stimeling, who ran his quickest run of the weekend 7.467—not enough to stop Nilles winning time of 7.290. Clint Pleasant put a .037 to .111 holeshot over Jackson, who powered passed Pleasant when Clint drifted to the wall at ¾ track and eased off with an 8.051 at 117.98 to Jackson’s winning time of 7.323.
Jackson had a bye run in the semis. In the other semifinal was the best race of the day. Thornley was yet again last off the start line with a .136 to Nilles .094 and chased after Nilles to the finish, but failed to take the winlight. Nilles’ 7.439 beat Thornley’s quicker but losing 7.419.
The final turned into a solo run when Jackson had a mechanical problem in the burnout box. leaving Nilles to take the win and the Manufacturers Cup Pro Dragster title.
Rocket go-karter Jack McClure checks out Teboul’s piece
Headlining the Haltech World Finals was France’s Rocket Bike rider, Eric Teboul. Using slightly different fuel (than he was used to), Teboul was going to run a check-out with a mid-5 second pass on Saturday. Instead, Teboul reset his world record with a run of 5.121at 264.39mph (putting the Bradenton track on the world map) and only just managed to stop the bike at the very end of the shutdown area. He ran a 5.334 at 228.65 on his last pass late Sunday.
Speaking of rockets, Jack McClure and his go-kart were in the house