story and photos by Tim Hailey, except where noted
Jahaira Bratton kicks it out at the Bike Fest. More Bikini contest photos
The biggest motorcycle drag racing, stunt and club culture event of the year—the Fast by Gast / WPGC Bike Fest—was suddenly condensed into one long, busy day on July 22 when persistent rains washed Saturday’s schedule out completely. But whenever the Mickey Thompson MIRock Superbike Series is in town, Royce and Jason Miller’s Maryland International Raceway staff keeps it in high gear the whole time, prepping the track at 5:30 am on Sunday and pushing pair after pair of the world’s sickest dragbikes down the best racetrack in the business.
Mark Paquette’s 4.0 turbo consistency had some nitrous Pro Modders purging their opinions. Pro Mod photos
The mostly dormant turbo vs. nitrous battle was reignited when infrequent MIRock competitor Mark Paquette laid down record Mickey Thompson Pro Mod numbers on his badass black, turbo Kawasaki. Michigan medical tools sharpener Paquette laid down a string of 4.0s in the eighth mile class to get to the final against ADRL standout Casey Stemper, who also ran a couple of 4.0s late in the day. But that last one, a 4.08 in the semi against Ryan Schnitz’s 4.19 on the HTP Performance EFI/nitrous/Hayabusa “NJECTED” combination, damaged Stemper’s carbureted/nitrous/GS Suzuki in a flash of flame through the traps.
When Stemper rolled into the staging lanes, there was a resigned air of calm amongst his family crew and a decidedly unthrashed-upon look about his motorcycle. After a short burnout, Stemper staged the bike against Paquette, who’d noticed none of the signs of a wounded opponent. After taking the tree like it mattered, Paquette had the whole track to himself as Stemper shut it off back at the finishline. It was Paquette’s most vulnerable pass of the day, a 4.107. Paquette set the outright class record at 4.036 and topped his own MPH record with a trap speed of 182.58.
Rodney Williford’s “Purple Nitrous Bike Eater” gave up the 60 foots but took it all back on the big end
More Pro Street photos from the Bike Fest
Orient Express Pro Street champ Rodney Williford backed up his Rockingham win from the last MIRock race with another one at MIR. Williford ran the only teen in qualifying, taking pole with a 7.19 at nearly 207 mph. Schnitz and the HTP Performance nitrous Hayabusa Pro Street bike and Joey Gladstone’s MPH record-holding, DME Racing ‘Busa were right behind at 7.226 and 7.228, respectively. After identical lights, Gladstone took Schnitz out in the semi to face Williford in the final.
The two have met each other at the end of the day many times in 2012. This time, Williford came in with a consistent performance advantage and he showed it, running 7.20 in the final vs. Gladstone’s losing 7.35.
“Super Dave” Stewart. More Real Street photos from the Bike Fest
“Super Dave” Stewart is normally a quietly consistent DME Racing Real Street competitor, qualifying near the top and hanging in there ‘til the end of the day. But “Super Dave” and his turbocharged ‘Busa were the big noise for much of the day at Bike Fest, qualifying number 1 with a 7.90.
Johnny “Turbo” Dobrin made it a hair dryer sweep of pro class finals. More Real Street photos from MIR
Stewart beat Kawasaki superstar Rickey Gadson in the semis, while the other side of the ladder featured a race between rivals Johnny “Turbo” Dobrin on his Exoticycle turbo ‘Busa and multi-time Real Street champ Jeremy Teasley and his nitrous-huffing Kawasaki ZX14. Someone was going to have to run a 7.80 to win that match-up, and it turned out to be Dobrin. But the final was a different story, as both Dobrin and Stewart slowed to 8 seconds. Dobrin came out the victor, as he has three other times this season.
Boo Brown won Top Sportsman to make one of his many visits to the MIR winners circle.
More Sportsman photos from the Bike Fest here
The Trac King/APE Top Sportsman final featured a match-up between MIRock veterans Randolph “Boo” Brown Jr. and Chris Clontz. Brown took the tree and controlled the stripe, causing Clontz to break out.
Travis Boudreaux came out top in Crazy 8s. More Sportsman photos from the Bike Fest here
House of Speed Crazy 8s went to first time winner Travis Boudreaux, who ran the number while multi-class competitor Bob Carlson was slowing down late into the night.
Crystal Dickerson! More Paint the 1/4 Pink photos here
The “Paint the 1/4 Pink” breast cancer research fund raising event went to Crystal Dickerson, who beat Clontz’s wife Kelly in the super-close final.
FBR Shop 5.60 Index was down to Walter Houghtaling and James Farmer when the busy program ran up against MIR’s 1:00 am curfew. Also caught unfinished was the double payday Fast By Gast Pro ET and Brock’s Performance Street ET, both after 5 rounds.
Richard Gadson on the Bud Light Lime grudge bike. More grudge photos from the Bike Fest here
Although Afterdark Underground was washed out, Grudge Racing remains a MIRock priority and ran sessions thoughout the day and evening on Sunday.
Sherrell Blake gets his grudge on at MIR. More grudge photos from the Bike Fest here
An XDL stunter kicks out his jams for Budd’s Creek. Photo by Genie Muldoon
XDL ran their kick-ass Stunt Bike competition all day Sunday, and the XDL pro riders even ripped it up in the rain on Saturday. Bill Dixon took the XDL Cup Final, Luke Emmons the Yamaha Generators Wheelie Race, Lin Eshlom the K&N Circle Challenge, Aaron Colton the Motul Drift Battle, and Rafal Pasierbek the Racing 905 Sickest Trick.
The MIR Bikini Contest is always a winner. More Bikini contest photos
MIR’s famous $1,200 bikini contest— MC’d by WPGC’s ever popular Shack Nd Pack—was won by stunning beauty Jahaira Bratton, a frequent contestant on the MIR stage. The event also featured a show of sweet custom bikes, hot live music and the finest bikini bartenders ever! And even Saturday’s rain delay was well spent, as the motorcycle drag racing community spent the day telling track stories, street stories, tech stories, bad behavior stories, you name it.
Bikini bartender Sierra handing out a blue mountain. More candid photos from the Bike Fest here
Rain doesn’t slow MIR social scene
I know Jason Miller doesn’t share my warm glow, but I had one of the best times at the track in a long time today, yet not a wheel turned. Yes, it rained just enough all day to keep bikes out of the lanes, and stopped just enough to set track drying into action several times. MIRock/Maryland International Raceway promoter Miller puts lots of his eggs into the Fast by Gast / WPGC Bike Fest basket, and it was a very frustrating day for him and the MIR staff as bad weather postponed everything to Sunday. But for everyone in the pits, it was nothin’ but a party.
It would be impossible to share nearly all the stories I heard told in trailers and under awnings today. Some of the highlights were those told by Lazer Mike Hubsher and Joe Franco about the ’70s, and Chris “CJ400” Johnson about the ’80s. Many of their stories included the Chicago Shootout engine specialist Ray Belucci. “Ray’s heads were the best ever,” said Hubsher, who knows a thing or two about quality head porting. Mike’s heads sat atop Mike Slowe’s many Pro Sportbike and Pro Street championships. “But the surface of Ray’s heads were like butter,” continued Hubsher. “I know how he got them that way, but I can’t imagine putting in the time it takes to get them like that.”
There were track stories, street stories, tech stories, bad behavior stories, you name it. HTP Performance‘s Cecil Towner talked about Wizards of NOS with Pro Modder Steve Creech. Roger Starrette talked about his nitrous set-ups with the Purnell Twins, Garry and Barry. Kristen Korczynski talked about being back out on a bike. Adams Performance’s Garron Miller quipped whenever given the slightest openning. Pro Street Cycles’ Ronnie Mitchell showed off the new BST wheel built specifically for 600 horsepower bikes like his “Rizzo.” Dawn Grindle busily measured racers for new Bates suits. DME Racing‘s Dimey Eddinger updated me on the health of his dad Mickey, who needs all of our prayers and thoughts right now. Exoticycles‘ Johnny “Turbo” Dobrin set about turning a Plain Jane ‘Busa streetbike into a dragstrip warrior. Traci Davis—one of many fine ladies, including Korczynski, sporting “Paint the Quarter Pink” apparel—cruised around with her little boy. Wayne Robertson cooked up a feast of grilled chicken, homemade string beans, and squash with bacon and butter. And everywhere were milk jugs of “water” that people approached cautiously and drank slowly…Just a small, small sample of what was going on, and through it all there was not a frown to be seen. Big laughs and broad smiles were everywhere despite the constant London fog.
Lacing all the stories together were questions and laments about this week’s suicide by Pennsylvania racing raconteur Gary Kramer. I first met Gary when covering a Double Lyte Posse event for Motorcycle Street & Strip back in the day. Gary came over to the Armory to hang out and put his sweet streetbike in the MS&S tent. He helped get Slowe started in racing long ago and was a major presence in the PA scene. He was also a wildman (Google “Gary Kramer Feasterville” and you’ll see…), and always handy with a pointed insight about what was happening on and off the track. Needless to say, his many friends are shocked, saddened, angered, and left wondering “Why?” RIP Gary, hope that leg’s not hurting you any more.
As for the race, all ET purses have been doubled and pro qualifying and eliminations will be run. This will be an action-packed day with over 400 bikes already entered in the event and new entries are still welcome on Sunday. The schedule for Sunday remains the same except there will be two qualifying sessions for the Pro classes at 10am and 12 noon, since no qualifying was completed on Saturday. There will be one Sportsman time run starting at 9am and then we will go right into eliminations for Sportsman classes. The WPGC stage show, XDL competition, Bike Show and bikini contest schedule is unchanged. So pass the word, this will be the most incredible day with motorcycle drag racing, WPGC stage show, bikini contest, XDL stunt show, custom bike show, vendor midway and much, much more! Admission is just $20.
Biggest Bike Fest ever on tap at MIR
The Mickey Thompson MIRock Superbike Series returns to Maryland International Raceway for the biggest and baddest motorcycle drag racing, stunt and club culture event of the year—the Fast by Gast / WPGC Bike Fest on July 21-22, 2012. The weather will not likely be as hot as the last MIRock event, held at the peak of this summer’s heatwave at Rockingham Dragway, but the action—both on and off track—surely will be.
Rodney Williford’s Purple Nitrous Bike Eater
Two-time defending Orient Express Pro Street champ Rodney Williford got his groove back at The Rock and is looking to bring his winning momentum to MIR and make a move in the points standings. But he’ll have to get past the MPH record-holding, DME Racing Hayabusa of two-time winner Joey Gladstone by day’s end to claim the win.
Joey Gladstone and the DME Racing ‘Busa
This pass in June didn’t turn out so well for Jeremy Teasley
After winning the Rockingham opener on Ken Edwards’ “No Joke” ‘Busa, rider Jeremy Teasley and the team went through some struggles, including a lurid rear wheel failure and crash at MIR in June. After blowing a motor in morning shakedown at Rockingham, Edwards left the park, saying he was done for good. So Teasley’s Real Street owner/tuner, Roger Starrette, will try his hand at turning the knobs on “No Joke” at MIR to see what the orange bike can do, and see if Teasley can make a run in the points.
Jeremy Teasley’s Real Street ZX14
Johnny “Turbo” Dobrin’s Exoticycles turbo ‘Busa
Making a run in the points is exactly what Teasley and Starrette have in mind in DME Racing Real Street. Multi-time Real Street champ Teasley and Starrett’s trailer full of nitrous huffing Kawasaki ZX14s finally found the winners circle at The Rock after ceding the first three races of the season to Johnny “Turbo” Dobrin’s Exoticycles turbo ‘Busa. Real Street bikes have hit the number at every event in every condition this year, so they’ll be sure and make the best of MIR’s meticulously prepped surface and deliver a hot, hot show.
Mickey Thompson Pro Mod should get a boost from a mid season rules tweak to bring some bikes up to speed and fill the field for the hair raising eighth mile class. Wins have been spread liberally this year amongst perennial champion Ronnie Procoppio, Mac McAdams and Robbie Hunnicutt. But HTP Performance builder/tuner Cecil Towner and his EFI/nitrous/Hayabusa combination ridden by Ryan Schnitz are knocking on the winners circle gate and hoping to complete the deal at MIR.
Ryan Schnitz on the HTP Performance “NJECTED” Busa Pro Mod
Also expect huge Trac King/APE Top Sportsman, House of Speed Crazy 8s, FBR Shop 5.60 Index, Fast By Gast Pro ET, and Brock’s Performance Street ET fields to race deep into the night along with Saturday night’s Afterdark Underground, Grudge Racing both days, and MIR’s famous $1,200 bikini contest on Sunday, MC’d by WPGC’s ever popular Shack Nd Pack.
MIRock is also proud to team up with the XDL Show to bring an even bigger Stunt Bike competition to the Bike Fest with XDL’s pro riders. There will be a practice session and competition on both days as these insane jockeys defy the laws of physics.
There will be a special “Paint the 1/4 Pink” race to raise money for breast cancer research. Female motorcycle racers have been raising sponsor money and donations in the sport they love for a great cause, so come on out and show them your support in this fantastic shootout.
The event will also host a huge vendor midway on both days full of motorcycle parts, apparel, and accessories. And be sure to check out the wild custom bike show, incredible live music and luscious bikini bartenders in the beer garden on Sunday.
If there is one event to make sure you hit, the Fast by Gast / WPGC Bike Fest is it!
Pro Mod Rules Change in time for Bike Fest
MIRock officials have made a few revisions to the Pro Mod rulebook in an effort to help a few lesser combinations be more competitive. “We had upped the minimum weight to 625 lbs this year in the MIRock Pro Mod class for the roller bearing nitrous bikes as many riders could not get their bikes below 625 lbs,” said MIRock promoter Jason Miller. “However, there were some teams out there that could get their bikes down to 600 lbs due to very small riders, but had 1500cc or smaller motors compared to the 1800cc mountain motors that the majority of the class has. So we moved the minimum weight for 1500cc and smaller engines down to 600lb to help them get a footing into the class. The 1501cc-1800cc bikes will remain at 625 lbs. We have also made a new PM/O combination for some of the X Outlaw bikes to have a place to race now and add wheelie bars. The last revision was some intercooler wording changes for the turbocharged bikes.
“The following rule revisions are effective immediately on 7-11-12, and the normal MIRock 14 day window for rule revisions do not apply here as we are opening up a combination and not restricting it before the event. These rules will be in full effect on July 21-22 at the Fast by Gast / WPGC Bike Fest.”
Click to view the updated Mickey Thompson Pro Mod Rulebook
For more information on the Mickey Thompson Tires MIROCK Superbike Series please visit: www.mirockracing.com