The two-week delay—caused by Hurricane Joaquin—of the Mickey
Thompson Tires International Drag Bike League’s 23rd annual DME
Racing Fall Nationals and Orient Express Pro Street Battle
Royale, may have dropped Maryland International Raceway’s
temperatures to bone-chilling, but the pre-Halloween on-track
action was blood curdling hot.
It was no surprise
that DME’s Terence Angela made the Battle Royale final on his
glittering, turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa. After all, Angela won
the inaugural Battle Royale two years ago, and runner-upped to
teammate Joey Gladstone and his DME/Vance & Hines ‘Busa last
year. Aruba superstar Angela has an island voodoo spell cast
over MDIR’s annual $10,000-to-win Pro Street all-star race.
This year, Angela
beat wild-wheeling Gladstone in the semis, while the other semi
was bound to produce a final-round shocker no matter which rider
won. Not that Jeremy Teasley would be shocking to see in the
final, but the HTP Performance turbo ‘Busa he was riding has
always been the blunt instrument in their trailer full of sharp,
was an even wilder card. Anyone not following the Midwest’s
NHDRO circuit carefully would not know how far Quicktime Racing
tuner Rudy Sanzottera has come both on the laptop and at the
throttle. Sanzottera has steadily progressed to run low 7.0s at
NHDRO’s Finals in September, and ran his first 6 second pass in
round 1 of Battle Royale eliminations.
So either way, the bookies were gonna have to payoff big to
somebody on these two longshots, and the winner turned out to be
Sanzottera. He wheelied early, recovered, and got around Teasley
when his wheel, too, soared skyward on the big end.
It went the other way for Sanzottera in the final when his
beautiful, glossy, blue, pink and chrome, side-mount turbo ‘Busa
spun at the hit. Other than a laid-back, round 1 win over
redlighting (a scant -.003) Darion “Nanu” Payne, Angela had been
living exclusively on planet 6.80s and the final against
Sanzottera was no exception—6.88 at 217.32 mph for the win and a
large brick of $100 bills.
Gladstone and DME
secured their third straight Orient Express Pro Street
championship earlier in the weekend, but had a somewhat more
complicated experience with their all-motor ‘Busa in the Real
Street class that DME sponsors. The cards seemed to fall
Gladstone’s way on the copper colored bike, beating everyone he
needed to in the proper order to have a chance at the
championship. He faced Roger Starrette in a winner-take-all
final round, and when Starrette’s clutch maintenance routine
failed him, Gladstone ran one of his many 7.70something passes
for an apparent win and a stunning championship.
Until IDBL’s tech department got their hands on the bike, and
Starrette’s, and more. It’s been many years since motorcycle
drag racing has seen a major rules infraction story. Back in the
AMA/Prostar days, post-race tech inspection was frequently a
source of juicy drama. But with so many different means to the
same ends in today’s rules structures, creative interpretations
have been either few and far between or kept well under wraps.
Until this weekend.
As cold hands fumbled with frozen tools, Zeus fasteners, Allen
head bolts, etc, what was revealed were infractions both mundane
and inventive. Gladstone, Starrette, and Roger’s teammate
Teasley were all DQed. That left Anibal “Cannibal”
Merced—already back in North Carolina after a round 2 loss to
Gladstone—as the season champion, and Rickey Gadson—still at the
track because he was busy winning Crazy 8s—as the race winner
after he went through a tear down himself and passed.
Jamie Lopes scored
one more for the islands when the St. Eustatius rider won Pro
Street B. After teammates Mark Paquette and Bud Yoder lost in
round 1 of the Battle Royale, it was up to Lopes to hold up the
pride of the McIntosh Racing trailer. Neither Lopes nor final
round opponent Cody Lowe dazzled with their reaction times, but
Lopes’ .147 was positively spot-on compared to Lowe’s .239.
Lopes ran 7.22 for the win.
Hoosier Justin Doucet struggled to keep his fast Two Wheel Werks
‘Busa on the ground through qualifying and thus was the class of
the Pro Street C field, taking the win over Rocky Tinker.
David Vantine ran
three 5 second passes to dominate the Top Fuel match race series
over local hero Bob “Opie” Malloy, racing his Nitro Harley in
injured Larry “Spiderman” McBride’s absence.
made his return to sportsman racing complete, winning Vance &
Hines 4.60. He beat new 4.60 champion Tyler Cammock in the final
after Cammock redlit by the slightest of margins, -.001. Number
1 qualifier Michael Ostrowski redlit by slightly more, -.003,
against Cammock in the semis.
Devil” Lee cast his own evil spell over “Fearsome” Andy Baumbach
in the FBR Shop 5.60 final, as Baumbach redlit with a -.018. It
was just enough to also score Lee a close championship win over
defending champ Ostrowski, who lost to George Shriver in round
3. Lee beat number 1 qualifier Scott Grady in round 2, and also
won Friday’s close Gamblers Race final over Mike McCarthy.
-.001 final round redlight gave Chuck White the Trac King
Clutches Top Sportsman win. Number 1 qualifier Doug Robinson
lost to Baumbach in round 2. Andre Jones started the day tied
with Brian Canoles for the class championship, but that battle
was over early when Canoles lost in round 1 and Jones advanced
to the title.
Jones also won
Shinko Tires Pro ET on Sunday, beating Baumbach in the final.
Both riders had identical .023 lights, but Baumbach broke out.
Jay Windsor won Sunday’s race when Nutley, New Jersey’s Glen
Giannetti redlit by -.002.
The big noise in
Shinko Tires Pro ET was the Tournament of Champions. Clay Davies
nailed a .015 light on fellow Virginian Baumbach in the final,
as the Fearsome one was obviously going rounds all weekend long
but coming up short, including this time against Davies.
Shayne Proctor won
the Brock’s Performance Street ET Tournament of Champions,
cancelling out Connecticut Kingpin Bob Carlson’s perfect 8.960
on an 8.96 dial with a .070 advantage at the tree.
Robert Parker won
both Brock’s Performance Street ET races over the weekend,
beating Davies in a double breakout race deep into a frigid
Saturday night. Parker’s victim on Sunday was Bruce Cornish Jr,
who had Robert by .039 at the tree but had shifting issues down
track and couldn’t run his number.
Parker also played
a major role in Sunday’s Carpenter Racing Crazy 8s championship.
If he could make it to the final round, Parker could take the
title over points leader Ben “Hardest Working Man in MC Drag
Racing” Knight. Ben was doing duty for employer Brock’s
Performance in their AIM Expo booth and, with a large lead in
hand, had to let the points fall where they may. That tension
ended in Parker’s round 2 race against Davies. Someone in the
pair before them schmutzed the track, causing a delay which
cooled the tire on Parker’s big Kawasaki ZX14. Perhaps because
of less torque on his ZX10, Davies didn’t spin while Parker did
and Knight scored the championship from hundreds of miles away.
At the end of the
day, it was none other than Rickey Gadson who scored the Crazy
8s win—the win that not only scored the Crazy 8s cash and trophy
for the veteran Kawasaki star but also kept him around the track
long enough to get his Real Street bike through teardown and
collect the win there as well.
So finally, a long
cold weekend of 793 racing entries was over, as was the Mickey
Thompson Tires International Drag Bike League season. IDBL
President/Promoter Jason Miller will welcome everyone back to
Maryland International Raceway on April 22-24 for the start of
the 2016 season.
This report was prepared by Tim Hailey. Enjoy everything there
is to read, see and watch about motorcycle drag racing and more