'Spider-Man' turns track into his personal web site
McBride's 5.87-second run over quarter mile may be a world record
BY WALT AMACKER
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER May 3, 2004
MOTORCYLE DRAG RACING
DINWIDDIE -A Virginia rider dressed like - and appropriately nicknamed - "Spider-Man" wowed the crowd yesterday at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Atop a 1,000-horsepower Kawasaki, Larry McBride tentatively set a world record by covering a quarter mile in 5.87 seconds and topping out at 244.74 mph.
McBride, of Poquoson, blew away the field in style in the Top Fuel division at the AMA/Prostar Lucas Oil Spring Nationals. And he did it with a bike that had its engine replaced overnight because of a cylinder problem that occurred Saturday.
After his record-setting semifinal performance that looked like it started a little wobbly, McBride said, "The shaky start was to be expected because with an engine that fast you'll always see a little tail waggle at the beginning. You can't let off on the throttle because that just makes it worse. I knew it would straighten out."
For McBride's record to be official, he would have to back it up with another run in the finals within 1 percent of his time and speed in the semis.
Few doubted he would, but a lengthy delay for an injured driver (whose identity and condition were not released) and a final rain storm causing the finals to be canceled. That created a situation that could push McBride's record confirmation off until the AMA - the major league of motorcycle drag racing - competes next month in St. Louis.
When asked about his engine troubles from Saturday, McBride said his team replaced his engine from yesterday leaving them no spares. So they drove back to their shop in Newport News, picked up another one and got back about 2 a.m.
"And what a great place to break the record, right here at what I consider my home track," McBride said. "The staff and people here are great. They treat me like a million dollars, and it's just awesome to come up here and run for them."
Kent Stotz also set a world record in the Streetbike Shootout semis, punching out a run of 7.42 seconds at 192.24 mph, setting up a duel with Ricky Gadson for the final. Stotz's record was confirmed by an earlier within-1 percent run.
For the first-time observer, this is a sport that looks like several hours of boredom followed by 6 to 8 seconds of sheer terror.
It's going 200-plus mph on a two-wheeler surrounded by asphalt surface, concrete walls and blue sky with very little to protect you but your instincts and a plastic helmet.
Reaction time is important if something goes wrong, but the most important time comes when the green light shows and your throttle rush is measured in thousandths of a second.
But the brave souls were here, representing 26 states and Canada in one of eight top motorcycle drag racing events held in the country annually.
Keith Kizer, president and CEO of AMA/Prostar, the world's leading sanctioning body of motorcycle drag racing, has brought the AMA/Prostar Lucas Oil Spring Nationals to Virginia for the eighth consecutive year.
"Because motorcycle drag racing is mainly supported by the 'average Joe,' we cater to them," Kizer said yesterday at Virginia Motorsports Park during the finals of the two-day show.
"Unlike cars, we have to have the most perfect racing facilities in the country," Kizer said. "And this is one of the best around. We have to have room for our motorcycles to stop. We don't have parachutes, only one brake for each wheel. It takes a lot of room to stop a Top Fuel bike that might hit well over 200 mph in a quarter of a mile.
"Streetbike Shootouts are the second most popular category after Top Fuel, because they look like the bikes that many spectators ride, so they associate with them," Kizer said.
"But they're not necessarily something that a person would take out on the street and ride to work, even though they are required to have a headlight, taillight and license. And these guys are riding them at a 7.70 [seconds per quarter mile] and getting them up to 190 mph."
That is some crazy shit.........
Damn! I watched Elmer Trett set the record at 6.60 @220+MPH about 15 years ago at Maple Grove Raceway in Pa. Trett is now dead from a crash at the US Nationals a few years later. Having seen what it looked like at 6.60 seconds, I can't believe anyone has the balls to run it the high 5's!
I though me hitting 170 was nutz......I had several miles to get 'er up.
Is he strong?
He's got radioactive blood.