Bikes In the Valley : Over a Decade in the Making

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Bikes in the Valley

Bikes In the Valley
Lebanon Valley Dragway
May 28, 2017

Over a decade in the making

Words and photos by Tom McCarthy

At Lebanon Valley Dragway, in up-state NY, since 1953, the drag strip affectionately known by the faithful as LVD, for some 64 years now has been serving the racers quality drag racing since well before JFK was in the White House. And ever since they started sending drag cars down the quarter-mile, the drag bikes have been in attendance as well.

 

For some twelve years now, the Bikes In the Valley program, assembled by the racers, for the racers, has served the drag bike racing community very well. The program is more commonly known as the BIV, and it’s been growing year after year. Now in 2017, it’s not uncommon to see over 100 drag bikes at a BIV event. As evidence, on Saturday, May 27, 2017, there were 96 drag bikes entered in the three classes; Street ET, Pro-ET and the new 9-Below class (8.99 or quicker, Pro Tree). While there were a few bikes that entered in more than one class, there was also drag bikes engaged in Test & Tune action, bringing the number up to over 100 race bikes making passes down the 1320, of LVD (Lebanon Valley Dragway).

Some of the racers in attendance were New England Dragway regulars including Team Ho members: Ed Hughes, John Civitarese, and Sam Hurwitz. Others from NED included Dieter Anger, Tony Ficher, Carl Cicchetto, Tom Peterson, and Keith Correia. Joe Ferraro, last year’s NED Street Fighter champion is a switch hitter and can be found at LVD or NED, most any weekend and the same can be said for Gary Russell who’s been red hot in Man Cup competition as of late.

Tom Peterson

The long distance award for this event, if they had one, would have gone to Ben Knight, who came up all the way from Virginia, putting in 8 hours of driving to make the event, some 1100 miles of travel, both ways. And for Ben, it was worth it.

M2 Shocks Street ET
W – Ben Knight
RU – Carl Cicchetto

Ben won in the M2 Shocks sponsored, Street ET class, which had 36 entries. He was hammering the tree all day with deep reaction times every hit. He ran two different drag bikes in three different classes which is very difficult to do. There are only a handful of racers who can do this, go from a bar-bike to a no-bars bike, and win. It takes great skill to do this.

Carl Cicchetto

 

The runner-up in Street ET was Carl Cicchetto, of NH who races drag sleds frequently as well as drag bikes and his street bike! Carl was running his Victory bagger, a rather LARGE motorcycle to be drag bike racing, but Carl does this all the time and like Ben, he’s in possession of mad skills and he’s no stranger to the winner’s circle. Carl’s been racing at New England Dragway for many years now, and he will grass drag, dirt drag, snow-ice-Lake: you name it Carl is GAME!

 

Vanson Leathers Pro ET
W – Jeff Tisdale
RU – Ben Fish

In the Vanson Leathers sponsored Pro ET class, Jeff Tisdale won the event with Ben Fish in the R/U spot. Jeff has been a regular at LVD for well over a decade now and his bike is kind of a hallmark at the track. He’s no stranger to the winner’s circle at LVD and has the championship jackets to prove it.

Jeff Tisdale

 

Ben Fish

 

 

DME Racing 9 Below
W – Bob Carlson
RU – John Hastings

The newest class of competition at LVD is the 9 Below class, sponsored by DME Racing. The primary reference of 9 Below is that this is for motorcycles which have an 8.99 or quicker dial. A secondary reference is to the penchant of the area of NY where the track located to go deep below zero in the winter time. Nine below zero is warm really, when the wind chill hits -27 degrees Fahrenheit outside. The extreme title fits the extreme bikes that race the class.

Bob Carlson

Low qualifier for this event was Tom Peterson of Massachusetts, on his home built Suzuki Hayabusa, he clocked in with qualifying numbers of 7.78 @ 174.38 MPH. After the smoke cleared for the day, in 9 Below, it was bad Bob Carlson of CT, headed to the winner’s circle. John Hastings was runner up this day.

Bob and racer Walter Houghtaling are the hub of the wheel in the pits at Lebanon Valley Dragway. They are not the sole racers keeping LVD racing alive and they are the first ones to point that out. But their efforts are very much pillars of the motorcycle drag racing community at LVD. They both race Man Cup events and IDBL too, as often as they can each year.

Wayne Delmonte and his staff at Lebanon Valley Dragway are to be commended for running a safe facility that welcomes the drag bikes, just as they do the cars, every week they are open. The motorcycle pit area is always humming with generators and activity whenever the Bikes In the Valley racers are in the house. The Bikes In the Valley, sponsored by Orient Express, will have their next event on June 10th, 2017.

 

Weekend Photo Gallery

Tom McCarthy Until Next time…

– Tom McCarthy

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