Man Cup presented by Vance & Hines
South Georgia Motorsports Park
April 7-9, 2017
Written by Tom McCarthy
Season Open Preview
On Friday, April 7th, 2017, the season will kick off for the Man Cup motorcycle drag racing sanction. This year’s racing by Man Cup will center upon a five-event season, with championship points accrued in all classes. The year will end where it begins, at the South Georgia Motorsports Park, in Adel Georgia, one of the best racing facilities in the USA. This track is not only a smooth concrete drag strip, that’s traction city, but it’s shut-down friendly with a well-lit long enough shut down area to keep the Top Fuel bike drivers happy. And Top Fuel motorcycle drag racing is the centerpiece of Man Cup motorcycle drag racing. The world’s fastest Top Fuel motorcycles race with Man Cup.
As evidence of this, in the Pingel Top Fuel motorcycle drag racing series, at the season-opening Spring Cup, Larry “Spiderman” McBride will be out to defend his Top Fuel #1 plate against all comers. Larry will be seeking a 17th Top Fuel number one plate, but he has company with some notable contenders out to beat him this year. One notable challenger will be 10X European Top Fuel champion, from England, Mr. Ian King, a great Top Fuel bike drag racing legend in his own right.
By shipping his Gulf Oil sponsored Top Fuel motorcycle to the USA for 2017, Ian is stepping away from his chance at a European title in 2017. This is no small sacrifice on his behalf. When asked about this Ian kindly replied in part, “I will indeed miss racing with my friends in Europe this year and it would have been good to run the #1 plate again and defend my title. However, after winning 10 European Championships and in the process becoming the all-time highest points scorer of any drag bike racing class in European history, a new challenge beckons.” Coupled with this, Dave Vantine, Chris Hand, and Sam Wills all have proven five-second drag bikes that can run with the Spiderman any weekend. Dennis Bradley’s new Top Fuel bike will also be entering the mix with veteran drag bike pilot Mitch Brown at the controls. Terry Kizer’s new machine is 95% ready for competition and should be testing in May, entering competition in June, if all goes well.
In Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel action, #1 Plate holder Tyler Wilson is a maybe for the first race as Tyler suffered a recent shoulder injury and may not be able to compete at race number one of the five Man Cup events. This can give Michael Ray an opening he can exploit as his Johnny Vickers tuned “Terminator” bike is freshened up, and packed for the race. Class all-star Rocky Jackson is expected to be at the event, but Kirby Apathy is not. Kirby, just days before the race, had a parts failure to his “Gunfighter” motor, which is his own creation, and because it’s a home-grown, self-designed motor, some off-the-shelf parts are just not readily available. Exactly when Kirby can get parts made and be back on track; only time will tell.
In the Falicon Performance Pro Mod Series, 2016 Champion, Paul Gast will be back to defend his title. He will have his hands full with the likes of; Travis Davis, Brunson Grothus, Shane Eperjesi, Spencer Allen, Terry Wynn, Matt Prophit, Connell Smith, Ronnie Procopio, and Jeff House to contend with. That’s quite an All Star line up of P/M racers, the 2016 Man Cup top-ten in fact.
New to the class in 2017 will be Pro Open #2 plate holder Niki Zack, from Australia. Niki has centered her base of racing operations in the USA for 2017, and will be racing her own race program this year, both in the USA and select events in her home country of Australia. She is now the proud owner of two Walt Timblin bikes, one will race in the USA, the other in her homeland, down-under. Her crew chief Dan Wagner is ready to give her drag bikes the attention necessary to contend for championships in both locations, so watch for Niki Zak to be in contention this season with Man Cup.
In Nitrous Express Pro Open class racing, Mark Rendeluk, AKA Mr. Paint, will be back to defend his P/O title, which he’s won for two consecutive seasons now. His Wedman prepared monster is ready for 6.50’s and more, so all comers beware, to win in Pro Open class, it will take serious horsepower and 200 miles-per-hour performance to get into points contention. Any motorcycle, any combination can enter the class, but not just anyone can win in Pro Open – it takes very high performance to do so. Niki Zak, Joey Gladstone, Craig Brown, Rick Perry, Kevin Clark, Tommy Saxon, Vince Testa, Dennis Powell, and Jean Gosselin, were the top ten from 2016 racing, expect great things from them in 2017.
APE sponsored Track King Clutches, Pro Street will certainly be an interesting class in 2017 for Man Cup racing fans. With Gladstone no longer aligned with DME racing, Joey Gladstone is unlikely to repeat his Pro Street dominance again in the class.
Couple this with the fact that Williford Racing flexed its muscles with great strength at the recent OSCR IV event and the winds of change are brisk in Pro Street. Last year’s top-ten consisted of Joey Gladstone, Terence Angela, Brandon Mitchan, Mark Paquette, Ehren Litten, Bud Yoder, Jeremy St. Julien, Rodney Williford, Chris Connelly, and Jordan Haas. There is zero doubt the order of this list, at season’s end, will look significantly different this year when compared to the 2016 results you see here. New racers, new machines; the 2017 season in Pro Street will be an exciting one for sure with Man Cup racing.
In the Shinko Tires / WPS Real Street racing class, Joey Gladstone, the 2016 champion, will defend his title with a Gladstone Racing Engines bike. “I’m looking forward to racing in Real Street this season and hanging out with all my friends” says the fast man from Delaware. Joey finished #1 in the class with: Jason Herron, Anibal Merced, Luis Hornedo, Marcus Hylton, Eddie Chapman, Troy Jackson, David Stewart, Johnny Dobrin and Jamie Lopes, rounding out the top-ten in the class from 2016. With Joey now honing his skills in NHRA, Pro Stock motorcycle competition, he may be even harder to beat this season.
Grothus Drag Bikes 4.60 Class racing is also where racers and fans will find Joey Gladstone competing in 2017, on a motorcycle from Fast by Gast. Last year’s class champion, Ronnie Procopio, edged out Roderick Sanders by 9 points, on the last day of racing, to move to the head of the class. They were followed by Chase Morris, Keith Dennis, Bobby Lovingood, Joey Gladstone, Brunson Grothus, Joe Lemons, George Babor, and Mike Thyen. That’s a class of heavy hitters if ever there was one. The battle for the 4.60 class title in 2017 will be one for the books for sure. The title for 2016 was decided by fewer than ten, championship points. I’m willing to wager the 2017 title will be an even tighter race to the title.
Top Gas racing in 2017, sponsored by Star Power (formerly Star Racing), will definitely have one thing in common with the 2016 season: it’s tough out there, damn tough. Chad Otts won the title in 2016 over Ron Morris and they were followed by; Ricardo Marte, Harvey Hubbard, John Markham, Matt Smith, Dalton Perry, George Jones, Scott Saemisch, and Mike Konopacki. And while Mike Konopacki is listed tenth, don’t let that fool you. He’ll be at the season opener in 2017 and he’s as tough as they come with decades of experience. Also; don’t be surprised if you see the Dragbike.com BAMF, Mr. Dustin Lee in T/G this year.
In the Super Comp class, sponsored by MTC Engineering, Matt Smith, who won the championship in 2016 over John “Spooky” Markham, by seven points, will be back to defend his title. The line up of the top-ten for this class is one tough one, of top sportsman motorcycle drag racers: Dusty Brazel, Chad Otts, Mark McCoy, Harvey Hubbard, Barry Prior Sr., Wade Smith, Calvin Mason, and Ronnie Johnson. Look for a shake-up in the top-ten for 2017.
The World Wide Bearings Crazy 8’s class for 2017 will be a very tough class to win indeed for this season. The line-up of top-ten racers is like a list of the toughest sportsman motorcycle drag racers east of the Mississippi: #1 is Wade Smith, followed by Bad Bob Carlson, Danny Miller, Luis Hornedo, Dusty Brazel, Dustin Lee, Barry Prior Sr., John Loney, Bryan Minor and Spencer Claycomb. ANYONE who can crack this list is really doing something. The deck is really stacked here, with aces, lot’s of them.
In Wiseco Street Fighter racing, in 2016, the top-ten racers contain many of the same tough guys found in Crazy 8 racing: John Markham, Bob Carlson, Wade Smith, Dustin Lee, Roy Johnson, Barry Pryer, Danny Miller, Walter Houghtaling, Chris Roelse, and Tom Lagasse. Considering Stanley Russell and Dustin Lee have already been out racing and winning early this year, expect Stanley (11th) and Dustin Lee (4th) to, move up in the standings for 2017. Dustin “BAMF” Lee has already stated he’s intending to make all five Man Cup events in 2017. Expect no mercy in sportsman racing this year.
In the Vance & Hines sponsored V-Twin class, Duane Schmidt, who edged out Barry Pryer, Sr. by one point in 2016; it’s safe to say these two will resume their battle where they left off last season – slugging it out. The remainder of the top-ten behind them, Vance Houdyshell, Walter Houghtaling, Clint Riley, Rick Smoot, Manny Carrasqillo, Joe Peterson, Eric Knowles and Chris Wood, will all be out to replace the top tier of the class.
MPS Pro ET in 2017 will be a points battle from the first pass to the last. Dustin Lee, who missed two Man Cup events in 2016, and still finished top-ten, will not be missing any in 2017. He’s out for a championship trophy in this class perhaps more so than any other, this is his home. In 2016, John “Spooky” Markham won the class and he’s a great Sportsman motorcycle drag racing champion of the highest order. Not afraid of a damn thing, Spooky beat out Chad Otts, Bad Bob Carlson, Matt Smith, Bruce Rodgers, Calvin Mason, Dustin Lee, Harvey Hubbard, Corky Dufrene, Pete Hubbard, and 134 other bracket racers to win his title last year. Can he hold on to it in 2017? Come November of this year on the last day of racing, we will find out.
In the C&S Custom, Garwood Custom Cycles, Street ET class, in 2016, 167 ET racers vied for the title. Bad Bob Carlson stood out over them all with his class win last year, a major accomplishment. His title battle with Stanley Russell had a slim six point separation between these two titans of street bike racing and they will duke it out again in 2017. For fans who love close bracket racing, watching these guys go rounds this year will be a blast. Clint Riley, Roy Johnson, Eric Griffith, Joey Gladstone, John Loney, Wade Smith, Dusty Brazel, and Barry Pryor Sr. round out the Top-Ten from the class of 2016. How many of these names will change places in 2017 is anyone’s guess. But one thing is for certain: cracking into this top ten is no easy task. Good luck to all who make the effort to climb to the top, it all starts here: this is the path to Top Fuel racing.
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|Until Next time…
– Tom McCarthy
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About Man Cup Motorcycle Drag Racing : Headquartered in Safety Harbor, Florida, Man Cup motorcycle drag racing is North America’s largest professional motorcycle drag racing sanctioning body. Man Cup promotes motorcycle drag racing on a national event basis for professional, sportsman and ET bracket racers alike and is open to riders of all skill and experience levels. The Man Cup Series is the only national event style motorcycle drag racing series comprised of events throughout the eastern half of the United States. For marketing opportunities with the Man Cup as well as more information on Man Cup Motorcycle Drag Racing, please visit www.mancup.info on the web or 7 2 7 – 7 4 2 – 5 2 4 5 voice/text.
- April 7-8-9 / South Georgia Motorsports Park
- June 2-4 / Memphis International Raceway
- July 15-16 / Galot Motorsports Park (1/8 mile)
- September 23-24 / Rockingham Dragway
- November 17-19 / South Georgia Motorsports Park
The Man Cup Series is brought to you by our sponsors : Adams Performance – APE – Bates Leathers – Brocks Performance – Carolina Cycle – Cometic – Cooper Performance – D&G Chassis – DME Racing – Daytona Senors – Dragbike.com – Exotic Cycle – Falicon Performance – Galot Motorsports Park – Grothus Dragbike – Hawaya Racing – Hot Rod Chrissy Photos – HTP Performance – JRI Shocks – Lectron – McIntosh Machine and Fabrication – Memphis International Raceway – MoTec – MPS – MRE – MTC – Muzzys – Penske Shocks – Pingel Enterprises – Portable Shade – PR Factory Store – RCC Turbo – Roaring Toyz – Rob Bush Motorsports – Rockingham Dragway – S&S Cycle – Schnitz Racing – Shinko – Star Racing – Western Power Sports – South Georgia Motorsports Park – Trac Dynamics – Vance & Hines – Ward Performance – Web Cam – Wiseco Pistons – World Wide Bearing – Wossner Pistons