Larry “Spiderman” McBride crushed the competition Sunday at Rockingham Dragway, stopping the quarter-mile timers in a best-in-history 5.607 seconds at a jaw-dropping finish line speed of 263.10 miles per hour to win the Top Fuel title for the fourth time in five years in the track’s annual Man Cup Motorcycle Series event.
After tuning up with a qualifying time of 5.620 at an even 263 mph, the veteran from Newport News, Va., unloaded on defending race champion and erstwhile point leader David Vantine of Hamilton, N.Y., in the final round to move back to the top of the rider standings in his bid for an unprecedented 20th series title.
McBride, who fell behind Vantine in the points race after a rare first round defeat in the Man Cup opener, will move on to Valdosta, Ga., where he can win his sixth straight Man Cup title. Before Saturday, McBride’s 5.677 second run at 250.74 mph last year at Bowling Green, Ky., was the benchmark for drag racing motorcycle performance.
Athough McBride’s qualifying number gave him an immediate psychological edge, it was Vantine who earned the right to pick his lane in the final round after he beat former Ray Price Racing standout Tommy Grimes with a time of 5.808 in the semifinals.
Grimes, the veteran from Winston-Salem, was the No.2 qualifier ahead of Vantine astride “The Beast,” a bike owned by four-time European Top Fuel Motorcycle Champion Per Bengtsson of Klippan, Sweden.
Among the other Sunday winners was Sam White of Chapin, S.C., whose final round victory over two-time reigning series champion Preston Bartlett of St. Augustine, Fla., means that the Man Cup Pro Fuel title won’t be decided until the finale.
Veteran Mark Rendeluk of Oklahoma City, Okla., and 69-year-old Paul Gast of Grand Island, N.Y., won in Pro Open and Pro Mod, respectively, while Chris Edwards of Bessemer City prevailed in Pro Street.
Rendeluk beat 2017 Rockingham winner Niki “Niki Zak” Zakrzewski of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, the fastest woman on two wheels, when she suffered an uncharacteristic loss of concentration at the start and gave up an enormous advantage that she simply could not overcome.
It was a good day for Puerto Rican riders Pablo Gonzales and Ricardo Marte. Marte was beaten in the Super Comp final by Jason Herron of Lexington, S.C., while Gonzales won the Saturday Pro ET race, was a Saturday semifinalist in Street ET and was one of the three riders still in contention when rain halted racing in Pro ET on Sunday.
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Results from Sunday’s Man Cup Motorcycle Series presented by Vance and Hines and Rockingham Dragway. Hometowns are North Carolina unless otherwise indicated. Results include reaction time, track time, target time (when applicable) and finish line speed:
Qualifying – 1. Larry “Spiderman” McBride, Newport News, Va., 5.620, 263.00 mph; 2. Tommy Grimes, Winston-Salem, 6.443, 209.69 mph; 3. David Vantine, Hamilton, N.Y., 6.555, 231.32 mph; 4. Larry Stanley, Laurinburg, 11.878, 107.81 mph.
Semifinals – David Vantine, Hamilton, N.Y., .117, 5.808, 246.03 mph, def. Tommy Grimes, Winston-Salem, .128, 16.126, 62.63 mph; Larry McBride, .152, 6.878, 141.19 mph, def. Larry Stanley, Laurinburg, .162, 32.841, 21.44 mph.
FINAL – Larry “Spiderman” McBride, Newport News, Va., .054, 5.607, 263.10 mph, def. David Vantine, Hamilton, N.Y., .137, 6.797, 151.24 mph.
Qualifying – 1. Sam White, Chapin, S.C., 7.234, 177.09 mph; 2. Preston Bartlett, St. Augustine, Fla., 7.349, 175.46 mph; 3. Jim Martin, Palestine, Ill., .7.517, 171.71 mph; 4. Jay Beasley, Winston-Salem, 7.701, 166.74 mph.
Semifinals – Sam White, Chapin, S.C., bye; Preston Bartlett, St. Augustine, Fla., .151, 7.402, 176.33 mph, def. Jim Martin, Palestine, Ill., .101, 13.443, 65.87 mph.
FINAL – Sam White, Chapin, S.C., .124, 7.382, 168.16 mph, def. Preston Bartlett, St. Augustine, Fla., .227, 7.309, 177.70 mph.
Semifinals – Mark Rendeluk, Oklahoma City, Okla., .160, 6.336, 216.13 mph, def. Bobby Lovingood, Leland, no time; Niki “Niki Zak” Zakrzewski of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, .120, 6.418, 207.15 mph, def. Bob Giard, Gainsboro, Tenn., .136, 7.039, 198.06 mph.
FINAL – Mark Rendeluk, Oklahoma City, Okla., .016, 6.353, 214.45 mph, def. Niki “Niki Zak” Zakrzewski of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, .506, 6.536, 206.39 mph.
Semifinals – Chris Edwards, Bessemer City, bye; James Herbert, Suffolk, Va., .129, 7.998, 194.66 mph, def. Geoff Godfrey, Bealeton, Va., .180, 9.018, 173.05 mph.
FINAL – Chris Edwards, Bessemer City, .079, 7.159, 198.93 mph, def. James Herbert, Suffolk, Va., .104, 8.336, 196.79 mph.
Semifinals – Paul Gast, Grand Island, N.Y., .046, 4.122, 155.26 mph, def. Tyron Lemons, Atlanta, Ga., .026, 4.371, 149.43 mph; Mike Chongris, Eastlake, Ohio, .025, 4.183, 167.49 mph, def. Terry Wynn, Jacksonville, Fla., .090, 18.500, 40.07 mph.
FINAL – Paul Gast, Grand Island, N.Y., .007, 4.042, 177.35 mph, def. Mike Chongris, Eastlake, Ohio, .007, 4.236, 148.33 mph.
Semifinals – Spencer Claycomb, Rockford, Tenn., .096, 7.622, 185.05 mph, def. Jason Herron, Lexington, S.C., .058, 8.338, 168.96 mph; Mark Hylton, Eden, bye.
FINAL – Mark Hylton, Eden, .009, 7.771, 177.01 mph, def. Spencer Claycomb, Rockford, Tenn., .094, 7.700, 187.34 mph.