In the wake of last weekend’s ManCup Fall Nationals at Rockingham Dragway, track owner Steve Earwood admitted that he was both amused and confused by suggestions that his track “was back” after Niki “Niki Zak” Zakrzewski, Rodney Williford and Larry “Spiderman” McBride set the motorcycle world abuzz with record-shattering performances that included a 255.29 mile-an-hour top end speed from McBride’s Top Fuel Bike.
“I didn’t know we’d gone anywhere,” Earwood laughed. “The Rock has been a destination track for anyone looking for maximum performance since we’ve been here and that’s been a source of great pride for me and my entire team.
“There’s nothing magic about it,” Earwood said. “I just takes money, passion and commitment from a whole lot of people. You don’t just sweep it off every week, throw down some traction compound and hope for the best. Everyone talks about track prep but it doesn’t make any difference who’s doing the prep if the track surface isn’t up to specs. That’s why we’ve repaved the track with a special mixture of asphalt five times. We’ve torn out the old concrete and poured new, we’ve ground down bumps and filled in dips and we’ve consulted with companies that specialize in competitive surfaces and followed their suggestions.”
The payoff for all that expense and effort is a weekend like the one just passed in which Zakrzewski became the first woman to break 200 miles per hour on a drag racing motorcycle, and in which McBride recorded the fastest bike speed ever.
“You enjoy the moment,” Earwood said, “but then you have to go back to work. We have the Original Super Chevy Show coming to town this weekend and those guys deserve a consistent, high-traction surface as much as the motorcycle guys, the ADRL Pro Mods or even the NHRA Pro Stock racers who test with us on a regular basis. You can teach track prep, but you have to start with something worth ‘prepping.’”
Top performances at the ManCup Fall Nationals at Rockingham Dragway: (1) Fastest speed on two wheels, 255.29 miles per hour by Larry McBride, Newport News, Va.; (2) fastest woman on two wheels, 205.82 mph by Niki Zakrzewski, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; (3) quickest Pro Street elapsed time record, 6.667 seconds by Rodney Williford, Rougemont, N.C.; (4) quickest Real Street ET record, 7.652 seconds by Dave “Super Dave” Stewart, Mooresville, N.C.; and (5) first side-by-side motorcycle 5-second run in open competition when McBride defeated Chris Hand of Navou Ala. in the first round, 5.957, 248.66 mph to Hands quicker 5.885, 222.95 mph.