If there were any doubts that Winston-Salem, North Carolina based DME Racing had a firm grasp on the world’s quickest streetbikes of Orient Express Pro Street, they were put to rest once again at the International Drag Bike League’s DME Racing Fall Nationals and Pro Street Battle Royale.
DME rider Joey Gladstone won his third straight Pro Street championship, and teammate Terence Angela won his second $10,000-to-win Battle Royale. DME has won all three Battle Royales ever run, with Gladstone winning the other one last year.
All this comes in a year when Pro Street saw a mid-season rules change aimed at slowing DME down after Gladstone ran stunning new records of 6.720 and 221 mph on his Vance & Hines sponsored, turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa (known as “Black Betty”) at Maryland International Raceway last April.
“It was disappointing in the beginning when they changed the rules,” said DME owner Dimey Eddinger. “But I knew we could make it work. We weren’t doing some of the things people thought we were doing anyway.”
Jockey-sized rider Gladstone lost an inch of wheelbase in the rules change and had to add 25 pounds. And even though he’s not nearly as small as Gladstone, Angela also fell into the same weight/wheelbase ratio as Joey.
Then came the heat of the summer, but the Battle Royale’s cool temps gave the field the chance to see what these bikes could really do under the new rules.
Which was not 6.72 at 221 good, but not bad either. Gladstone took number 1 with a 6.86 with a top speed of 218.80. Angela was fourth with a 6.890 at a new Pro Street MPH record 219.36.
“I felt like all the way up until the first round of eliminations, I was expecting people to run a whole lot better than they did,” said Eddinger. “I guess everybody was swinging so hard, they just fell short.”
“We had trouble with both bikes at one point. Saturday morning, Joey’s bike wasn’t sounding right. It was a brand new motor but we decided to pull it out. We put the spare in and still ran .80s.
“Then up until the second round of eliminations, Terence’s bike was pulling hard to the right. Normally, Pro Street bikes pull to the left. We tried to adjust and it wasn’t working, so we changed everything. Somehow or another the back wheel had gotten out of adjustment. We got that straightened out and he went out against the supercharged bike (of Tony Ficher) and ran an .87. From then on it was point and click.”
Gladstone blazed his way to a new-rules Pro Street ET record of 6.833 against Frankie Stotz in round 1. The team’s closest races on Sunday were Gladstone’s tight 6.86 to 6.87 round 2 win over former 3X champ Rodney Williford, and Angela’s race against Ficher—also in round 2.
Gladstone and Angela had to face each other in the semis. Terence took the tree .052 to .076, then Joey rode wheelies all the way down the track. Angela took the win and went on to beat Midwest racer Rudy Sanzottera for all the money in the final.
It wasn’t all good times for Terence and the team at Maryland. Back in Aruba, Terence’s good friend Patrick “Black” De Lange unexpectedly lost his father Ruben over the weekend. “It was tough for Terence to focus with that on his mind, but he did the job.”
The success of three straight championships and Battle Royales hides the many years that DME raced AT the top of the Pro Street, 60-inch, and Outlaw Pro Street fields, but not ON the top.
“For a long time, Andy (DME tuner Andy Sawyer) and I raced as a team, and I knew the equipment we had was, in my mind, by far the best,” said Eddinger. “I was always up front but never able to capture a championship. It was more than a hobby to me, but riding the bike wasn’t my business. It was hard at first when I decided to take a back seat and get someone else to ride for me, but I knew in my heart that what we had was the best and I knew I had to hire someone to show that.”
And focusing on business, running the team, and developing new parts has paid off big for Eddinger and DME, while the riders can focus on taking the tree and hitting their marks.
“When Joey and Terence get to the line, they block everything else out. And $10k can shake anyone up, or the person beside you can. Joey and Terence are running people they’ve looked up to all their lives, but they put their heads down and do the job.
“I’m glad I did what I did. I enjoy watching these guys go down the track and do what they love. It gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
And frees Eddinger’s mind to do other things, like add on to the DME race shop in Winston-Salem. “This shop here has been in my family ever since the ‘30s—my great, great grandfather built this place. If I ever sold this place, my dad would roll over in his grave and the family reunions wouldn’t be nice.
“So I have to build on to what we have here. We’re adding on to the shop and adding new machines to keep up with the demand for DME products. Our machines are running constantly to keep up with the demand, so new machines will allow us to develop new things.”
The DME team races next at the Manufacturers Cup World Finals at South Georgia Motorsports Park near Valdosta on November 13-15, then will be in the DCE booth at the PRI Show in Indianapolis December 10-12.
The whole DME team thanks DME Racing http://www.dmeracing.com/ , Penske Shocks http://www.penskeshocks.com/ , Catalyst Racing Composites http://www.catalystracingcomposites.com/ , NLR http://www.nlrsystems.com/ , Vanson Leathers http://www.vansonleathers.com/ , Lucas Oil http://www.lucasoil.com/ , CP/Carillo http://www.cp-carrillo.com/ , Web Cams http://www.webcamshafts.com/ , Worldwide Bearings http://www.worldwidebearings.com/ , Cometic Gaskets http://www.cometic.com/ , Robinson Industries http://www.robinsonindustriesinc.com/ , VP Racing Fuel http://www.vpracingfuels.com/ , Dunigan Racing http://www.duniganracing.com/ , DCE http://www.wiringlooms.com/ , MTC http://www.mtceng.com/ , APE http://www.aperaceparts.com , Vance & Hines http://www.vanceandhines.com , Beringer Brakes http://www.beringer-brakes.com , and Blouch Performance Turbo http://www.bptstore.com
This report was prepared by Tim Hailey. Enjoy everything there is to read, see and watch about motorcycle drag racing and more at http://www.eatmyink.com