The bar has been set. And rather high it is.
Larry “Spiderman” McBride, eight-time Top Fuel Motorcycle champion, aims to rewrite the record books yet again at the AMA Dragbike Spring Nationals from Memphis, Tenn. May 3-4. Here McBride will have his first opportunity to improve on his personal best elapsed-time since the veteran rider recorded the quickest dragbike pass of all-time with a 5.79 in Valdosta, Ga. back in March.
“I’m really looking forward to this race. The bike is ready and I love that track,” McBride said. “I’m glad we are going a month earlier than normal and it should not be sweltering hot like it has been in the past.”
McBride is the defending event champion and defeated Korry Hogan with a 6.05 to Hogan’s 6.14 in last year’s final.
Many seem to be wondering whether or not McBride and his record-smashing 1200-horsepower plus Suzuki have further performance capability beyond the 5.79 which took the team so long to conquer. McBride’s retort is bold and to the point.
McBride says the team’s new clutch management system built by brother and crew chief Steve McBride over the winter has significantly broadened the team’s horsepower horizons. With the new configuration the team is able to apply more force to the race track. Steve also created a new sate-of-the-art pulley system for the bike.
A strong and gratifying performance in Memphis would be a great way for McBride to put behind him what proved to be one of the most bizarre events of his career in Atlanta April 5th-6th. For the first time in McBride’s 30-year racing career he showed up at the race but did not compete.
“We showed up on Thursday and it rained until Sunday,” McBride said.
Adding to the problem was the fact that Atlanta Dragway had recently been resurfaced and there was very little rubber on the racing surface. The event however was not cancelled. Instead AMA Dragbike officials changed the race to an eighth-mile competition.
“We just didn’t feel that the track was safe enough for us to run the bike on. Roland (Stuart, co crew-chief) and Steve made the decision based on what they saw and we stuck to it. (AMA Dragbike chief starter) Tony Williams did a great job working with what he had. We appreciate everyone sticking behind us on our decision. Wayne Pingel (sponsor and owner of Pingel Enterprise) was behind us 100 percent.”
McBride’s Top Fuel colleague Chris Hand also elected not to run.
That’s not to say the inactivity has slowed McBride’s 2008 momentum.
“I think the time off is going to make us run even better,” McBride said. “The bike is ready to go and so are we.”
Before beginning the trip to Memphis, McBride got to have some fun at the Sand Drag World Championships in Louisiana. The Spiderman is assisting one of his customers who campaigns a nitro three-wheeler with a McBride built supercharged, four cylinder engine.
“It’s unbelievable. I have never seen anything like that,” McBride said. “It’s basically one of my motors in a three-wheeler. It’s a very fun sport. We are supporting it and giving our sponsors another avenue.”