Saluting the Dragbike Past Today

Vintage Double engine Dragbike
Comments (17)
  1. Franklin Ratliff says:

    Larry Welch commissioned the rocket bike and rode it, but didn’t build it. The rocket motors, propulsion system, and frame were built by Arvil Porter.

  2. Robert Zorn says:

    I am glade to see history . So many people don’t know the engineering process it take to develop a fast motorcycle This is something you just dont buy at the store .Real craftsmanship .

    1. Roy Strawn says:

      Mr. Ratliff is Very Correct about the rocket bike…..Not only did Welch Not build the machine, IT WAS NEVER LEGAL TO RUN AT ANY RACE OR EXHIBITION EVENT! He made One ILLEGAL Pass at Atco, NJ at an AMDRA National Event, Without Permission, Against His word that tne machine would be at the track Dry, ONLY for Show & Tell, Blasting thru a line of Police & AMDRA Officials, & down the track Wearing ONLY Leather pants, short lace up work shoes, & a T-Shirt..If it could be worse, IT WAS, as he made the run WITH ONE HAND ON THE THROTTLE, THE OTHER WAVING AT THE CROWD!..AMDRA had worked with welch to attempt to certify the machine for Exhibition runs Only since the bikes inception, but he wasn’t satisfied with that. THIS WAS ALSO THE LAST RACE OF HIS FORMERLY STELLAR CAREER RIDING FOR SONNY ROUTT ON THE ROUTT TRIUMPH DOUBLE ENGINE TOP FUELER . HIS LICENSE WAS REVOKED BY AMDRA/NHRA FOR LIFE!!!! Bob Mauriello took over the Routt Double, & Ran it to many T/F Victories…….In My Opinion, the Rocket Bike did NOT Deserve To Be With the Field of REAL Drag Bike Pioneers & Legends….Roy, Founder/Director AMDRA (The first All Bike Drag Racing Sanction in the USA)

      1. Don Morgan says:

        Roy Strawn, you have this exactly correct I was there that day looked at Rocket Welch’s bike in the pits next to his van. I witnessed two cops attempting to stop him from making the run.
        The fat cop was right behind that bike when he took off, practically blew him over backwards … what a show.
        You’re right he had his left hand in the air all way down the strip, he was wearing an orange T shirt.
        They (the cops) picked him up at the end of the strip.

      2. Franklin Ratliff says:

        Larry Welch’s rocket bike was legal at AHRA and IHRA tracks. I saw him run at Lakeland in 1976. Larry’s bike was the first drag bike to run 200 mph.

      3. Bill Lucas says:

        Roy Strawn,
        I was there at Atco when Welch ran that rocket bike also. I’ll never forget it and I tell that story to this day to my motorcycle buddies. I remember seeing Larry give those cops a blast of smoke then rocketing down the strip with a hand in the air. He came back in a paddy wagon handcuffed. Cycle racing back then was dangerous. I remember a Harley racer at Cecil County Dragway in the mid-70’s that went through the finish line at 150 mph and losing control and hitting the guardrail killing him. I think you were there too Roy.

    2. Roy Strawn says:

      I will give Huge Credit were Due to All the other Fantastic, Legendary, Pioneer Machines. To Have these Bikes at a Very Prestigious Event Like the Concourse at St Johns has been a life long Dream for me. I give Great Thanks to John Stein for helping to make it happen, The Riders/Builders/Owners of the Real Drag Bikes, and To Tom McCarthy for a wonderful Story & Pictures. I Sincerely Hope this event caught enough attention, that The Bikes and other worthy entries, will be invited back to St Johns, and Perhaps at other future Events of its kind. Thanks for listening, Roy, AMDRA

  3. Tom Loughlin Jr. says:

    Attaboy, Tommy.
    Roy said it well.
    PS..May I put a link to this in my Drag Racers Reunion page?

  4. frank spittle says:

    The diversity of this show is unparalled in drag racing history and may never be repeated. Larry’s Rocket Bike is as much of the history as any of the bikes displayed.
    Thanks for the great write-up Tom

  5. Mike Michaelsen says:

    Sir, I am looking to attend a Concours d’Elegance that includes motorc

  6. Guy Krant says:

    My father Lloyd Krant won the first AMA/NHRA drag racing event at Pomona CA on April 12, 1953. He also won the second AMA/NHRA drag racing event at Paradise Mesa in San Diego CA on July 19, 1953. My question is when did the AMA/NHRA put together their next event where they raced together as they did at the first two events? Was it outside of California? Or did the AMA and the NHRA begin to drag race separately? If separately, when did they join forces again?

    1. frank spittle says:

      Guy, you father is truly one of motorcycle drag racing’s greatest. I regret I never had the opportunity to meet him.

  7. norris bruce says:

    Hey is that the worlds famous Roy Strawn ofAMDRA,the same one who wrote all those bad checks in Orlando at the first race of the doomed 1976 season? Norris Bruce

  8. ED HEIL says:

    Just saw this site addison old drag bikes really kool ! You guys mite be Interested in a old drag bike I have owned for forty one yeat ! It is a double engine Honda built by Sandy Kossman for RC engineering RUSS COLLINS it has two one thousand cc single over head cam engines in the early seventies the bike ran 9 teens at over 150 mph ! looking to sell this famous drag bike my contact # 708 646 6324

  9. Franklin Ratliff says:

    Larry Welch’s rocket bike was accepted at AHRA and IHRA tracks, and was the first drag bike to run 200 mph.

  10. Justin O'Rourke says:

    Hi; I have the last drag bike that Carl McClanahan built. I have the build photo album, one of his books on making HP with a Harley motor, his leathers etc. The bike is a 1962 Sportster motor in a Yetman frame. It has a 160lb. pressurized tank to simulate a blower motor. $6,500 (c) 401-533-0530 Justin

  11. pete says:


Leave a Reply