October 3-4, 2009, Maryland International Raceway
High horsepower weather and a fastidiously prepared Maryland International Raceway made for an all-out assault on both ends of the Orient Express Pro Street record at the Fast By Gast Superbike Finals, part of the eight race Mickey Thompson MiRock Superbike series. Bike counts swelled, spectators rolled in and yes the bikini contest thumped as the sun shone and fall temps moderated.
Saturday's Pro Street qualifying gave a heads-up as to what would come on Sunday, as multi-time, multi-sanction champ Mike Slowe ran a quickest ever 7.151 to take the number 1 spot. Bud Yoder was second, Steve Jester third, and Mike Kovacevich pushed the Orient Express/Rush Deal Suzuki Hayabusa to fourth with a trap speed of 201.34 mph.
Sunday's weather was even better. These are the conditions we dream about, said Mike Hubsher of Lazer Porting. You gotta love this! Yoder ran 7.115 at 203.92 to set the knowledgeable crowd on fire. On a round one broke bye, Slowe was even better to the eighth mile than Yoder but top end tirespin wasted the 550+ horsepower motor in his turbocharged Hayabusa. He ran 7.20 at a way-slow 181.
Indeed, the weather had bracket racers breaking out and pro racers breaking. Slowe was lucky. A wild thrash got his motor changed in time for round 2, where a scheduled bye meant he only had to break the beam under power. But neither Kovacevich nor teenage phenom Taylor Wood could make the round 2 call, and Jester broke on his round 2
Jester's misfortune gave Yoder an unscheduled bye to the final, while Slowe faced Nick Mazeika. Lil1 Nick's team has been struggling with their one-of-a-kind GSXR1000 all year, but a recent change in the rules taking weight off the 1000s was just the adjustment builder/tuner Anthony Navarro needed. Mazeika lagged leaving the line against Slowe, but Mikey's front wheel shot skyward. As Slowe fought wheelies the whole way, Mazeika drove around to gain his first Pro Street final.
Yoder had slowed to the .20s through mid-day, so his builder/tuner Ronnie Mitchell decided to change the clutches for the final. It was the right move. Mazeika again gave up the tree and had to follow Yoder the whole way, as Bud posted another 7.11 on the board at over 202 mph. At the end of the day, race promoter Jason Miller1s thoughts turned towards preparing for the inevitable
Mazeika1s man Navarro rides his own turbo CEBusa in Pro Sportbike and has won all but one race this season. There was little variation in that pattern in Maryland, as Navarro qualified number one with a 7.67 at 193 before beating trailermate and season rival Sean Skinny Walsh in the final. Pro Sportbike has one more round left at Rockingham before the class retires and many of its competitors move up to Pro Street. Navarro, already the season champ,ran 199 at Maryland and seeks to close out the books with a 200 mph record run at The Rock.
HTP Performance Real Street contenders Keith Thompson and Jeremy Teasley both entered the Maryland weekend seriously handicapped. Thompson1s builder/tuner, Cecil Towner III of HTP, was badly burned in a dyno accident the week before the race. He made the best tuning calls he could from his Richmond, Virginia hospital bed, but Thompson remained unqualified until the final round. He solidly made the field on his last shot, then spent Saturday night relentlessly testing.
For the second straight race, Teasley was again without the dominating Kawasaki ZX14 prepared and tuned by Coby Adams, and without the tuning of Adams himself. Teasley still qualified number one with an 8.031 at a whopping 188.57 mph, but while everyone else was moving forward on raceday (including two new members of the 7 second club, Lil1 Curtis McDougald and Rickey Grayson), Jeremy1s bike starting slowing. He lost to Rickey Gadson in round 2, a tough blow to his MiRock title hopes.
In the meantime, Thompson and Towner1s dad Big Cecil gained confidence in their ability to work without Cecil III in the house. They found consistency and gained the final against McDougald and his DME/G-Force GSXR. Curtis took the tree but slowed slightly, while Thompson stepped up with his quickest pass of the weekend and an increased grasp on his second straight Real Street championship.
The MiRock series debuted the new Crazy 8s index (8.88) class as an exhibition and a very promising 36 bikes qualified for the show. 3I had six companies approach me this weekend about sponsoring the class,2 said Miller. Salisbury, Maryland1s Eddie Chapman took the first Crazy 8s win over Jermaine 3Not Michael, Not Tito Jackson, who redlit in the final.
In other action, local hero Chris Clontz won FBR Shop Quick 32. Shawn Smith won Fast By Gast Pro ET on Saturday, while James Farmer won on Sunday and beat redlighting Clontz in the Big Money runoff. Englishtown regulars swept Schnitz Racing Street ET, with Rick Mazzola taking the prize on Saturday and Ron 3Quicker than any President2 Reagan on Sunday.
The Mickey Thompson MiRock Superbike series returns to action with the Lee1s Performance Finals at Rockingham Dragway, Rockingham, North Carolina, November 7-8. Find out more about the MiRock Superbike series at http://www.mirockracing.com