ROCKINGHAM — Larry “Spiderman” McBride beat Sam Wills in a battle between motorcycle drag racing legends Sunday and was able to repeat as Top Fuel champion at the Manufacturers MTC Engineering Nationals at Rockingham Dragway.
McBride was one of only two riders able to successfully defend his championship, as the rain ended the event prematurely with 13 races remaining on the docket.
When it was determined that the track surface had been compromised to the point that it would take several hours of work to make it race-ready, those remaining in competition opted to split the purse and points.
The only other repeat winner in the featured classes was veteran Mark Rendeluk, the reigning Man Cup Champion, who again prevailed in the Pro Open category.
The second of Rockingham’s two Man Cup events, presented by Vance Hines, attracted an international field of riders representing 19 states, Aruba, Puerto Rico and Australia.
Among the first time winners was Michael Ray — once a regular on the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle tour — who powered his way past many-time series champion Rocky Jackson in the Pro Fuel final. Ray was a three-time winner on the NHRA Mello Yello tour in 2012 and 2013.
Another Texan, Shane Eperjesi, used a starting line advantage to get past legend Paul Gast in the second round of Pro Mod racing — en route to a final round victory over Brad McCoy of Cleveland, N.C.
Eperjesi’s .019 reaction time made his 4.173 second time a winner over Gast’s slightly quicker 4.146. He then narrowly beat Lance Hines before cruising past McCoy in the final.
Perennial Rockingham winner Rodney Williford was one of those frustrated by the Sunday afternoon rain. A multi-time winner in the old MIRock Superbike Series, Williford was set to oppose Aruba’s Terrence Angela for the Pro Street title.
Chad Otts also was victimized by the weather. After winning Pro ET on Saturday, Otts had raced his way into one final and was in the semifinal round in another category when the rain came.
The host state’s only winners on Sunday were Marcus Hylton in Real Street and Michael Thyen in the Grothus 460 class. Both Williford and Robin Procopio were in a position to win had the weather been cooperative for only an hour longer.
Results from Sunday’s Manufacturers Cup Fall Nationals motorcycle races at Rockingham Dragway:
TOP FUEL — Larry “Spiderman” McBride (Newport News, Va.) def. Sam Wills (Edmond, Okla.)
PRO FUEL — Michael Ray (New Braunfels, Texas) def. Rocky Jackson (Youngsville La.)
PRO MOD — Shane Eperjesi (Lake Dallas, Texas) def. Brad McCoy (Cleveland, N.C.)
PRO STREET — Final round canceled due to rain.
REAL STREET — Marcus Hylton (Eden, N.C.) def. Luis Hornedo (Orlando, Fla.)
PRO OPEN — Mark Rendeluk (Oklahoma City, Okla.) def. Tommy Saxon (Bogart, Ga.)
TOP GAS (8.200 target) — Final round canceled due to rain.
CRAZY 8s (.888 target) — Semifinal round canceled due to rain.
SUPER COMP (8.90 target) — Semifinal round canceled due to rain.
SUNDAY V-TWIN — Clint Riley (Greenveille, Fla.) def. Eric Knowles (Wilmington, N.C.)
SATURDAY V-TWIN — Vance Houdyshell (Vero Beach, Fla.) def. Manny Carrasquillo (Clearwater, Fla.)
GROTHUS 460 (4.60 target) — Michael Thyen (Mooresville, N.C.) def. George Babor (Brooksville, Fla.)
STREET FIGHTER — Wade Smith (Dublin, Ga.) versus Dustin Lee (Morristown, Tenn.) canceled due to rain.
SUNDAY PRO ET — Robin Procopio (Wake Forest, N.C.) versus Ricardo Mante (San Juan, Puerto Rico) canceled due to rain.
SATURDAY PRO ET — Chad Otts (Olive Branch, Miss.) def. Calvin Mason (Mobile, Ala.)
SUNDAY STREET ET — Thomas Lagasse (Sarasota, Fla.), Eric Griffith (Riner, Va.) and Stanley Russell (Stanley, Ga.) still in when competition was canceled due to rain.
SATURDAY STREET ET — Eric Griffith (Riner, Va.) def. Roy Johnson (Keystone Heights, Fla.)
Larry “Spiderman” McBride, of Newport News, Virginia, beat out Sam Wills in the final round of Sunday’s Top Fuel competition at the Manufacturers MTC Engineering Nationals at Rockingham Dragway.