When we think of drag racing we normally think of different classes of cars racing against one another. But a group of competitors feels that they are enjoying drag racing even more. They are the ones who drag-race on motorcycles every week at speeds greater than most cars.
Tim Lippy of New Windsor races his bike at 75-80 Dragway. Each weekend, anywhere from 20 to 30 competitors race in the motorcycle class.
Lippy always enjoyed attending the races at 75-80 to watch his friends race their bikes. The Belts (Dave and Gene) and Fords (Marvin, Marion and Malcolm) are all friends that Lippy has known since high school.
In 1988, Lippy finally decided to try racing. He never had raced anything before, car or bike.
"I known the Fords from high school and watched them race. It looked interesting so I decided to give it a whirl," Lippy said.
His first run down the track was on his street bike. He liked it so much that he decided to turn the bike into a race bike. He has been racing regularly ever since.
Lippy has been working on that bike since that first run six years ago. Almost every year he has been making changes and modifications to where the bike is capable of running the quarter-mile in 8.87 seconds. At the end of a quarter-mile Lippy is going 148 mph.
Changing his street bike into a racing machine has been a never-ending project. The first change Lippy made was to add wheelie bars and racing slicks. He has added and changed a lot of parts.
Lippy's bike is a 1978 Kawasaki. Not much of the bike is the same as the one he started with.
Last year, he had Cycle Performance Engineering of Clinton, Md. build a new 1200-cc engine.
Like any new engine on a car or bike, it takes time to work out the bugs. With the increased power, Lippy had trouble with traction off the starting line. He hopes to have the problem solved soon and is looking toward making the motorcycle team that represents 75-80 at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., in the Northeast Bracket finals in September.
Last year, Lippy went four rounds at Maple Grove. He finished in the top 20 bikes out of more than 100 before electrical problems sidelined him. He is looking forward to improving that performance this year.
The 31-year-old Lippy works during the week as a service technician at Westminster Motors.
Like everyone who races bikes, Lippy doesn't have any thought of ever switching from the bike to cars.
"Bike racing is a little more of a thrill," said Lippy. "I just enjoy the bike better. I can go a lot faster on a bike then I can in a car for less, at least that's what I thought. It's an exciting class to be in and there is a lot of competition."
Gary Stuhler of Westminster repeated as Tri-Track Challenge Champion over Memorial Day weekend. The late-model series started at Bedford (Pa.) Speedway with Stuhler starting ninth in the 24-car field and taking the lead on the eighth lap. Once in front, Stuhler ran unchallenged to win the 35-lap event. The series switched to Winchester (Va.) Speedway on Saturday night and Stuhler won again. This time he started fifth in the field and had to work 20 laps before he grabbed the lead from Terry Miller. He had little trouble the remaining 20 laps to take the 40-lap feature. On Sunday, the late models traveled to Cumberland (Md.) Raceway for the finale and Stuhler had to settle for second in the 40-lap event. With his second-place finish, Stuhler had the most overall points to win the series championship. Stuhler pocketed over $6,000 for the weekend series. Last year, he won all three races. This weekend, Stuhler will be among more than 260 drivers who will be trying to qualify and win the $100,000 first-place prize that has been posted at the Eldora (Ohio) Speedway for the "The Dream Race."
In other oval track action, Paul Crowl of Upperco finished 10th at Hagerstown Speedway in the late-model feature.
In super sprint car action, Cris Eash of Woodbine started ninth in the 25-lap feature at Selinsgrove Speedway and moved in front on the 13th lap en route to the victory. The win was Eash's fourth of the year.
Jesse Wentz of Manchester placed eighth in the sprint car feature at Lincoln Speedway.
At Trail-Way Speedway, Brad McClelland of Westminster was second in the micro-sprint feature followed by Steve Owings of Westminster. Greg Messersmith of Hampstead won the thundercar feature, John McDonogh of Finksburg was fifth, Westminster's Mark Shorb was fifth and Corky Stull ninth. Brad Green of Westminster finished third in the four-cylinder feature, Matt Barnes of Westminster was fourth and Jeff Young of Westminster was seventh.
It was a busy weekend at 75-80 Dragway. On Saturday Joe Mayne of Mount Airy was back on top in Class I competition. Ray Lewis of Woodbine went five rounds and Jim Peddicord of Westminster went three rounds. Steve Dustin of Westminster won Class II. Ben Snouffer of Mount Airy went to the semifinals and Steve Hoff of Sykesville went four rounds. Three-round winners were Steve Cavey of Westminster and Roger Jorss of Sykesville. Marion Ford of Hampstead won the motorcycles against his brother Malcolm. In the Jr. Dragsters, Tony Braglio of New Windsor won and Josh Wagner of Westminster was the runner-up.
It was Super Chevy Day at 75-80 on Sunday. Russell Barefoot of Mount Airy won Class I and Jorss went three rounds. Sev Tingle of Mount Airy won Class I on Monday. In a team event on Monday, the "Pro Start" team won. Mayne and Tingle were part of the 10-member team.
Last Sunday at Mason-Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown Reuben Standifer of Mount Airy won Class I, Tony Young of Taneytown won his first race in Class II. On Monday, George Hoff of Westminster won Class II.
At New Virginia Dragway in Petersburg, Va., Todd Harris of Westminster went three rounds in the Super Comp Class and Len Davis of Westminster went two.