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Wednesday Edition

4th Annual Texas National Motorcycle Rally

Rigid Frame Richard reports from the Texas National Motorcycle Rally and Drag Races


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   I made my way back out I-10 east to Baytown for the annual gathering of fuel, fun and frolic. But I don't think I frolicked for the Texas National Motorcycle Rally at the recently renamed Royal Purple Raceway. The venue opens its doors and track every Friday night to those looking to run their machines in a safe and controlled environment. This year's TNM rally was shaping up to be as much fun as the 2009 event, I think I was abducted by aliens for last year's event?


   The rally folks had enlisted the help of Brad Latham to conduct the tech inspections for this year's racers, Brad being more than qualified, having run Johnny Mancuso's race team till Uncle Johnny decided it was time to park his drag bike on the counter at his 290/Crossroads location. Mancuso HD has been around for 30 or so years. I used to visit the shop in the early 80's so I could check out his Shovel-powered drag bike that would reside in the showroom. I even had Johnny help me out with a financial situation once: he bought an S&S stroker kit from me, even though he didn’t really need it. I on the other hand, needed the cash to pay for a bunch of tickets that had come due after an encounter with Houston's best! I know one was for speeding and the other was pipes (The Little Shovel Rigid had them little short straight pipes) don't remember what the other 2 tickets were for…
   Anyway I arrived out RPR in time for some early morning test & tune. There were a variety of motorcycles just waiting to back into the water box and begin filling the air with blue smoke, I love the smell of nitro and burnt tire in the morning! Being the poster child for "Would you like some candy little girl(21+)" I noticed a very cute blonde waiting in line on her GSXR with a pink bottle on the bottom. I learned that the previous night she had had some issues with her bike and was not going to be able to run. Being a group that watches out for each other, one racer asked a group standing nearby for donations, which everyone did without hesitation. That action would come to bite most of them in the ass the next day!
   I watched her do her T&T runs and subsequent ladder races as she would light up the tire and move up to stage. While a gentleman always lets a lady go first she actually would choose to hit the second light last. Every run was straight, true and fast! I don't remember what she dialed, but she hit it exactly and never stumbled until the semi-final, where she was a bit late off the tree. While sitting under the tower between runs, Ms Tiffany appeared on one of her competitors’ bikes. While running their race earlier, he almost had a perfect reaction time and hers was only 2 thousands slower! I guess this along with her ability intrigued him enough to let her take a run on his Suzuki?
   While the burnout lacked some of what I had seen her do all day there was no question she was in control when the light turned green, with the owner commenting on the bike running its fastest time ever! That may have something to do with the 100+ pound weight difference between her and his big corn-fed self? That last time I saw either of them was as she made the turn back into the pits with him trying to chase her down on a much smaller tow vehicle, maybe she figured all this new bike need was a touch of pink?
   This other guy was making pass after pass, probably to finish up the required amount of passes needed to get his NHRA license so he can compete in the NHRA Pro Stock class in 2012. The nitro bikes were on hand as well and I made the mistake of wandering out between the lanes to get some better shots just as two of them showed up to run. Between the burnouts and subsequent race, I no longer have to be concerned about those pesky ear and nose hairs! That hasn't happened to me since Little River at the All Harley Drags and I you think I would learn?
   This year's event moved along at a faster pace due to there being more competitors than two years ago, and with all the T&T runs I stayed out on the track the entire time. The only time I wandered off, I missed a run by a fuel car. I tried to make it back trackside, but I would have needed a scooter or a gas-powered barstool with the blender attachment and a wagon for my cameras.
   The racing was non-stop from 10 to 5 that afternoon and when it was finally all said and done I mentioned to Brad how I had heard that someone was selling pie. So we embarked on a pie-finding mission, however there appeared to be some sort of pie conspiracy. Whenever we would inquire about pie people just looked at us like we were crazy, after a few such inquiries, Brad began to distance himself from me and decided he would go hang out with his lovely lady and get ready the evening’s concerts.
   Waiting to switch the fun from the track to the stage were several bands: SwampDaWamp, Thunderosa and Kara Clark, along with other ‘adult in nature’ activities. While racing is the main draw, there are all the normal rally sights and sounds and with prices at $35 for the weekend and $20 for a day-pass. Not a bad price to pay for a day of racing! Steve and the rest of the rally and track folks but on a hell of a show!
I am outta here...off to find me some pie!
Till next time,
                        —Rigid Frame Richard

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