Top Fuel Shootout in July will be ded­i­cated to leg­endary Elmer Trett

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The Mickey Thomp­son In­ter­na­tional Drag Bike League (IDBL) is poised to do some­thing it has never done be­fore when it hosts the Top Fuel Im­port and Har­ley Shootout at the tour’s mar­quee event, the WPGC Bike Fest from Mary­land In­ter­na­tional Race­way (MDIR), hap­pen­ing July 29-31.

IDBL pres­i­dent Jack Kor­pela an­nounced this one-of-a-kind cel­e­bra­tion of mo­tor­cy­cle drag rac­ing will be ded­i­cated to one of the sport’s most fa­mous and re­spected rac­ers: Top Fuel leg­end Elmer Trett, who died in an on-track ac­ci­dent in Septem­ber 1996.

“Any­one who races or is a fan of ni­tro-burn­ing mo­tor­cy­cles owes a great deal to Elmer Trett. He was a trend-set­ting me­chan­i­cal ge­nius and his le­gacy can still be felt on the sport to­day. He was drag bike rac­ing’s Don Gar­l­its,” Kor­pela said. “It has been 20 years since Elmer’s un­timely pass­ing and I can’t think of a bet­ter way to pay homage to man who ded­i­cated his life to Top Fuel Mo­tor­cy­cles than ded­i­cat­ing this spe­cial, un­for­get­table race to him.”

Dur­ing Trett’s ca­reer, his home-built drag bikes re­set — of­ten shat­ter­ing — the world elapsed-time and speed records more than 15 times, in­clud­ing his long-stand­ing record blast of 6.06 at the 1996 Prostar Pin- gel Thun­der Na­tion­als. It’s a num­ber that still has Trett ranked in the Top 15 on the list of the quick­est drag bike rac­ers of all-time. Trett was also the first man to race at speeds over 200, 210, 220 and 230 mph.

“Elmer loved both Ni­tro Har­leys and in­line four-cylin­der ma­chines. It’s that same premise that has the Mickey Thomp­son IDBL get­ting the dif­fer­ent makes to­gether for what will be one of the great­est shows in drag bike rac­ing his­tory,” Kor­pela said. “Larry McBride will tell you Elmer was ac­tu­ally the first in the fives (McBride of­fi­cially ac­com­plished the feat in 1999). That’s how im­por­tant and in­flu­en­tial he was. McBride will not make a run if he is not wear­ing an Elmer Trett T-shirt.”

“Elmer was ev­ery­thing to me,” McBride con­firmed. “He was my men­tor and best friend. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be rac­ing. Where I’m at to­day is be­cause of Elmer.

“We used to tour the coun­try match rac­ing. I never had the money back then to race, Elmer footed the bill for me and I paid him as I won,” McBride con­tin­ued. “He was so far ahead of every­body; he had five-sec­ond power in 1996. I think about him ev­ery race, ev­ery lap. I’d give ev­ery­thing up, all the records, all the cham­pi­onships, just to be able to call him up on the phone and talk for three hours like we used to.”

Two sea­sons ago, McBride and match race part­ner Dave Van­tine made his­tory by run­ning the sport’s first and only side-by-side 5-sec­ond run on the MDIR rac­ing sur­face.

“I think Elmer would have been so proud of these two tal­ented rac­ers,” Kor­pela said. “I think he would be proud of how far his Top Fuel Mo­tor­cy­cle Har­ley and Im­port suc­ces­sors have come in the past 20 years.”

Top Fuel Racer Chris Hand shared McBride’s love for the leg­end. “Elmer and Gina [Trett’s daugh­ter] tuned my bike to its first ever six over the tele­phone,” Hand said. “To me he was a friend, brother, fa­ther fig­ure and above all a hero. We would not be run­ning to­day if it weren’t for him. He kept me go­ing when there was ab­so­lutely no money in it. They say it’s bet­ter to live a sin­gle day as a lion than a life­time as a lamb. Elmer spent 53 years as a lion.”

“Trett’s le­gacy will live on for­ever. Bring your Elmer pho­tos, sto­ries and mem­o­ries to the IDBL Bike Fest and we will cel­e­brate the life of a true leg­end of the sport,” Kor­pela said. “It will be a great show ded­i­cated to a great man.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Mickey Thomp­son IDBL, go to RaceIDBL.com or call 301-884-9833.

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