The 23rd annual DME Racing Fall Nationals at Maryland International Raceway would be the season finale for the inaugural year of IDBL racing (formerly MIROCK). Team DME was poised for their third straight Pro Street championship with Joey Gladstone at the helm and also looked to take the $10,000 Battle Royale purse for the third time.
With spine chilling winter air settling in for the weekend the team would constantly battle the need to detune their 700hp turbocharged Hayabusa’s in an attempt to navigate the world renown MIR quarter mile. Head tuner Andy Sawyer would face possibly his biggest challenge of the year with big stakes on the line.
Gladstone only needed to qualify to clinch his third straight championship for DME which would normally be nothing to sweat, however with this being the Battle Royale it brought out the largest Pro Street field of the year. But DME thrives under pressure and the end result was Joey’s fourth #1 qualifier out of five races for the year and ultimately their third straight Pro Street championship.
The excitement didn’t end with qualifying though as the $10,000 pay day was still top priority for the team and considering they have won both prior races they wanted to complete the “three for three” weekend moniker. Although you would never know it (unless you were there), but fan favorite Terence Angela of Aruba struggled throughout qualifying as his bike kept trying to push him towards the wall pass after pass…Which makes his new IDBL top speed record of 219.36 mph even more impressive. This was after the team had to perform a last minute engine repair prior to leaving their Winston-Salem based headquarters for the race (similar to their 2013 Battle Royale preparations).
Round one of the main event on Sunday brought about an easy round win for Joey as the ‘Brain Trust’ (Dimey Eddinger, Andy Sawyer, and Skip Gladstone) made all the right calls for the tricky conditions to reset the IDBL ET record at 6.833. However the excitement was quickly squashed as they watched Angela struggle to control the bike in yet another pass that pushed the bike hard towards the wall, but lady luck showed herself as Terence’s competitor pushed a tad too hard forcing a -.003 red light. The team came back and finally found the solution to Angela’s chassis problem that had scarily plagued him all weekend.
As the team came up for round two everyone gathered around Angela to reassure him that the bike was 100% ready to go this time and to trust them. Thus far it had been an incredibly grueling weekend for the always cheery Angela as he had just learned early that morning of a close family friend passing away back in his home country of Aruba. The team rallied around their rider and gave him the confidence he needed for his second pass. In the closest races of the weekend Joey went first winning his round with a 6.86 to former world champion Rodney Williford’s 6.87. Next up was Terence and when he released the clutch this time the bike went straight and true as he powered to a 6.87 win over Tony Ficher’s 6.97.
With his confidence restored and the obvious power to contend Terence beamed from ear to ear s the team prepared for the semi-final round which would pair up the two teammates. For the third straight year there would be at least one DME bike in the Battle Royal final round, but would it be Terence or Joey? The tension was high and the crowd was at a fever pitch despite the chilling cold as they prepared to possibly witness the worlds quickest and fastest side by side Pro Street passes ever. As the lights dropped on the tree Terence jumped to a small lead and cleanly applied his DME power, but in the opposite lane Gladstone battled too much power and wheelied hard several times down track, allowing Terence to streak away for his quickest pass ever of 6.858.
The final round would be Angela versus Rudy Sanzottera, who was having a career weekend of his own. As the turbos spooled up on the starting line awaiting the flash of amber from the tree, both crews eagerly awaited. When the clutches released on both bikes Rudy jumped out to a small lead but quickly went up into smoke as he lost traction and Terence never looked back as he rocketed to his third straight 6.80 pass, and his $10,000 payday.
Yielding a lofty 11-1 round record in Battle Royale competition Angela had this to say about the weekend, “The weekend started off on shaky ground as we suffered an engine issue just prior to loading up. However, we have a very strong team and we quickly made the necessary repairs and Andy reminded me that the same thing occurred two years ago when I won the first Battle Royale, so not to worry. Then we struggled to pinpoint an issue that caused the bike to pull hard to the right for most of the weekend. I want to give a special thanks to DME friend and racer ‘Daddio’ for helping us address and fix the problem Sunday after first round of eliminations. The struggles combined with the unfortunate news Sunday morning of losing a lifelong family friend who was like a father to me was pretty crushing. But I can’t say enough about my team, friends, and fans as they all rallied behind me and got me back on track to get this huge race win. I would like to dedicate the win to the De Lange family and to the memory of the great Ruben De Lange (whom I called Don Ruben). I grew up with his son Patrick and was blessed to have Ruben and his wife Patricia around almost as a second family.”
The whole DME team thanks DME Racing , Penske Shocks, Catalyst Racing Composites, NLR , Vanson Leathers , Lucas Oil , CP/Carillo, Web Cams, Worldwide Bearings, Cometic Gaskets, Robinson Industries, VP Racing Fuel , Dunigan Racing, DCE, MTC , APE , Vance & Hines, Beringer Brakes, and Blouch Performance Turbo for their continued support.