Barkley competes at the Haltech Finals of the Manufacturer Cup Series

The final event on the 2012 Manufactureres Cup Series landed at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta GA, USA November 7-10th. Over 500 of the best motorcycle drag racers from all over the world came to put up records and go for the big prize money.

Ethan along with fellow CMDRA racer Clayton Potter made the long 4500 km. drive to the event that was practically on the opposite corner of North America. After four full days behind the wheel, the duo arrived at the track on the evening of Nov. 7th. Part of being preppared for such an event was participating in the open test and tune that took place at the track the day prior to the actual event. The weather was perfect and the track preparation great and would only get better as the track saw more action. The pit area was set up and the bikes were prepared to make some test passes.

Ethan made a couple of shakedown passes aboard "Eleanor", she was running perfect posting up a solid 7.88 @ 191 mph with only low boost. Things were going great until the fourth pass. Ethan was doing his burnout as usual and then the motor suddenly shut off and came to a stop very abruptly. This wasn't an electrical issue, this was something mechanical and it sounded rather perminant. After a quick inspection it was determined that the cam chain failed and the motor suffered major internal damage and it would need to be replaced. Ethan always has a spare motor ready to go, but making the swap in the trailer is a very difficult and time consuming task. Ethan and Clayton worked non stop until 2 am and the process was nearly complete but it was neccesary to get at least a few hours of sleep before Friday's qualifying sessions started. The backup motor ran well but it took a few runs to get it sorted out and make sure it was solid and was going to hold up once the boost was turned up. After the Friday night qualifying was over Ethan was off the pace running 8.0 at 190+ mph. Saturday greeted racers with another perfect day and Ethan was hopeful Eleanor could get sorted out and run a good number. After some clutch tweeking the bike was ready for the last two rounds of qualifying. The first of the runs turned out good, but not great and Ethan was still off pace running 7.8. For the third and final qualifying pass the boost was turned up in hopes of making the top 16 to compete in the A side of the field. Eleanor left the line smoothly but didn't leave the starting line as hard as it should have resulting in yet another off pace time of 7.7 @ 191. Unfrutunately that would put Ethan in the 27th qualifying spot out of the 37 competitors. It was obvious Ethan had to back to the drawing board for Sunday's elimination race.

An early start at the track led Ethan to come up with a revised tune up for Eleanor. At this point the bike was WAY off pace and if Ethan was going to redeem himself he needed to put up a good number. So back to the notebook and looking over the data led Ethan to put in a very strong tune up and make some clutch adjustments. The temperature was starting to creep up and pushed into the upper 20's. Ethan was lined up against a fierce competitor with a sidemount turbocharged Hayabusa. As the two bikes staged it was obvious it was going to be a close race. The bikes stage and then the green light flashes and the two leaver pretty evenly. Ethan pulled out a bit of a lead going past the 330' mark and the 1/8th mile time of 4.9 @154mph. Eleanor was pulling very hard but as the finish line came closer the bike began to slow slightly and Ethan was forced to watch his competitor slowly pull beside him and then edge in front slightly at the finish line. Ethan had a great run 7.54 @187 mph but was just beat with a 7.50 @ 195. It was the loss in top end speed that prevented the win. All in all it was a valiant effort as that was one of Ethan's quickest passes to date.

Ethan has vowed to return to this event in 2013 and compete at the top level in the Pro Street Class.



Follow Ethan on twitter @ethanbarkley

And on Facebook "Ethan Barkley"



Photos by: Hot Rod Chrissy & EB Speed

High resolution images available upon request