Motorcycle drag racing champion from Newport News recovering after fiery race explosion

Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-17 18:12:51-04

Newport News, Va. - Larry “Spiderman” McBride is a 14-time Top Fuel motorcycle champion from Newport News.

On Sunday, September 13th, he was scheduled to race Dave Vantine at the IDBL U.S. Nationals in Atco, New Jersey.

The pair blasted off from the starting line expecting a normal race. But 1,000 feet down the track, McBride’s motorcycle “Blue” burst into flames as he traveled about 180 mph.

"It just blew up man, and it blew the whole top of the engine off and a lot of fire. I was running somewhere around 180 miles per hour when this happened," McBride told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo. "It was so loud it actually blew me up, but I never let go of the handlebars."

McBride was able to stop the bike near the ambulance stationed at the track while officials and safety crew members rushed to his side.

McBride was airlifted to Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia where he received treatment for second-degree burns on his legs mainly caused by hot oil from the engine of the bike.

"My worst burn is an oil burn because it's burning oil on the leather so the heat just transfers," he said. "Woo, a lot of pain!"

He was treated and able to leave the hospital several hours later and head back to the track.

His motorcycle, however, wasn’t as lucky. “Blue” has been in competition for 21 years, and has certainly seen better days than that Sunday.

Due to the force of the engine explosion, Blue’s frame was broken, and the bodywork and electronics were melted and fried.

Friends even started a GoFundMe to pay for medical expenses and repairs to Blue.