Motorcycle Performance Magazine headline reads:
“Wild, Wild West: IDBA begins 22nd season with plenty of surprises”
With Tommy’s engine tuning expertise and Glen’s precision riding, Nickelberry topped the qualifying charts at the IDBA season opener Motorcycle Nationals event in Oklahoma City, OK in 1998.
Full story text:
The Funny Bike field was dominated by motorcycles from the host city of IDBA’s season opener Motorcycle Nationals, Oklahoma City, OK. Five of the seven entries claimed Oklahoma City as home and another came from Tulsa, OK But the most common thread to all the bikes was a field still showing rust from the winter layoff.
The virtually home-town meet was won by Glen Nickelberry, of course, from Oklahoma City. Although many of the bikes ran 7-second qualifying passes Saturday, only Nickelberry could post a 7-second run during Sunday eliminations. He qualified #1, posted Low ET and High MPH at the meet. Nickelberry defeated Gene Langley, the Tulsa rider, in the final after Langley crossed the starting line too quickly and lit the red light foul bulb. Nickelberry ran to a 7.669 ET, slowing 150.98 mph pass.
“You could tell it was the first time out,” Nickelberry said. “There were new motors, new clutch setups, everything. We spent the whole week trying to get our progressive nitrous system worked out. We finally took it off and Tommy Bolton put back in our standard setup.”
To get to the final, Nickelberry earned a first-round bye, then defeated Monroe Hinton, who had major problems on the pass.
Also in the first round, Langley defeated Roy Sears on a pass where both bikes had trouble. Current defending champion James Guyton ran to a first-round win over the only non-Oklahoman in the field, Rober Beachum of Duncanville, TX. Beachum broke, giving Guyton an easy victory. Todd Martin, #2 plateholder, broke against Monroe Hinton.
Langley defeated Guyton in the semifinals when Guyton fouled.
A master jeweler who owns his own company, Nickelberry began racing Funny Bike two years ago on a dare. Texan Pee Wee Herman told him that only real men could run Funny Bike. Nickelberry had been running Thunder Valley’s local PMRA 9.20 class, but decided to accept the challenge.
“I told Tommy, if he could build it, I could ride it,” Nickelberry said. “We just went from there.”