So you think you’ve seen everything there is to see in drag racing, huh? Well it’s time to reconsider that thought.
The legendary Santa Pod Raceway in England was the site of the FIA/FIM European Finals over the weekend, where along with Top Fuel, the Top Methanol categories, and Pro Stock, were the quickest and fastest two-wheeled machines in all of drag racing — Top Fuel Motorcycle. And as the fans at the Wellingborough, England facility looked on in utter shock, it also become the site of this once-in-a-lifetime scene that even a Hollywood stuntman might request extra hazard pay to attempt.
During eliminations in the nitro-fueled motorcycle class, Filippos Papafilippou, in the right lane, crossed over the centerline just before half-track and collided with his opponent, Steve Woollatt, who was still on a mission and charging hard at upwards of 200 miles per hour. As the bikes impacted, Papafilippous’ leg became lodged in the wheelie bar of Woollatt’s mount, leaving Papafilippou no choice but to let go of his bike and hang onto Woolatt’s for dear life.
Amazingly, Papafilippou was able to stay on Woollatt’s bike until it was brought to a safe halt well past the finish line, while his doomed motorcycle turned over and slid to a stop behind him, engulfing itself in flames.
Despite Papafilippou’s incredible ride aboard his opponents bike — which the odds of this ever occurring once, much less twice, makes winning the lottery seem like a pretty sure thing — he was able to climb off Woollatt’s motorcycle, stand up, dust himself off, and walk away more or less unharmed.
As wild as this excursion was, every motorcycle racer who’s ever crashed would probably entertain the idea of this Evel Knievel-like stunt as an alternative to tumbling and sliding down the pavement at whatever crazy speed they happened to go down at.