Angus MacPhail

One of the important areas of Drag Racing to acknowledge is innovation – and thinking outside the box. In the mid 1970s, three bike racers got together to form a racing team, known as McCoy Dynamics. All three made their mark on the sport and set world records at Elvington, with spectacular performances on two – and sometimes 3 wheels.

Angus ‘Ag’ MacPhail is someone who is definitely able to think laterally. After a spell riding a miniature Ariel two-stroke, he built his version of a three wheeler, which featured the Triumph engine and gearbox positioned between the rider and passenger. He next built a novel Ford powered three wheeler, which featured the rider prone, in front of the engine. When three wheelers were banned from competition – due in no small part to the performance of Ag, he remodelled the bike as a two wheeler, with wide slick, to mutterings that it would never work. It did!

The McCoy machine was effectively a test bed for the unforgettable Jade Warrior, boasting a monocoque chassis, one-off 2 litre supercharged motor, torque converter transmission – and a very effective exhaust-driven ground effects system. Helped by Mick, this most unusual machine eventually broke into the seven second zone in 1985, running on straight methanol, which was a brilliant achievement.

Mick Hand was very much at the heart of the group. He and Angus would bounce ideas off each other in the search for ways to advance performance. Mick’s own bike of choice was one of the early Japanese engined entries – a diminutive twin cylinder blown 250 Honda. Small it might have been, but it was the sharpest, noisiest bike on the strip, and set a world record in 1971. With massive boost, the bike eventually got down to 9.08s/158mph after extensive development work on an enlarged engine. It was a true world class achievement.

Keith Parnell was the third member of the team. Rouge et Noir, his special short stroke blown Triumph, is well remembered for winning the race to be the first European bike to run under 9 seconds, at Santa Pod in June 1975. His follow-up bike was the first to trial a ground effects system, which was then further developed on Jade Warrior. Keith himself carried on in a distinguished sprinting career until he hung up his leathers at the age of 73. Bert Hopkinson deserves credit for his ongoing machining input to aid the racing efforts of the team.

Times have changed since the McCoy Dynamics runners made their mark on the sport, but it has not stopped the ideas. When Mick gave up riding himself, he continued helping Barry Eastman with his turbo CBX Honda. Mick wanted to pursue the idea of a compound turbo bike, so Barry was up for a partnership in the experiment. After much hard work over the past few years, in 2018 the Storm funny bike really proved itself to be another machine to successfully demonstrate that there are alternative ways to go racing. The methanol-fueled compound turbocharged Puma-engined entry, coupled to sophisticated electronics, has been painstakingly developed, and won the 2018 Funny Bike championship. The machine has recorded best times of 6.56s/218mph, with more performance still to come.

Ag, now in his eighties, made his own notable contribution to the Storm drag project – especially with the fairing design. Completing the McCoy involvement, the pilot is none other than Keith Parnell’s son Lorcan. Sadly, early in 2019, Mick’s partner in the project, his old friend of more than 50 years Barry Eastman, passed away. On a happier note, it looks like the project will continue, as a fitting tribute.
The innovative McCoy spirit is what marks the team out as special, and deserving of recognition.

Profile By Keith Lee