The race season is upon us and I’m already tired…. Somehow, someway, I seem to always start the season off “behind”. This time it was finishing up my brother’s new bike two hours before I left for the season-opening Man Cup race. Which was 8 hours after I FINALLY finished up the mythical bar bike that I’ve been building for four years (Special thanks to Schnitz Racing for some last-minute parts).
It was a good weekend in Georgia as I slowly got the bar bike somewhat dialed in (thanks to the help of lots of friends). I was just hoping to get some testing done, but it went so well that I entered Pro ET both days on it and each day I made it down to the ladder round. So, I was definitely excited to have the bike not only running, but running well.
Although I was unable to make it to any final rounds I did go to the semi-finals against friend/teammate Dustin Lee in Street Fighter. Which was right after he beat me in the quarter-finals of Top Gas. My brother’s new bike ran well and he got down to the semi-finals in Pro ET on a street bike, which was awesome to watch.
With the IDBL event being rained out, I packed up and headed West for the NHDRO season opener at Muncie Dragway this past weekend. Friday I got some testing in for the weekend’s events and even participated in my first grudge race. My opponent Vince Hileman had a misfortunate parts failure, so I was able to take an easy win, but not without setting a new personal best in the process (which we can’t discuss of course, being it was a grudge race). I’m sure Vince and I will have a fun spirited rematch soon. Saturday started off very promising when I was able to dispatch Jeremy Teasley & Bob Carlson (sorry guys!) one after another in ET racing, as those two are some of the best out there. However, I was unable to capitalize and lost 4th round in Pro & Street ET.
Fast forward to Sunday and it was a role reversal of Saturday. I started off with two back to back losses in Pro ET (ending my day in that class). Followed by Teasley getting his revenge, beating me back to back in Super Comp & Top Gas first rounds. Adding insult to injury was what I thought to be a blown motor after the Top Gas pass (more on that later). So, I told myself to straighten up and tighten up on the tree and go some rounds in my two remaining classes. The little pep talk must have worked as I was able to make it down to the finals in both classes. Up first would be the Crazy 8’s final, where I had the tree but lost at the stripe to that Lee guy once again (although he was extracting revenge from me beating him in the Street ET semi’s just moments before). It was a good race and I was glad to share the final with a friend… Err, both finals with my friends/teammates… In the Street ET final I was able to defeat the legendary John “Spooky” Markham as he wheelied at the hit. Our team (DRR) had five event wins and five runner-ups, so it was a smashing success to say the least.
Once back from Muncie I quickly started to tear down my Top Gas bike to find out what was wrong. It turns out I hadn’t blown it up, but had a pesky bolt come loose and tear some items up internally. Have no fear, as the damage wasn’t nearly as bad as it could’ve been. I’m going to take the opportunity to freshen the engine up while it’s apart though, so we’re ready to go for the remainder of the season. I have to give a big thanks to Wossner Pistons USA for their continued support and helping me out with this early season hurdle. Additionally, Rob Bush Motorsports, 1 Stop Speed, & Brock’s Performance had everything I needed to get the ball rolling on the rebuild. Last & certainly not least, Bryan Snyder of Quantum Motorsports will be building the bullet back to 100% and get us going fast again.
Thanks to all my family & friends who continue to support me and the rest of the great sponsors/supporters that make my program so successful: Full Spectrum Power, Energycoil Racing, Vanson Leathers, Montgomery Motorsports, The FBR Shop, McIntosh Machine & Fabrication, MPS Racing, Dragbike.com, M2.Shocks by RPS Manufacturing, Web Camshafts, WorldWide Bearings, Knight Marketing Group, and Knight Communications.
I made the 22 hour trip to Loring Air Force Base in Northeast Maine this past week/end for the Loring Timing Association’s season-opening event. This former home to B-52 bombers has a massive runway of almost 2.5 miles, so it’s the perfect place to really “stretch the legs” of any motorized vehicle. At LTA events they time both the 1 mile and 1.5 mile, but I would be focusing on the 1 mile. It would be my first attempt at land speed racing and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Ultimately, I just wanted to have a safe and fun weekend and see if I could get into the 200 MPH Club.
I was lucky enough to have Bryan Snyder of Quantum Motorsports (who builds my engines) accompany me for the first 9 hour leg of the trip to New Jersey. This is where we met up with Ralphie Navarro to continue the long trek to Maine. If you know either of these two, well then you know it was one hell of a trip, full of plenty of laughter! But after all, this is what racing is all about, good times with good friends.
On to the event, Friday was tech day and licensing day for all the rookies. Each rookie must make licensing passes of 125mph, 150mph, and 175mph while demonstrating control of their vehicles. We won’t derail the story with details of my licensing attempts, but I’m very thankful for a great and understanding LTA staff!
With my rookie sticker signed off on it was now time to go full throttle and see what this was all about. After talking with Bryan we decided to make a shake down pass on motor so that I could get used to the speed and course. With gearing already in place for nitrous passes I managed to pull off a 192mph pass on motor, as the bike couldn’t pull the gearing out of 5th gear. The speed in itself didn’t bother me, but the wind did cause some slight discomfort as the bike was pushed right to left on the runway and it felt like it was leaning over.
The next pass we put a conservative nitrous tune-up in 5th and 6th gear that we thought would achieve 200mph, but as I shifted into 4th the bike started to lean, 5th gear (with some nitrous) seemed to make it worse and shortly after clicking into 6th gear I decided I had reached my comfort zone. So, the aborted run resulted in a 194mph pass. I came back and assessed the situation and took some advice from some of the veteran land speed guys….. So off to the starting line I went again, chasing that magical 200mph time slip. Unfortunately the second nitrous attempt resulted in the same ‘feeling’ of the bike rolling over at high speeds and I rolled out of the throttle. Only this time I corrected the bike and got back in the throttle to the tune of a 199mph time slip. It was getting close to the end of the day, so I decided to call it a day and try to figure out the issue I kept experiencing. Since this was my first time land speed racing I really wasn’t sure if what I was experiencing from the wind/bike was “normal” or not.
When Saturday morning came I was prepared to once again tackle the air strip and after talking with plenty of people and analyzing my riding I was ready to go. Through the gears I shifted and behind the wind screen I tucked, as I raced down the runway looking for 200mph… But once again the wind/speed/bike won and I rolled out of the throttle as the bike rolled over and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ll admit I was pretty dejected at this point and contemplated just calling it a weekend. I simply wasn’t comfortable with the way the bike was acting and since I had just taken one of my drag racing bikes and made some changes to go LSR racing I thought my setup just wasn’t adequate. Fortunately veteran racer Don Hass (who has quite the accolades) talked with me about the issues I was having and offered some advice on fixing it. Don was very confident that if I made the changes I would not only go straight but also pretty much eliminate the effects of the wind.
I weighed my options, took his advice and decided to give it one last attempt. This time when I clicked into 4th gear the bike stayed completely vertical and when I hit 5th gear I was still perfectly 90 degrees with the ground, and as I clicked it into 6th gear I started to smile….. Although I had only planned on running all out to the mile, I knew my conservative nitrous tune-up would be ok on this pass so I pressed on to the 1.5 mile timers as the bike continued to track straight and true. When I picked up my time slip this time I was amazed to see a 212mph pass to the mile and 222mph in the mile and a half. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Not only was this my fastest pass of the weekend, but it was also my most comfortable. When I got back to the pits my smile was hard to contain and everyone else was just as excited as I was.
With my new found confidence, we decided to attack the mile with a more aggressive nitrous tune-up and back in line we went. I knew I was on a good pass as I clicked it into 6th gear with plenty of room before the 1 mile timers and when the shift light came on in 6th as I neared the finish it confirmed my thoughts. The time slip said a whopping 225mph in the standing mile! It’s a hard feeling to describe the speed, especially as a drag racer, because they are two totally different feelings… but knowing that I had just went 225mph was pretty damn cool. Back at the trailer we made a few more minor changes and headed back for another pass. This time I clicked through the timing traps at 227mph with another smooth pass. After getting this time slip I was honestly very happy with the performance of the bike and how the weekend was shaping up. So, I decided to park the bike and enjoy the rest of the weekend with my friends. Was I scared of the speed? NOPE! Was there more left in the bike? We think so…. But, there are some changes I would like to make if I attend another event and I had accomplished everything I wanted to for the weekend.
I ran in the MPS/F-3000/4 class all weekend and moved that record from 155.436 all the way up to 227.358. I became a member of the Loring Timing Association 200mph club. I had a lot of fun with good friends and made new ones alone the way. It was all I could ask for and well worth two days of driving each way. Big thank you to Ralphie & Bryan for all they did throughout the weekend, to Tim & Joe and the entire LTA Staff for welcoming me with open arms and making it a great first experience. Also, to all of the experienced racers who offered advice, congratulations, and laughs! (Special Thanks to Hass-Serafini Racing and their crew and to Greg & Tracy Neal).
Last and certainly not least, I’d like to thank my awesome sponsors who helped make it possible to build a badass motorcycle which not only does its job on the drag strip, but also doubles as a decent land speed ride!
Quantum Motorsports, WorldWide Bearings, Brock’s Performance, McIntosh Machine & Fabrication, Schnitz Racing, Montgomery Motorsports, Rob Bush Motorsports, Alisyn Lubricants, BST-Blackstone Tek, Vanson Leathers, The FBR Shop, Web-Cams, Knight Communications Inc., Energy Coil, Tiger Racing, Heads Up Performance, Dragbike.com, and Wossner Pistons & Rods.
Ben Knight Racing – Setting Records
I have many friends that participate in a different kind of ‘racing’ then I normally do. You might call it a “long” drag race. It’s been on my radar for a few years but prior to this year I hadn’t really had the urge to go Land Speed Racing. However that urge was quickly put in place when I attended my first ECTA event earlier in the year. Combine that with talking to my good friend Jerry Turner who has always wanted to go himself and a plan was hatched.
However a crazy sequence of events happened leading up to the final ECTA event of the year and although I was registered to race I ended up giving up that spot. We were hard at work developing ‘Stupid Fast’ parts for Kawasaki’s flagship bike, the supercharged Ninja H2 and the final event provided the ultimate testing ground for our performance package. So I decided to not interfere with work and withdrawal from the event as a racer. But the BKR Real Street bike would still be making laps down the 1 mile airstrip as this sequence of events would lead to me allowing my good friend Ralphie Navarro to pilot my nitrous huffing Hayabusa. Ralphie was without a ride for the final event and was pretty bummed about not racing so I was glad to help out with a ride.
Brock Davidson was nice enough to allow me to help Ralphie throughout the weekend as we chased records ourselves on the Ninja H2 and also helped us in Ralphie’s record setting quest as well. The weekend could have started off with a little less pressure as I was only able to give Ralphie a rundown of the bike minutes prior to his first pass. However it was nothing to worry about as I trusted his prior experiences in LSR and he trusted my setup to go fast. Right out the gate on his first pass we set a new class record of 209.9860 in the APS/F-3000/4 class. This would also be the official pass to get Mr. Navarro in the exclusive 200mph club at Wilmington, OH. We changed a few things but battled wind the rest of the day and everyone over 150mph was eventually shutdown that afternoon.
Sunday morning came quick and we knew we had a lot more left in the bike. Ralphie took off and quickly started applying the Quantum Motorsports power and fought tire spin in 3rd and 4th gear. Once he got hooked back up the nitrous came on and he tripped the traps bumping the record for the second time, this time with a speed of 214.7971mph. After checking the data loggers and making some changes we were ready for an assault on the 220mph barrier. The time came and as Ralphie left the line and clicked through the gears I was proud to see him make his cleanest pass of the event. However, as he disappeared into the distance and I waited to hear the time, Ralphie was battling some stiff crosswinds and had to abort the pass.
That would be the end of the weekend for us, but one that I certainly won’t forget. The Real Street Hayabusa, built with plenty of blood, sweat, tears, and help from all of my amazing sponsors, was now a record holding bike. Ralphie had also won the Unlimited Nitrous Class in the Brock’s Performance Streetbike Shootout as well. The records were certainly a highlight, but the friendships and satisfaction that I got from watching these awesome racers reach their goals was the biggest reward of the weekend. Congratulations to my friend and rider, Ralphie Navarro on his accomplishments!
I’d like to thank Guy Caputo of Tiger Racing for his helpful advice and support on some integral parts to make the bike LSR legal. In addition to Guy a lot of my LSR friends pitched in to make sure Ralphie’s ride was ready to go, so a big thanks is in order as well to Greg Neal, Mark Dotson, and Ransom Holbrook. Brock Davidson and Bryan Snyder were extremely helpful during the weekend and Ralphie’s family of Saul, Catherine, and Adrianna kept him in line for passes.
Big thanks to my sponsors who helped support this build: Schnitz Racing, Vanson Leathers, The FBR Shop, Quantum Motorsports, WorldWide Bearings, Brock’s Performance, Montgomery Motorsports, McIntosh Machine & Fabrication, Knight Communications, Rob Bush Motorsports, Web-Cam, Robinson Industries, Heads Up Performance, Micro Blue Racing, Daytona Sensors, Blackstone Tek, D.C.P. Tool & Mfg., Dragbike.com, Alisyn Lubricants, FoxFire Coatings, Hays Machine Works, MPS, HTP Racing, Fun For All Motorsports, and Pro-Coat Custom Powder Coating.
Ask yourself that the next time you go racing… am I having fun at the races? That’s something I had to ask myself as I traveled to the Man Cup race in Rockingham last month. You can get a lot of thinking done on an 8 hour road trip. Of course, the reason I was “thinking” so much is because I was trying to figure out why I was in a ‘slump’. I know some would argue that there was no way I was in a racing ‘slump’, but I sure felt like I was.
But it all came down to not having fun, or at least that’s what I attribute it to. I decided I had been biting off more than I could chew as I drove to one of my favorite tracks for a weekend of racing. My foray into the Real Street class has been a lot of fun, but it has also taken a lot of work and caused me to lose some focus on my other classes. So I decided to leave that bike parked in the trailer for the weekend (unless of course I needed it as a backup bike). I had one clear goal going into the weekend and that was simply to HAVE FUN!
I only entered three classes for the weekend (3 is a lot to most racers, but pretty laid back for me as I usually race 4 or 5 classes) and I packed a cooler full of adult beverages. Saturday went well and I made it a few rounds in Street ET and made my qualifying passes for Crazy 8s and Super Comp. I also had a great conversation with one of my sponsors and a great friend who has supported me from the beginning…. I was explaining how I hadn’t been having as much fun this year and we talked for a while on this subject. It was great to talk with someone as knowledgeable as him and to confirm what I was thinking, sometimes you just need to have FUN and maybe drink a beer or two! So that’s what I did the remainder of Saturday night. I had some beers and cheered on my teammates as they kept on winning rounds.
Sunday dawned and I began to prepare for the long day of racing. As the day wore on I found myself still in all three classes and racing well. Somewhere along the way I lost in Street ET, but I kept forging ahead in Super Comp and Crazy 8s. In what has traditionally been a “bar bike” class, I got down to three bikes in Super Comp and we were all on street bikes. In a very close race I lost to the talented Richard Gadson but had no time to reflect on that race as I had made it to the Crazy 8s final as well. In an anti-climatic final I won over my good friend and legendary racer Boo Brown as he fought a monster wheelie from the start and couldn’t quite recover.
At the end of the weekend I was back in winners circle holding a trophy, but as much as I like to win that wasn’t the highlight of the weekend…. No matter what happened on the track that weekend I made damn sure I had fun and enjoyed the event and the company of my friends/family. After all, if we’re going to spend the money, lose the sleep, burn vacation days, etc., etc., we better at least enjoy it!
Fast forward to the IDBL U.S. Nationals at Atco a few weeks later and I was in a somewhat frantic rush to make it to the event in time. I drove all night and arrived to welcoming arms from my racing family. It’s a great feeling to get to the track and see your racing family (as my fellow racers know) and they were willing to do whatever it took to get me there. A rain speckled weekend gave us ample time to ‘bench race’ and that we did! Special thanks to legendary racer Boo Brown and his awesome family for keeping us fed and full of laughter.
I decided to practice a different way of staging for the ET classes and was happy to have great results and made it deep into eliminations both days. I also have to thank the Dunigan’s for having a rare bolt and helping me out with it late Saturday night as my air shifter broke during one pass. But, the goal of the weekend was to do well in Crazy 8’s and keep my points lead. I focused hard and steadily won round after round (And got my lucky round at four bikes). Down to the final I found myself up against my DRR teammate Dustin Lee, who for anyone who’s halfway followed motorcycle drag racing this year knows is the man to beat. Just as expected, it was an incredibly close race and I was able to edge him out by breaking out less (my 8.87 to his 8.85). MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I came to do well in Crazy 8’s and won the race which gave me a little breathing room on Robert Parker…. Robert is a close second and between the two of us we have won all 4 races this year.
Due to the late arrival to the track and lack of Friday testing, I admittedly struggled with my Real Street bike, but I continue to learn every time out on this bike. It’s a very tough class and I’m humbled to be able to race with some of the very best racers in our sport. We are steadily making progress though and look forward to closing out the season strong!
My apologies for the delayed race report, but it feels like I’ve been 200mph for the last month! Thank you to my wonderful friends and family, along with the VERY BEST sponsors a racer could have.
Knight Communications, Rob Bush Motorsports, Vanson Leathers, The FBR Shop, Quantum Motorsports, WorldWide Bearings, Brock’s Performance, Montgomery Motorsports, McIntosh Machine & Fabrication, Schnitz Racing, HTP Racing, Web-Cam, Robinson Industries, Heads Up Performance, Micro Blue Racing, Daytona Sensors, Blackstone Tek, D.C.P. Tool & Mfg., Dragbike.com, Alisyn Lubricants, FoxFire Coatings, Hays Machine Works, MPS, Fun For All Motorsports, and Pro-Coat Custom Powder Coating.
Ben Knight Racing Team Report
It’s been a crazy four week stretch in June, racing 3 out of the four weekends in some wicked hot conditions. We started off with the second IDBL race in Budds Creek, Maryland. I was planning on making my Real Street debut at the event and was excited after some great Friday test and tune passes. Unfortunately on the first nitrous pass we had some issues and broke some parts. So my pro debut would be postponed and I focused on my bracket/index classes.
The heat made the 5.60 Index class tough to hit on my street bike (YES, my “Knightmare” wheelie bar bike is finally approaching completion) so I was really pushing its limits. So much so, that I had what some say “was the best save ever” during the second round as I tried to flip the bike over and stood it straight up. Coming down crooked sent me straight into a tank slapper and I still don’t know how I didn’t wreck, but I’d rather be lucky than good any day! I gathered my wits and proceeded to go rounds in the always tough Crazy 8s class and found myself in my third consecutive 8.88 final. I missed the tree in the finals and gave Robert Parker too much room at the start causing myself to go too fast as Robert went dead on for his first IDBL win (congrats Robert!).
After safely arriving back home we had a short three day turn around before heading back out the door, this time for the second NHDRO event in St. Louis. It was over 90 degrees each day and that really affects you when you’re running 3, 4, even 5 classes. I made some mistakes and lost first round in Crazy 8s relinquishing my points lead, but I did take the Sunday Street ET win to cap off the long hot weekend. Team DRR did great with multiple wins and runner-ups. Big shout out to my good friend Dustin Lee for claiming the Dragbike.com BAMF lead off the strength of his two wins.
NHDRO STREET ET WIN
I spent the off week regrouping from the two prior races and doing some maintenance on the fleet of bikes. I was also able to put in some work on the bar bike project. We got everything loaded up for the trip to Memphis and headed out Thursday night. Friday at the track proved to be a washout and we lost valuable testing time, but it did provide a chance for the DRR Team to get some great Memphis BBQ. Saturday was an exciting day as I made my pro debut and entered Real Street for the first time. I made my fastest pass to date during qualifying with 171mph and made the field setting up a first round matchup with Rickey Gadson. Saturday night I got down to six bikes in Street ET before losing a very close race to the great Jeremy Teasley… However my brother paid him one back as he took his very first race win over JT in the Street ET finals (earning his DRR stripes in the process).
REAL STREET QUALIFIER
Sunday eliminations was a very up and down day as I admittedly struggled in my bracket/index classes. However I had a great first outing in Real Street as I won first round when Gadson was unable to make the call due to engine issues. I went on to run my best ET in round two with an 8.37. I learned a lot and gathered tons of useful information about my Real Street program and can’t wait to get back out there. I did manage to get down to 6 bikes in Crazy 8s until the “Professor” Ron Arnold rendered my .011 light and 8.90 ET useless against his .016 bulb and 8.88 (Great race!).
Huge thanks to my new sponsors and supporters of the Real Street project… we’re certainly headed in the right direction and I look forward to even more progress throughout the year. As always, thanks to my friends, family, DRR Teammates, and awesome sponsors.
Schnitz Racing, Vanson Leathers, The FBR Shop, Quantum Motorsports, WorldWide Bearings, Brock’s Performance, Montgomery Motorsports, McIntosh Machine & Fabrication, Knight Communications, Rob Bush Motorsports, Web-Cam, Robinson Industries, Heads Up Performance, Micro Blue Racing, Daytona Sensors, Blackstone Tek, D.C.P. Tool & Mfg., Dragbike.com, Alisyn Lubricants, FoxFire Coatings, Hays Machine Works, MPS, HTP Racing, Fun For All Motorsports, and Pro-Coat Custom Powder Coating.
As the season opener for NHDRO approached I heard “talk” of bad weather. This would make for the third event in a row that we might battle “weather”, but luckily I don’t plan my race schedule around weather forecasts. In fact I have come to learn not to even look at the forecast leading up to a race. Seriously, I don’t even bother wasting my time or energy looking at the forecast prior to a race. The great NHDRO staff and hard workers of historic Indy once again gave us racers an awesome track and worked around Mother Nature for another successfully completed NHDRO event.
I was able to leave Indianapolis Sunday afternoon with two semi-final appearances and another event win. It wasn’t easy and by my own standards I struggled to find a consistent rhythm throughout the weekend. Down to three bikes in both Street ET races I lit up big red, falling just one round shy of those elusive Dragbike.com BAMF points…..
I managed to recover and keep my composure for some very close races in the popular Crazy 8’s class and with the help of a .005 reaction time in the final round sealed the deal on another ‘Happy Gilmore’ check. Ole faithful was running great and had my back at times when I couldn’t quite get an advantage.
The weekend was also a big success for my brother as he was runner up in Sunday’s Street ET race to my good friend and teammate Ron Arnold. Even more impressive is the fact that he was riding a brand new bike (new to him) that he had never even sat on before.
With my semi-final appearances in Street ET and Crazy 8 win I am tied for the lead in Street ET points and lead Crazy 8’s in NHDRO. The weekend also added to my BAMF points and I’m now tied for the lead in this ultra competitive national ranking system. Our next event will be round two of IDBL next weekend in Budds Creek and we hope to carry the momentum into Maryland.
Thanks to my DRR teammates, family, friends, and loyal sponsors who give me the best products, parts, and support a racer could ask for. Knight Communications, Rob Bush Motorsports, Vanson Leathers, The FBR Shop, Quantum Motorsports, WorldWide Bearings, Brock’s Performance, Montgomery Motorsports, McIntosh Machine & Fabrication, Schnitz Racing, HTP Racing, Web-Cam, Robinson Industries, Heads Up Performance, Micro Blue Racing, Daytona Sensors, Blackstone Tek, D.C.P. Tool & Mfg., Dragbike.com, Alisyn Lubricants, FoxFire Coatings, Hays Machine Works, MPS, Fun For All Motorsports, and Pro-Coat Custom Powder Coating.
The 2015 season opening event for Ben Knight Racing was a race against the clock in more ways than one. As one might expect, building a Real Street bike was quite the undertaking and with some big last minute obstacles to overcome (including the engine sitting on the bench just 4 days prior to leaving) it was a tough go.
However, with some late night/early morning overtime in the garage and some great help from our friends and sponsors the bike was in Georgia on Friday morning for Darren Burnett to throw a leg over. Unfortunately the first Man Cup race was also our first “test” session so we slowly started to get the bike dialed in. With only a handful of passes during the Friday test session and two qualifying shots we were unable to record the times we know the bike is capable of, but it was an extremely important weekend and we learned a lot. We’ll now take what we learned and work on improving for the next few events.
With the big task of maintaining the Real Street bike for Burnett, Knight was seen running around almost frantically…. Embarking on a “light” weekend of racing in just 3 classes (known to normally enter 4 or 5 classes) Ben battled a few issues with his main bracket bike but was able to recover and win a few rounds in between the rain delays.
BKR would like to give a big thanks to their teammates and sponsors for the extra help provided over the race weekend. We look forward to the first IDBL race in Budds Creek in less than two weeks.
Ben Knight Racing would like to thank our awesome sponsors and supporters; Web-Cam, Robinson Industries, Rob Bush Motorsports, Heads Up Performance, Micro Blue Racing, Daytona Sensors, and Blackstone Tek, Quantum Motorsports, WorldWide Bearings, Brock’s Performance, Montgomery Motorsports, McIntosh Machine & Fabrication, Schnitz Racing, HTP Racing, and Knight Communications, D.C.P. Tool & Mfg., Dragbike.com, Alisyn Lubricants, Vanson Leathers, FoxFire Coatings, Hays Machine Works, The FBR Shop, MPS, Fun For All Motorsports, and Pro-Coat Custom Powder Coating.
This past year was without a doubt the hardest year I’ve had since I started racing. This past year was also, without a doubt my most successful season to date! I would first like to apologize for my lack of formal updates and recaps. There were multiple occasions this past year in which I worked every night till 3 or 4 in the morning in my garage the week of a race. But, as the saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”
If you were following my “Making of a Knightmare” article series here on Dragbike.com, you are probably wondering what in the hell happened to that project. Well, my wheelie bar bike project is still very much alive and finally back moving forward at a steady place. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation and THANKS to all my great sponsors who became a part of that project. Although this project started a week after the last race in 2013, as most people who have built bikes from the ground up know, it’s NEVER as easy as you think and it ALWAYS takes longer than you think. So due to many different reasons and mainly to not rush the project it was temporarily pushed to the back burner about a third of the way into the 2014 season.
The first part of my season was rough… I really can’t think of a different way to describe it. I started off the year without any of my own personal bikes ready to race. Thanks to some great friends, I was loaned competitive bikes for the first three races just so I could race. So I can’t thank Doug Gall, Tracy & Luke Slemker, and Dustin Lee enough for their support and friendship. During this time, Marion Ford also decided to give up the seat of his MIROCK Championship winning bike so that I would have a competitive ride for the 5.60 Index class all year (with my bar bike not being completed). I am seriously fortunate to be surrounded by such great people.
The first few races went better than one could expect when you’re racing on borrowed bikes that you’re not familiar with. I surprised even myself by making it to a few semi and quarter final appearances. But the most notable thing out of the first third of the year was having to completely re wire and de-bug my main bike the week before the NHDRO season opener. The reason this was so important is because we would be finishing up the Street Fighter Championship from the year before (postponed due to rain out) that I was leading at the time. I probably slept 8 hours all week, but I showed up, my bike ran, and I was able to secure the 2013 NHDRO Street Fighter Championship. Funny enough, I also managed to go to both Street ET finals for the season opener on a bike that would barely run just days before. So it’s safe to say the NHDRO season opener was a turning point for me in 2014.
I guess you could say the next few races went pretty smoothly, with some great racing and final round appearances. But apparently I didn’t “knock on wood”, because just when I thought things were going well my bike developed a cool feature where it would randomly lose all power down track for a few seconds, before seemingly coming “back to life” out of nowhere. So here I was again chasing bike issues, all the while trying to maintain my point’s standings in 3 different series and also maintain my lead in the national points standing.
Before this turns into a three part season recap I’ll spare you the details on the issue and races I struggled with it. All in all I ran 5 races with this “issue”, which no doubt cost me multiple round wins and a lot of grey hair. I finally found the problem and got it fixed in September and set out to finish the season strong.
I went into the season finale of the NHDRO series with a strong lead in Street ET and a very slim lead in Super Comp. However the prior event was rained out before eliminations were completed and after they finished out the makeup race on Saturday evening I found myself one round out of first in Super Comp. I did my best to take the lead back, but ended up losing the Super Comp championship by one round and at the same time lost the potential of 4 very valuable Dragbike.com BAMF points for the national championship. However the weekend wasn’t a total loss as I won the Crazy 8’s race and also secured the NHDRO Street ET championship.
As the season came winding down I did my best to secure some more points in the inaugural Dragbike.com BAMF race and even went to Tulsa, OK to race a PMRA event in an attempt to gain some points. I entered my final race of the year at the MIROCK World Finals in Rockingham with an outside chance of the 5.60 Index championship which would gain me 4 points. It was a hard fought battle but I once again fell exactly one round short of that championship, but finished a very respectable second place in a very tough class. I have to thank Marion and Donna at The FBR Shop for putting me on a championship bike and supporting me all year, without them I wouldn’t have even been in the 5.60 picture. I lost the BAMF lead at the conclusion of the race and my 2014 season had come to an end.
Although a mere two rounds would have gained me two more championships I still had an unbelievable year. I went to 17 races that were all sanctioned events (NHDRO, MIROCK, PMRA, & Man Cup) and I made it to 16 final rounds. I won another championship, had two runner-ups in points, and countless top 10 finishes. I can only imagine how the season would have been if it had been trouble free (for the most part) and I can’t wait for 2015.
Thank you to my family, friends, and all my sponsors/supporters; McIntosh Machine & Fabrication, Montgomery Motorsports, Brock’s Performance, Dragbike.com, Alisyn Lubricants, WorldWide Bearings, Vanson Leathers, Schnitz Racing, Quantum Motorsports, HTP Performance, FoxFire Coatings, Hays Machine Works, The FBR Shop, MPS, Knight Communications Inc., Fun For All Motorsports, Pro-Coat Custom Powder Coating.
2013 certainly was a whirlwind of a year. I set out at the beginning of the year with intentions of running the full MIROCK Superbike Series & NHDRO Series. I would be racing Street & Pro ET in MIROCK in addition to chasing points in 5.60 and Crazy 8s. In the NHDRO series I would be focusing on Street ET, Crazy 8’s, and Street Fighter.
The first three races of the year couldn’t have gone any better; it was seriously stuff you dream of. In two MIROCK races and one NHDRO race I managed to make it to 5 finals (winning two) and a semi-final! I was certainly off to a hot start and already racking up valuable points in both series. As most drag racers will acknowledge, this sport we so dearly love can bring you the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. With all of the good fortune happening at the first 3 races, bad luck struck at the third MIROCK race as I blew the engine on my brothers ZX-14 that I was piloting in Crazy 8s and 5.60.
To spare everyone a complete recap of the middle of my season I will give you the cliff notes version. I continued to try to chase Crazy 8s & 5.60 points, graciously being loaned 4 different bikes throughout the year. Mean while, my black hayabusa was consistent and reliable as ever (and with 42,000 miles she clicked off pass after pass) as we found the winners circle quite often, including a rare double up win at the July NHDRO race (Street ET & Street Fighter). I dealt with additional frustration as I worked out the “new bike bugs” on my GSXR-1000 that I fielded in some Crazy 8s/5.60 events. By the time September had rolled around, I was honestly tired and frustrated with all the issues I’d encountered while trying to stay relevant in Crazy 8s & 5.60, so I made the difficult decision to forgo the Atco MIROCK event and get ready for a final season ending push.
At the NHDRO Season Finale I had qualified for the Street ET Tournament of Champions to decide the season champ based off my strength of three Street ET wins throughout the year. Unfortunately I lost in the semi-finals of that race and was unable to claim the championship. Even more unfortunate, Mother Nature wasn’t going to cooperate with us for that weekend and Sunday racing was cancelled due to the weather, which left the 2013 Street Fighter Championship undecided. I currently hold a 50 point lead over Dave Page as we will finish the race at the first race of 2014 to determine the championship.
For the MIROCK World Finals I was qualified for both the Street & Pro ET tournament of champions. However, after not having raced for four weeks I have to admit I was a little ‘rusty’ and managed to lose first round in both championship races… but that’s how racing goes. I was ready to shut it down and call it a season after the MIROCK race, but with a lot of persuasion from my race buddies (and with their help in hauling/driving) I decided last minute to attend the Drag Bike Nationals at SGMP. It turned out to be the right decision as I finished the year off with a win and runner-up, with the win being my first in Crazy 8s!
The 2013 season was a ‘trying’ season for sure. I had probably the most successful year to date as I raced in two major series and captured multiple wins & runner-ups. However it wasn’t without its downside, battling bike issues for most of the year, blowing up an engine, and spending late nights in the garage.
I finished the year having qualified for the NHDRO Street ET Tournament of Champions and also currently lead the Street Fighter points as we will finish the final race in 2014. I also qualified for both the Street ET & Pro ET Tournament of Champions in the MIROCK series. Despite riding a total of 5 different bikes throughout the year and missing two races, I managed to finish 9th in Crazy 8s and 6th in 5.60 in the MIROCK Superbike Series. I finished the year with a 7-5 record in 12 final round appearances.
Overall it was an outstanding year and although it was tough at times, I learned a lot and will be a better racer in 2014 from it all. I’m excited to get to work as I prepare for the 2014 race season and it’s sure to be a year to remember… as I have some special announcements to come in the following weeks! Stay tuned.
Thanks to all my family, friends, supporters and sponsors. Thanks especially to:
- Brock’s Performance
- FoxFire Coatings
- Hays Machine Works
- Montgomery Motorsports
- Knight Communications Inc.
- The FBR Shop