Well here it is at the end of another year, heading into 2015 and what is anticipated as my 39th year of racing. Having been at this pretty much continuously since I was 16 and could drive myself there, it sure has changed a lot in some ways and not much in others.
The way it has changed a lot is the technology and financial involvement even mid-level racing of nearly any type involves. A yard sale bike in bumper carriers on the back of an old station wagon going to the motocross at Dairyland Speedway in Verona Wisconsin was the start for me. Now those same kids are in motor homes and dual axle trailers with two to four bikes traveling all over the country. I think a little is lost in translation here in that winning the race isn’t everything. Learning how to be competitive, fixing problems with the bike and sometimes the tow rig and working your way up was what allowed a progression in the sport of motorcycle racing rather than deciding it isn’t fun any more, going broke and burning out. Racing has a way of drawing a person in and chewing them up. A racer always wants that little bit more and as layer upon layer of competitiveness builds up you all of a sudden find yourself in the aforementioned situation of the motor home, etc., etc. I know. After three successful years running Top Fuel on bikes we built, the semi trailer was purchased the rig to pull it lined up and we were making plans. Then luckily, the wheels fell off the cart (didn’t seem that way at the time) and reality set in. I ran out of money, personnel and patience and rolled the program off to the side. This was hard to do after winning a nation championship, finishing second the next year and equaling a national record. I realized now that it was a recession I could blame if I wanted to, but it wasn’t meant to be at that time. We then discovered other forms of racing and built some more bikes, worked on a Top Alcohol Funny Car and eventually wound up at the U.S. National on a Top Fuel Car team. Odd how things can turn out.
The way racing has changed not so much is the people you get to meet. There is still a group of like-minded, dedicated (some say driven), talented and amazing people. The closest to the situations I encountered at the outset of my racing career is that which is found at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Everyone wants to do well, and hopes for the best for the other guy, even if they are a competitor in the same class. In motocross you are ready to knock him down in the corner, but have a beverage together afterwards. On the salt you are ready to give it all for the desired result, but pitch in to help the guy next to you if it is needed.
Our sponsors of the long red bike are that type of like-minded people. They are a group I am proud to know and make every possible effort to not disappoint.
Thank you for your support and patience and I am hoping 2015 will let us get back out to the salt to see those friends and competitors we so admire and invite you all to come along.
In the interim, the parts are coming along for the blower bike and we hope to test a 450 horsepower Ducati before year’s end.
Here are progression images for a direction-reverser outer cover (try saying that 5 times fast).
Stay tuned and Happy New Year!!