Interview Part 1: Jeff Hawbaker

I ran over to my friend Jeff's place last night to get a thrust washer - and as he dug through a well-organized parts stash . . . you couldn't help but notice walls filled with plaques and trophies from more than one form of motorcycle racing - or another.  National drag racing records.  Flat track and ice racing victories.  Season points championships.  Jeff has always reminded me a bit of a Dick Mann, since he builds what he races.  Jeff is his own main sponsor.  He's the tuner.  The builder.  He drives the van or the truck, then races the bikes, waits 'til the 11:00pm payout and drives home.  I've known him to travel to races by himself more than once.
For the love of the sport - he loves to ride.

"Bake's" latest project is actually his street bike.  An FLHX "sleeper."  Now, you can ask anyone around here about "Bake" and his engines - and you'll basically hear the same answer.  Hawbaker?  You know whatever motorcycle he's riding ain't stock, and it's fast.  If you can beat him today, which you probably can't.  You won't win the next time you race.  His only goal is to finish "First."  At age (48? 49?), when most racers are content to stick with one form of racing or retire altogether - not Jeff.  "As long as I got the tools and can still do it- and have some fun - I'm doing it."  Something on that order.

Can I ask you some questions?
JH - "About what . . . ?"
Maybe do like a rider-interview type o' deal?
JH - "You pretty much know everything Richie." (he calls me Richie 'cause I got like 20 nicknames)
What motorcycles have you owned?
JH - FZR1000, V-Max, Sportster XLX, ZX-10, 450s, XLs, XRs, TTs, etc etc
(and all the above with stroker cranks, big bores, I'm totally serious)
Best places to race?
JH - "Stockton, Kansas - awesome, 4 races in 4 nights.  I like any big, fast track - really."
Greatest racing achievement?
JH - "An AMRA National Record . . . maybe a couple Davenport wins?"
Worst Crash?
JH - "Which one . . . ?"
This part ends here - but, the racing hasn't.  The motivation is still there - probably always will be.  Jeff is fairly modest.  I think we got most of it?  He worked for my dad at Noot's Custom Cycles for years - and pretty much ran the backroom.  We had a lot of fun doing crazy stuff on bikes - things you just can't get away with anymore.  It makes you smarter.  More seasoned.  He's now mentioned with other veterans of the sport.


Hux said...

Jeff is definitely a class act and a helluva guy! Ill never forget the ride to Davenport in the elements with the Minnesota Crew and topping it off with Hawbaker taking the checkers! Gotta love the wrestling shoes for control of that land rocket. Kick ass post Rick.

Mish said...

Great Post! Hope theres more to follow.

pat said...

really cool post noot!

WhitelinePsycho said...

Like I said Nootster, you're doin a bang up job in the writing department yourself . . . old snakehips !!! Really cool shit mate, keep em comin !!