CHRIS HAND CHATS WITH DWIGHT
Chris Hand and Dwight Drum ©(Larsen)
The 'Red Neck Express' may sound like a remote southern railroad, but up close a blast of nitromethane from this Top Fuel motorcycle leaves no doubt that you are in racing territory, be it north, south, east or west. And one look at the 'Conductor' of this Red Neck Express, Chris Hand, leaves the impression that you've seen a southern gentleman. After you talk to the man who drives the 'Red Neck Express' you know you've met the distinguished driver of a very fast 'train'. Join me as I chat with Chris Hand, a polite man whose only rude gesture is to disrupt the silence around a very straight track…(asphalt track, not a steel rail.)
DOB: 1-7-52 BirthTown: London, England
HomeTown: Saragossa, Alabama
"Britt (Lynn) has built me a Ferrari, I've got to learn how to drive it."
Do you have a nickname?
"The NHRA hung "The conductor of the Red Neck Express. Marty Kane calls me Underdog."
Who are your Heroes?
"Elmer Trett, Don Garlits, Winston Churchill, George Marshall…the short list."
What have been your scariest moments?
"I had an oil pan blow in 92 at Bradenton, caught fire and got on my face shield and blinded me. Then in 1980 in Darlington on a Honda doing 190 mph, I got close to the wall, and bounced out of the seat onto the fender and held on with my arms. It wobbled, a tank slapper, until it stopped… And…when Gina told me she was going racing with Tony next year."
Do you work out?
"No. I should."
Do you have a special diet?
"I've got one, I'm supposed to be on, but I don't. My special diet is Sharon's cooking (his wife)."
What mental routine prepares you for each run?
"I try to get a little quiet time in the motor home. I focus on the run, racing the racetrack, and not thinking about anything else. I like to build confidence. I've done this a thousand times…I can do it one more time. I have one hundred per cent confidence in my crew."
Do you have time for a hobby?
"Not any more. What used to be a hobby is now an obsession. When I do find time I read about the World War Two Era. "
Many motorcyclists ride to unravel, what do you do to unwind?
"Well I like to ride my street bike and dirt bike when I can. I own an 84 Honda Interceptor, and a 72 BMW."
What personal quality (one trait) would you want to be admired for?
"Honesty and integrity. It's a trait I aspire to, and admire most in others."
What's most important?
1.Fame 2.Money 3.Thrill/fun 4.Winning
"Thrill and the fun. We enjoy racing."
Are you happy?
What could make you happier?
"To get a number one plate before I get too old."
If you could change one thing about motorcycle drag racing, what would it be?
"If I had it in my power I'd like to change the spectator level…more spectators…More interest. In Top Fuel I'd like to see twelve to sixteen trying for an eight-bike field. A big sixteen bike filed would be nice."
When driving a car, do you always wear a seatbelt?
1. Yes. 2. No. 3. Sometimes?
"Yes. I do now. Alabama is enforcing it."
What does 200 miles an hour on a motorcycle feel like?
"It feels great. A thrill. Like riding on two twenty six inch bicycle tires."
Where do you find the most peace in your life?
"When I'm sitting on my couch watching 'Becker' with my wife on one side, my daughter on the other side."
Do you have a full-time occupation?
"I own a motorcycle shop."
You're a skilled racer…What factor separates you from the fast traffic on public highways?
"Probably insanity. My desire to go fast on a motorcycle."
What got you started in Motorcycle drag racing?
"Step one was when I was twelve racing friends on Honda 90's across a bridge. In 1968 or so I took my street bike to local drag strips."
"The last three years have been the best thing that has ever happened. It's happened for the Trett ladies, too. My old buddy Denny Hickman gave me the opportunity to get a ride on a Top Fuel bike, and without him nothing else could be possible. People are our biggest factor. My crew, Andy Walls, Steve Laminsky, and Britt Lynn have been great. Their evolvement has helped us since 97 to step us up to another level. If you get to the top and left a carnage of people behind you, then you haven't accomplished anything."
After a short ride with the 'Conductor' of the Red Neck Express, I'm left with a genuine feeling that I've met an accomplished person, a dedicated driver. I could find many words to describe this brave racer, but as always this Signature Profile has to end with just one word. Chris Hand's word could resemble the title of his bike, the Red Neck Express, but it also has to accent speed, safe speed. I called Gary and we both agreed to a special word to define speed…as always the racing emphasis, the racing definition is also on safety … but that special word, that speedy word for Chris Hand is …