MATT HINES CHATS WITH DWIGHT:
Dwight(editor) and Matt Hines ©(Larsen)
In my first interview with Matt Hines I noticed he had a perpetual smile all the while he answered our questions, and that a sense of confidence accompanies his words. Matt smiles often, maybe because Matt wins often. Still the sunny demeanor can leave one to wonder how much the smile pushes the confidence or how much the confidence pushes the smile.
I've also noticed that he also carries that confidence when he strolls the pits. Often he appears as calm as a lake without wind. His gait is slow, maybe because his reason to rush here is minimal. In the tight NHRA truck and trailer, motorcycle neighborhood…the pit real estate is skinny. Still, the pits allow plenty of room for Matt to chat with his fellow racers, many of them Vance & Hines motor and transmission customers.
This casual speed is stark contrast to Matt Hines on a Vance & Hines Pro Stock motorcycle when he executes his burnout, and then rolls to the tree. He often launches his bike to a rocket-like win. Step into the stylish interior of the Vance & Hines trailer as we found Matt in between a stroll and a launch. Join us as I chat with Matt.
Do you have a nickname?
"Matt the missile."
Who are your Heroes?
"Terry Vance and my dad (Byron Hines)."
What are your scariest moments?
"When my foot went up against the wall in Houston in the shut-down area."
Do you work out?
"Not really. I just work. No time for it."
Do you have a special diet?
"No. McDonalds and Taco Bell."
What mental routine prepares you for each run?
"Just concentration. I think about what I have to do. Clear my head."
Do you have time for a hobby?
"Four wheeling and jet skis."
Many motorcyclists ride to unravel, what do you do to unwind?
"Relax at home."
What personal quality (one trait) would you want your fans to admire most?
"My desire to win."
What's most important?
1.Fame 2.Money 3.Thrill/fun 4.Winning
Are you happy?
What could make you happier?
"Winning the next race."
If you could change one thing about motorcycle drag racing, what would it be?
"Better television coverage."
When driving a car, do you always wear a seatbelt?
1. Yes. 2. No. 3. If yes, really?
" Yes and yes."
Where do you find the most peace in your life?
" Riding around my land in Trinidad, Colorado on my four wheeler."
When do you find the most peace in your life?
"In the off season."
When asleep do you ever dream you're riding a motorcycle?
"Sometimes. I'm on the race track."
How did you get started in motorcycle drag racing? (Besides being born into the sport)
"I grew up at the drag strip at Ontario, California in the mid seventies watching Top Fuel."
What quality do you admire most in other people?
Do you have a full-time occupation?
"Racing is a full-time sport…at the track or at the shop. I relax and have fun."
What kind of vehicle do you drive on the street?
"Dodge Dakota 4 by 4."
In a few words, how would you sum up…yourself?
"Straight-forward. Easy going. And ready to go!"
When frustrated. What do you do first?
1.Erupt. 2.Withdraw 3. Try to be cool.
"Try to be cool."
You're a skilled racer…What separates you from the fast traffic on highways?
"Being at the track and watching racers like Terry Vance and others. A chance to learn the skills."
When not wearing leathers or racing garb, what's your choice for clothing?
"T-shirt and Jeans."
What do you worry about the most?
"Riding the bike…Well."
Can you describe the G-forces at the tree? The launch.
"On a good pass it feels like you are being pushed like a rocket…Almost slow motion."
You're high profile. How does the spotlight feel to you?
"I'm a regular guy. I don't like the spotlight. I sign autographs. I talk to people."
If you could make one part of your body stronger, what part would that be?
How long does it take you to come off an emotional high? Like a winning high?
"I'm on a high all the way up till the next time I lose. Hopefully, one high carries on to another high."
"What does 185 miles per hour on a motorcycle feel like?"
"Like you're on a cruise missile. The bike is barely gliding on the ground, if the track is smooth. It's like you're flying."
Do you have pets?
If you could have lunch with anybody in history…With whom would you munch?
Who would you most like to be like?
"I'd like to be most like myself. I'd like to be the best person I can be."
"Worst thing about winning the championship is that you have to do it all over again next year."
More Additional Comments:
"2000 is turning out to be a good season. The crew is starting to work well. I hope we find that winner's circle."
Matt Hines was quick to answer our questions with brief but complete answers. It's almost as if he thinks as fast as he races. Well, almost, maybe. Many attributes describe this successful and brave competitor, but Stripbike tradition requires that we settle on one adjective. I chose a word that combines both speed and cleverness. Gary agreed.
Good word, but we agreed that it was too complicated for our purpose, so we decided on another word. After our second interview with Matt we decided that word still has fire: