KRIS BECKER CHATS WITH DWIGHT:
The distance between Redmond, Washington where Kris Becker is employed and StripBike's home in Clearwater, Florida is thousands of miles. That distance is easily traversed via computer and phone, however, so I employed both for this interview. Two other elements made that trip with ease. Kris Becker's enthusiasm permeated the cyber connection and the phone line, but had I not talked to Kris I'd have missed her Mid West-Western dialect. It's probably a Scandinavian inflection brought to the Wild West by European immigrants, but I don't think Kris is concerned about the sound of her words. She is trying to tame the speed of the West by riding horses down a drag strip, not the stallions of the historic western US, but the mechanical horses in Pro Fuel and Top Fuel Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Horses that roar!
When I talked to Kris, I asked what it is like to work in BillVille. (For new computer users, Redmond, Washington is home to Microsoft Corporation founded by Bill Gates) Kris answered that she never heard Redmond called BillVille before. I was pleased to hear that, as I have now copyrighted it. (See that Bill ! …© 2000 Dwight Drum). I forgot to ask her if she sees Bill on the streets of Redmond, please tell him I will sell him the 'BillVille' name for an affordable price. (I'm sure he can fit it into his budget) The first requirement of the sale, of course, is that Bill Gates attend a local drag racing event to watch Kris Becker ride.
Enough history, geography, and diversions…it's time to move on to Kris Becker's crisp, descriptive answers.
DOB: January 8, 1962 Birth Town: Seattle, Washington.
Home Town: Snohomish, Washington, about 30 miles from Seattle.
Do you have a nickname?
"None that I am aware of (or could print)...If you hear of any, let me know."
Who would you most like to be like?
"I'm really quite happy with me just the way I am. I am more and more like my mom and that's ok. She's pretty cool."
Who are your heroes?
"Women who have survived against all odds. Women who have pioneered in any field be it sports, medicine, law, literature, etc."
What are (or have been) your scariest moments?
"Palmdale, California, 1995. Blowing the rods out of the motor at 150 MPH and not wrecking. I wasn't scared until the guy ran up to me with a fire extinguisher. Then I started to shake pretty bad. I had blisters on my hands from hanging on so tight."
Do you work out?
"I work out 3 to 5 days a week, sometimes with a personal trainer. I lift weights and do a lot of cardio."
Do you have a special diet?
"I eat anything I want, but try to balance out the bad stuff with lots of fruit and salads."
What mental routine prepares you for each run?
"I concentrate on getting to the end of the track. I focus on how the pass will go and imagine that everything goes well."
Do you have time for a hobby?
"Drag racing is my hobby."
Many motorcyclists ride to unravel, what do you do to unwind?
"Riding my street bike really helps. Working out is good too because I can just get into a groove and work out for a couple hours and not get bored. I also enjoy walking along the trails around my office."
What personal quality (one trait) would you want to be admired most for?
"Hopefully perseverance, persistence and attention to detail."
What's most important?
1.Fame 2.Money 3.Thrill/fun 4.Winning
"Thrill/fun. Do what you do and the money will follow. Fame is fun but is often so short lived. Girls just wanna have fun! Money? So far all I do is spend it!"
Are you happy?
"Extremely...and most of the time. Everybody has down days but I don't dwell on it for too long. Life is getting too short to be wasting it on negative energy."
What could make you happier?
"A 200 mph pass and a full time job as a drag racer."
If you could change one thing about motorcycle drag racing, what would it be?
"A bigger pay-out. We're just not able to make a living at this sport at this time. I hope that changes."
When driving a car, do you always wear a seatbelt?
1. Yes. 2. No. 3. Sometimes
"ALWAYS! Been in numerous car accidents, never been hurt all that bad."
What does 185 (or faster) miles an hour on a motorcycle feel like?
"My fastest mph is about 180 at this time. It's quite a rush. There's no time for a mistake."
Where do you find the most peace in your life?
"Usually on the road, either in the truck going to a race or on my street bike just going any where. Really clears the cobwebs from my head, gives me perspective. Any problem I might be carrying with me will soon disappear. I really enjoy playing with my dog, Bo. He brings a lot of happiness to me and Arlie."
Other than racing do you have a full-time occupation?
"I am an expeditor for a commercial printing company in Redmond, Washington."
You're a skilled racer…What skills separate you from the fast traffic on public highways?
"I don't freak out very easily and am able to take evasive action when necessary to avoid bad drivers. I think I have better reaction time and can anticipate other drivers who might be doing something dumb. I think I am a much better street rider because of drag racing."
What do you worry about the most?
"Having a bad hair day really bugs me (I hate helmet hair!) I get stressed when we have a long way to drive to get to a race and it doesn't seem like we'll have enough time to get there. I like to get to town early enough to get settled in the hotel and maybe visit with other racers."
You're a female in a male dominated sport. How do you feel about that?
"It has been interesting. Most all the racers have been really friendly and really supportive. If they guys don't like it, they sure don't bother me with it. Going into Top Fuel may change that, but for now everything's been fine. Mostly, I am simply one more competitor."
Top Fuel…That's top speed too. Why the top?
"Why? I just don't know. It seemed like the thing to do. I'd love to have a 200 mph pass under me. That would be very cool."
"My first attempt at T/F may look like a disappointment to some but to me it was absolutely fantastic. Sure, we had some trouble with the new bike, first it didn't want to fire on the rear cylinder and when we finally got that straightened out and I made my first qualifying attempt the front exhaust pipe popped off. But, every time I ride the big bike I will learn something and I will come away with more knowledge and ability than before.
Every time I make it to the end of the track I consider the pass to be a success. It may not have been a very fast pass or even very pretty, but anybody who has blown up as many motors as I have would consider each pass a success."
"I've been very fortunate to have a strong support system in place, from friends, family, other racers, and especially the fans. The fans come to watch the races and have always been supportive of my efforts whether I win or lose. I get a lot of e-mail from people all over the world (England, Japan, Canada and U.S.) and they all have positive things to say. I've been very lucky."
"It's hard to think about being the first woman top fuel pilot because I'm not much of a threat right now. When I get a better handle on the bike and we get the tune dialed in I may change how I feel. For now, this summer will be a learning summer. The Reality Motorsports Top Fuel Harley and I will just do the best we can. I'm lucky to have a great crew - my husband Arlie of 16 years has raced fuel bikes since 1983 and is past National and Western Champion and has set records as well. We have a great road crew thanks to
Jay, Mike, and Rob and we have great sponsors this year, including recurring sponsors S&S and Delkron. We are pleased to welcome Kirkland Life Chiropractic, The Woodinville Athletic Club, Lanstat, Inc., Lucky Star Ranch, www.krisbecker.com, Eastside Harley-Davidson, (Bellevue, Wa), Control Seneca Corporation, Prototron Circuits and especially Reality Motorsports, Inc. of Dallas, Texas."
Kris Becker's work ethic is obvious. She is trying to blaze a trail to Top Fuel, but willing to earn every splitting of the seconds to get there. Gary and I talked about her accomplishments and goals and we both arrived at a similar single word to describe her. It was a good word, but I chose another word because I felt it better described her quest. Gary agreed.
Kris Becker is an… EXPLORER