TOP FUEL BIKE
©1999-2003 Dwight Drum
DWIGHT CHATS WITH…RON WEBB
"When you drive fast on public highways, it seems like it's work."
DOB: November 29,1952
Birth Town: West Palm Beach, Fla.
Home Town: Anchorage, Alaska
By Dwight Drum
Photos by Gary Larsen and Dwight Drum
I owe Ron Webb one big apology, one about the size of an Alaskan mountain. I've been fortunate to vacation in Alaska twice and I'd compare the awesome beauty of that state with any where I've been on this planet. I've also looked way up at many of Alaska's tall mountains so I know the size of my apology.
Parts of this interview you are about to read should you decide to know more about a genuine Top Fuel pilot are about two seasons old. Don't let that stop you though, as my questions are about personality and technique not points or news on any race. Growing pains may have prevented the prompt finish of this interview, but there is no pain in sharing the solid answers from this fire and ice guy. Webb's answers are as fresh as Alaskan air and as crisp as recent snow.
What personal quality (one trait) would you want to be admired for the most?
"I like being a gentleman and also being straight-up with everybody."
What's most important?
"I like being around all the people in the racing group."
Do you have a nickname?
"Not really, but they sometimes call me the "Ice Man" because I plow snow in Alaska."
Who are your Heroes? (If you have heroes)
"I've never thought about it, but probably my Grandfather, Harold Wilson."
Are you pleased with life?
What could please you more?
"No comment on that."
When driving a car, do you always wear a seatbelt?
1. Yes. 2. No. 3. Sometimes?
"No, but my wife wears one all the time."
Is racing your full-time occupation?
"It's my hobby. I do asphalt paving and snow-removal. The ground in Alaska freezes ten feet deep."
Do you have time for a hobby?
What vehicle do you drive on the street?
"GMC S-10 Pickup."
Do you work out?
"I try to."
Name one other sport, you feel you could master or be competitive?
If you could make one part of your body stronger, what part would that be?
Do you have pets?
Do you have a special diet?
What quality do you admire most in other people?
When frustrated. What do you do first?
1.Erupt. 2.Withdraw 3. Try to be cool. 4. Other
"Other…I yell, scream, cuss, throw things and get over it quick."
What mental routine prepares you for each run?
"I focus on what I'm doing and run it through my mind."
What are (or have been) your scariest moments?
"I slid the front wheel at the track in Columbus. It was scary shifting down."
What do you do to unwind?
"I travel in the motor home with my wife."
If you could change one thing about drag racing, what would you change?
"I'd run the rounds when they are supposed to be run."
When asleep do you ever dream you are racing?
Where do you find the most peace in your life?
"Motor-boating up on the "Big Lake".
You're a skilled racer… On public highways, what's different about you and other drivers?
"I don't drive as fast. I enjoy driving. When you drive fast it seems like its work. Drivers drive hard down here in the lower 48."
What do you worry about the most?
"My work. I like to see my businesses advance. There is no success without work. I don't worry about much."
Can you describe the G-forces at the tree…the launch?
"It's smooth. It accelerates most of the time but it's not violent."
What does your fastest speed feel like?
"The wind is blowing hard at 220 mph. I have a new fairing to get out of the wind."
Most people learn something from mistakes. What mistake caused you to learn the most?
"When I tried to run my old bike in a severe wind and got blown off the track and crashed. I'm cautious of the wind."
Who means the most to you?
How did you get started in drag racing?
"I had friends who raced cars, Gold Coast Pro Racing Association in 1974. I started racing bikes because they are much more challenging."
Do you have any plans for the future?
"We'd like to get into the fives before we quit doing this."
"If it was up to my wife it would be right now."
Ron Webb has quick and confident words much like the speed and skill of his racing. Webb doesn't waste words, but he gets those few words to the point. That kind of focus has helped him win races and go far.
In his own Alaskan words, "Every where we go is a long ride. It doesn't make any difference."
Choosing one strong final word for a competitor like Webb is no easy task. He's a sturdy and steady racer. It's no wonder he is known as the "Ice Man", but I thought we'd separate the fire from the ice with a word that could handle any spring thaw. Gary Larsen agreed. Ron Webb is...