HomeNews / Race ResultsSuzuki Hayabusa Continues Pro Stock Motorcycle Winning Streak

Suzuki Hayabusa Continues Pro Stock Motorcycle Winning Streak

Suzuki Hayabusa Continues Pro Stock Motorcycle Winning Streak


Suzuki Hayabusa Continues Pro Stock Motorcycle Winning Streak

Reigning NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle World Champion Gaige Herrera opened the defense of his 2023 crown Sunday with a dominant win aboard his RevZilla/Mission/Vance & Hines Suzuki Gen 3 Hayabusa at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida, the first round of the 2024 season.

Race Highlights:

  • Gaige Herrera qualified No. 1 and set a new track elapsed time record earning a second-consecutive season-opening win at the Gatornationals, the 12th win of his career.
  • Richard Gadson qualified sixth in his rookie NHRA season debut and advanced to the second round of eliminations.

Following one of the most dominant seasons in NHRA history, Herrera picked up in Gainesville right where he left off at the end of 2023, a year that saw him set class records for wins (11) and number-one qualifiers (14).

Suzuki Hayabusa Continues Pro Stock Motorcycle Winning Streak
Defending NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Champion Gaige Herrera (1) backs up his incredible 2023 season with a dominant win at the 2024 Gatornationals on the Gen 3 Hayabusa.

Herrera led qualifying with a 6.746-second/200.50mph run to earn the top starting spot for the 15th time in his career and the tenth race in a row dating back to last year.

In round one, Herrera defeated Joey Gladstone (6.949 seconds/194.16mph) with a 6.639-second/204.35mph pass to set a new Gainesville elapsed time track record. Herrera reset that mark in round two against John Hall (6.801 seconds/201.37mph) with a blistering 6.629-second/204.54mph pass, the second quickest in class history and only 0.002-seconds slower than the national record he set last season in Dallas. Herrera now owns the top 10 quickest passes in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle history, all on a Gen III Suzuki Hayabusa.

In the semi-final round, Herrera ran 6.684-seconds at 202.27mph to defeat Angie Smith (6.735 seconds/202.91mph), setting up a final-round matchup against her husband, Matt Smith. Herrera defeated Smith (6.748 seconds/200.83mph) with a 6.636-second/204.39mph run to notch the 12th win of his career and second straight at the Gatornationals.

A year ago, Herrera rolled into Gainesville as a relative unknown. Now with a history-making season of superlatives behind him, he stands atop the class with a target on his back and high expectations for his sophomore season in the class.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself coming into this race. I set pretty high expectations for myself, wanting to duplicate what I did last year. I came focused and ready to go, whereas last year I came here just not wanting to make a fool out of myself,” Herrera said. “I had a great feeling all weekend beginning in Q1. My Hayabusa is very consistent and rides like it’s on rails. Andrew Hines and the rest of the team worked extremely hard during the offseason to make sure our motorcycles run great, and it shows. Once I’m in the burnout box, all I focus on is what I need to do as a rider. There’s nothing better for my mindset than having that kind of confidence in the team.”

Richard Gadson, who joined the RevZilla/Mission/Vance & Hines Suzuki team in the offseason, is riding the Gen 3 Suzuki Hayabusa previously piloted and now tuned by four-time NHRA champion Eddie Krawiec. Although technically a rookie with only two previous Pro Stock Motorcycle starts to his credit, the Philadelphia native and nephew of legendary drag racer Ricky Gadson, brings the experience of multiple AMA Pro Star series championships and consistent success in high-stakes grudge racing to the team.

Suzuki Hayabusa Continues Pro Stock Motorcycle Winning Streak
New Vance & Hines rider Richard Gadson launches his pro career on his Hayabusa. Despite a late round red light, Gadson qualified well and made his first 200 mph pass.

Gadson qualified in sixth position with a 6.817-second/198.32 mph run. He achieved the primary goal of his season debut by turning on the win light in round one with a career-best 6.724-second/201.97mph victory over Kelly Clontz (6.829 seconds/197.39mph). In round two, Gadson left the starting line too soon, resulting in a redlight loss to LE Tonglet and an early end to the weekend.

“Coming up against a tough competitor in the second round, I felt like I had to go hard on the tree, and I ended up on the wrong side of it, Gadson said. “It’s a new bike, new team, new everything for me. We’re still working to find the best chassis and clutch setup that works for me. We came to Florida early with the intent to test but Mother Nature had different plans. The lack of testing set us back a little on that, but I still ran my personal best, had my first-round win, and made my first 200mph pass. You can’t wipe the smile off my face.”

With leading motorcycle parts retailer RevZilla assuming a primary sponsorship alongside Mission Foods and Suzuki this season, crew chief Andrew Hines was happy to begin the season in strong form and eager to show that last year was no fluke.

“The weather we had today was just what the doctor ordered for our four-valve Hayabusas. Working off the notes from last year, we didn’t have to change much in the setup for Gaige’s bike and here we are back in the winner’s circle,” Hines said. “You can’t ask for a more fantastic way to start a season, with new people on board and new partnerships that are pushing us to keep raising our level of performance. Striking these new deals over the winter was pivotal in our ability to continue running a top-notch program. We have Richard on board now taking Eddie’s spot on the bike, and it’s just a matter of time before we get everything clicking with him. It’s exciting.”

After the first of 16 races in the 2024 season, Herrera and Gadson sit first and sixth in the Pro Stock Motorcycle standings with 127 and 54 points, respectively.

The RevZilla/Mission/Vance & Hines Suzuki team returns to action April 26-28 at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, NC.

For the latest Suzuki team news, race reports, and information visit SuzukiCycles.com/Racing/Drag-Racing

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