Gainesville: Tom Bradford preview

Tom Bradford and the Hal's H-D/Hal's Speed Shop Thunder Eagle Racing Team to focus on the NHRA Powerade Pro Stock Bike tour in '04 After winning three straight AHDRA Pro Stock championships (and one in the ADBA), Tom Bradford and crew chief Rob...

Tom Bradford and the Hal's H-D/Hal's Speed Shop Thunder Eagle Racing Team to focus on the NHRA Powerade Pro Stock Bike tour in '04

After winning three straight AHDRA Pro Stock championships (and one in the ADBA), Tom Bradford and crew chief Rob Schopf will turn their attention to the NHRA Powerade series in 2004. "We're committed to 10 races on the NHRA schedule," Bradford said from his Carbmasters fuel systems specialty shop in Eagle, Wisconsin. "This is the first year we've committed to the NHRA that deeply. We've always dabbled the last few years, but I still maintain my rookie status! If the bike is performing the way we think it should--or better--who knows how many races we'll go to? If we can put something together for deeper funding, who knows what we'll do?"

The Thunder Eagle team has always had strong support from great sponsors, and that's been a major reason for the team's unmatched success in the all-Harley sanctions. But the National Hot Rod Association is a stepped-up game with additional requirements. So although Bradford's sponsors will follow him to the big show, there is space available for a primary sponsor to ride on the Buell's tail and reap the benefits of V-Twin popularity and the enormous exposure of the NHRA. "We feel that this team has huge dividends to offer a progressive company, and we're excited about the possibilities of a partnership with some great company out there in corporate America," said Bradford.

But as he spoke, Bradford was also concerned about preparing for the first race for Pro Stock Bikes--the Gatornationals. "At this point I'm feverishly working to get the bike back together for Gainesville. We took some time off in November, but from then on we've worked non-stop.

"We've learned quite a bit. The motor's not different, it's enhanced. Last year there were changes we wanted to make. This year, we've enhanced a few things we couldn't afford to last year.

"Because of the combination--the bore, mainly--there are not parts readily available. For instance, you can't go use a piston from some car because there's no car anywhere in the world with that bore. And it trickles down that way through the rest of the motor. We've also done a lot of work in the airbox, The NHRA approved Buell XB9R body required us to cut up the frame. If we hadn't had to do that, we probably would have made it to the AHDRA race in Gainesville (March 2nd and 3rd)."

Expect Bradford to show up at select AHDRA events, but not just with the Pro Stock (Pro Gas legal in AHDRA) bike. "This year is exciting," said Tom. "We've got a ton of things going on with Hal's Speed Shop and the V-Rod they're building. I'm going to run some AHDRA races with that. Hal's and Don Tilley have been banging heads on the road racing circuit for years, so it'll be neat to be a part of that history. I've never ridden a bike with that kind of horsepower with no bars, so I'm looking forward to that.

"It's awesome to know you have the backing of a dealership with the stature of Hal's year after year. And Joker Machine really stepped up and we're excited about that this year, also.

"We're looking forward to the season," finished Tom. "We've wondered all year what our bike would do on an NHRA prepared surface. We're not making any predictions. We're just going to go there and hope we're still around on Sunday."

-ter-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tom Bradford