The national Summit Sportsman Series arrives in Perth this weekend as part of the Prestige Lock Services Goldenstates, and relishing the chance to show his talents on home turf will be drag racer Gordon Crawford.
Crawford has earned a reputation as one of the most well travelled racers in the country, covering tens of thousands of kilometres a year to pursue rounds of the series, from Darwin to Melbourne to Perth and everything in between.
“I enjoy it when the series finally comes back Perth, though I don’t race here as much so often the (starting) lights catch me out,” he said.
“I try not to take racing too seriously though, if you win it is a bonus and it is still a great thrill to see my mates go for the win.”
Drag racing’s accessibility is one of its strong points and no better is that reflected than in the Modified Bike category Crawford competes in. Most standard motorcycles are able to contest thanks to a handicapping system, but purpose built drag bikes also find a place in the class. Crawford sits somewhere in between. He rides a Harley V-Rod Destroyer, a factory-built drag bike that you can purchase new complete with a drag racing slick tyre, wheelie bars to prevent flips and an air shifter to hurry through the gears. It provides a great platform to get into competitive drag racing and good resale value without breaking the bank.
“The Destroyers are easy to maintain, low cost and a great entry level bike,” he said. “You can come straight off an ordinary street bike and ride one and depending on your weight you will be running anywhere in the low to mid nine second range for the quarter mile.”
Crawford has come full circle in a sense. Modified Bike was his first foray into the sport, but he purchased faster and faster machines, eventually purchasing a nitro Harley for racing in the professional Top Bike category. The demands of maintenance and constant attention saw Crawford yearn for a simpler ride and a return to the low cost fun of Modified Bike.
His Destroyer is now being developed into a consistent and winning machine.
“We are having a few clutch issues, it is a different engine designed to run on nitrous, so we are a bit down on horsepower as it has lower compression pistons,” he said. “But in Modified Bike that means just adjusting your dial in (handicap) accordingly.”
For this Saturday’s Prestige Lock Services Goldenstates, Crawford has talked some of his Summit Sportsman Series friends over the WA border, with an influx of interstate riders boosting the Modified Bike field to 21 entries. Crawford sits on maximum points already for the series, so for him the event will be about limiting the damage others can do to his lead.
“I’m looking forward to getting down there, I’m really enjoying my racing,” he said. “After this we will be off to Calder Park in Melbourne to keep supporting the series.”
The Prestige Lock Services features not only the national Summit Sportsman Series, but also forms round two of the WA Drag Racing Championship and for the first time this season includes the Summer Slam, seeing some of WA’s best Top Doorslammer teams going head to head.
Qualifying begins from 10am with the feature program from 6pm.
Image caption: Gordon Crawford has competed in drag races across the country but this weekend it is time to return home to play. (image by Luke Nieuwhof)