A Modified Bike quarter-mile record toppled after standing for almost a decade on the weekend, smashed by more than one-tenth of a second by the Mark Hancock Racing Team.
Mark Hancock’s GSXR 1100 clocked the fastest speed recorded in the national A/MB category as it rocketed down the strip in just 7.79 seconds, at Willowbank Raceway on March 26, 2011.
The previous best time was 7.92 seconds, a time which had stood since 2002.
Hancock’s bike reached a top speed of 168mph, besting the previous top speed in the category, set way back in 1996, of 164mph.
It’s a goal the unsponsored, semi-professional racing team has harboured since Hancock first raced the GSXR in 2009.
There was happiness, and relief, when the record fell; it was a major step as the team chases greater goals.
“I am really happy mate, happy for the whole team. This has been a goal for a little while, so it is good to have it off the list,” Hancock said.
The Murwillumbah father of three said the achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the help of his wife Katrina, crew chief Shane Brown and his wife Jess, plus Wayne Clark, Scott Pittaway and Joe Marshall for all his support and help over the years.
Brown calls the shots. They work as professionally as possible and deliver Hancock a bike ready to ride on race day.
The crew and their families have come together over the past decade through the drag racing community.
“It is a good place, everyone helps each other out, especially bike racers,” Hancock said.
“It is really a family orientated sport. The young fella (Lewis, 10) is going to get into the junior dragsters too soon.”
“It is a good, friendly community.”
Hancock says his bike can go faster in its current form, but not fast enough for the team to achieve a goal of competing at ANDRA’S pro-stock level.
“Trying to keep moving forward is the thing for us,” Hancock said.
“We reckon we can run 7.5 with the engines we have got up here, but it is still not enough to be competitive at the top end in pro stock, where they can run 7.2s.
“We will step these engines up a bit more, but eventually we will have to go to a two valve.”
Hancock started his drag-racing career on Suzuki Katana motorcycles more than a decade ago. When he got into the sport it was all about going quickly in controlled circumstances – taking the bike off the street and onto the track.
The love of the sport blossomed from there, it wasn’t just about going fast, but enjoying the lifestyle that comes with quarter-mile racing.
“I started with street bikes, back in about 2000, at street meets, just to simply get off the street. Go fast and get off the street.
“Gradually the Katanas progressed to full race bikes over the years, so going from street-based bikes to full-blown race bikes.
“It has just been a natural progression to the pro bike style of bike itself.”
“It has turned from a hobby into a lifestyle … it is a lifestyle obsession really.”
Hancock won the 2008 Drag fest at Warwick on one of his Katanas and in 2009 he was runner up at the same event.
The team’s competitive drive is matched by Hancock’s personal ambition as a rider.
“What keeps me motivated is trying to get the perfect pass together, where I have done everything right – I probably never will mate,” he laughed.
“It is there hey. That is what gets me, the technical side of the sport. You only get one go; it is a punishing sport, it really is. If you don’t win, you don’t come back.”
The Hancock Racing Team has the data systems installed on the bike to understand exactly what happened on each run, and as Hancock says: “We fairly well know whats going on on the day, whether we have got to change me or change the bike”.
For all the technicalities, the thrill of racing, of course, is something Hancock loves.
“It is pure adrenalin mate, it really is, especially when you are running seven seconds, it really is. It is mainly the start, it just picks you up and throws you.”
But the fact of the matter is, for Hancock to achieve his dream of running in the ANDRA Pro Stock field, he will need a new engine.
And those engines cost lots – unaffordable without sponsorship, something the Hancock team is seeking.
“We have got the professional package there, we just need the engine – we basically just need more horsepower and that comes down to dollars,” Hancock said.
They will have a chance to better the record they set on the weekend when the team travels to Winternationals in June, when the cold winter air of the WIllowbank Raceway is perfect for going fast.