For Queenslander Ace Edwards, Drag Racing is less of a hobby and more of a way of life. A second-generation racer, Edwards’ first exposure to the sport was at a very formative age, helping his father pursue Drag Racing stardom. The one big difference? Back then the family raced on four wheels.
“Dad has been racing his whole life, and I was in Junior Dragster from around 14-years,” begins Edwards. “Dad made the switch to bikes and I did too, and I started in Modified Bike when I was around 17,” continues Edwards, now 24-years-old.
Edwards has his fair share of Drag Racing silverware on the mantelpiece at home, including winning the Gold Christmas Tree at the Winternationals in 2015. As the old saying goes, ‘winners are grinners’ and hot off his success in 2015, Edwards got to planning for a big and better 2016 season for he and his Hayabusa.
“I thought if we could travel around and stick a few wins together we’d be half a chance at the championship,” he says humbly. In 2016, his search for 400 Thunder glory took him to Sydney twice and to his local Willowbank quarter mile twice. Such was his commitment to the championship in fact, that Edwards managed to align one of his Sydney rounds with his honeymoon!
“We hopped off a cruise liner in Sydney in November from our honeymoon which happened to line up with a round down there, so we just stayed on for a few days and competed that weekend,” he recalls with a chuckle. Sydney served him up plenty of tough competition though, with one round succumbing to the weather, and fellow Queenslander Mod Bike competitor Michael Beaton handing Edwards his toughest race of the season.
“It was one of my best passes – we were good on the tree and it felt like a solid pass, but Mick just came around me and ended that weekend early,” says Edwards. However, bouncing back from a loss and turning up at each event ready to race again is what the humble Queenslander puts his Championship success down to. “We just went around and did our thing,” he says, simply.
By the time the Winternationals came around, Edwards knew he had a shot at the Championship. “I was doing a fair bit of reading about the other racers on the ‘net’, researching and trying to develop a strategy to keeping turning the ‘Win’ light on. I was conscious of the championship, but mindful that I had to stay focussed the weekend of racing ahead, too,” he explains.
Edwards would bow out in the second round of competition at the 2016 Winternationals, red-lighting by the slimmest of margins in a match-up against Wally Hosta.
The Championship came down to Edwards and one other rider, who would have needed Winternationals victory to net enough points to secure the championship. “I knew I had it won but I wasn’t celebrating until I got my hands on the trophy!” exclaims Edwards, thinking back to the nail-biting season finale.
“Winning the Championship is awesome. I haven’t been racing too long, but to be able to hold that crown is an achievement and something I’ll always look back on fondly,” he says in a statement dripping with the humility that makes Edwards one of the gentlemen of the Modified Bike category.
“I’ve got a little one on the way which will slow us down a little. If everything aligns though I’d love to give the Championship another crack next year,” he says in closing.
Photo By: Dragphotos.com.au