One of the most inspirational drag racers in the world will be competing at the 400 THUNDER Nitro Up North event on July 21 and 22 at Hidden Valley Drag Strip in Darwin – and he’s coming with a familiar member of his family in tow.
Benny Stevens has clocked speeds well over 320kmh and regularly runs into the six second zone on the drag strip and he does it all with an amputated right leg.
Stevens lost his leg from the knee down following an accident while training for a quad bike stunt show, but the resilient Western Australian didn’t let that prevent him from getting on to a nitro-fuelled motorcycle. Life has thrown many challenges at the 30 year old including a battle against testicular cancer, but he has always looked forward to his next goal.
“I needed to get on with my life,” Stevens said of the amputation. “Spending more time on my back in the hope that this (healing of the leg) might work was not an option for me. I just told the doc to remove the foot.”
Such a drastic option might seem like a major hurdle for most people, but for Stevens the operation was a chance to carry on with his life and see what he could achieve.
This will be Stevens’ second year in Darwin for Nitro Up North but this event will be very different, with his uncle Kim to join him in the Top Bike category. Kim is an experienced rider who left the sport several years ago, but is coming out of retirement to join in the fun with his nephew and make his debut in the 400 THUNDER Series
“I would love to run my personal best time with my uncle in the opposite lane,” Benny said. “It’s going to be a honour to potentially line up against him – but I hope he brings a box of tissues to the track for when I beat him!
“Last year we raced at Nitro Up North and we had a ball. Even though the bike didn’t play the game, steering to the right hard on every lap, we still had a great time at the event and in Darwin itself.”
Since that last time out, Benny has achieved much, including racing in the USA at Tennessee’s Bristol Dragway.
“Unfortunately it just wasn’t our weekend,” he said. “The bike had a lot of power, but we couldn’t put that down on the track, but it was a great event to be a part of.”
Benny will be taking a mature approach to racing, planning to experiment in qualifying to find a tune up that suits the Darwin humidity, before going all out for race day.
“We will produce a tune up and take it from there. I’ll be happy to get some quick times on the board for my team.
“If you’re a local and planning to head out for this event, this is one of the best drag racing events we have raced at – so make sure you get down to the pits and say hello.”
The Stevens family will be just two of a full field of Top Bikes that also features an extensive list of former national champions including Chris Matheson, Mark Drew, Chris Porter and Ian Ashelford, plus Western Australian threats Wayne McGuinness and Greg Durack.
They will provide plenty of nitro entertainment alongside Top Fuel dragsters and Pro Slammers in the opening round of the 400 THUNDER Professional Drag Racing Series.
NITRO UP NORTH
When: July 21-22, 2017
Where: Hidden Valley Drag Strip, Darwin
What: The Northern Territory’s biggest drag racing event featuring Top Fuel Dragsters and the opening round of the 400 THUNDER Professional Drag Racing Series.