Redneck Express crewman Dick Boxell gives us this behind the scenes look at what Chris and Sharon Hand are up to down Alabama way:
A little background, Chris and Sharon have been running Top Fuel motorcycles since 1979 and have remained true to the spirt of the class—all hand built, thousands of hours in the shop at home, and dogged determination to keep the Nitro fires burning.
For several years it was only Chris and Larry McBride keeping Top Fuel alive after the untimely death of the legend Elmer Trett and the retirements of Tony Lang, Ron Webb and Tommy Smith. There have been a couple of bikes come and go, but these two kept it alive. Who knows if the recent resurgence here in the US would have happened if these bikes would have been parked?
I believe at most, the Redneck Express has had 3 complete engines at the ready. A lot of the times 2 and one bottom end that is usually rebuilt around 1 or 2am at the track, (pick a night). We have seen 5am also.
With the hard to get KZ Nitro based parts, Chris has performed magic making parts reusable. I think he has a couple of blocks that are older than some of the racers at the track, but they still work and one of them was on the bike for the 1.005 60ft pass. He also has had a billet cylinder block in use.
They have always had probably the smallest crew at the track, starting with just Chris, Sharon and Dennis Hickman (who gave Chris the call to ride his first TF bike and is still involved), Then Steve Rominiski and Andy Wall, both of which are steeped in the Nitro Motorcycle fields. Jim Fox also who has given valuable clutch information and attends when possible still. The current crew is Chris, Sharon, Steve Legendre, Dick Boxell, and whoever we can draft for push back duties at the races.
New For 2019
I will start the new part with mid-2016 when Chris pioneered the use of the infamous AllValve on a Top Fuel Motorcycle that helped to drive the Redneck Express to a win at Rockingham that year. The resulting effects were less killed engines and the ability to tune the bike rather than repairing constantly between rounds.
We swapped out the supercharger after Galot 2017 which netted the Redneck Express a new personal best at Rockingham—5.885 on the losing end, (.0014MOV) of the historic first side-by-side 5 second run in Man Cup against Larry McBride’s 5.957
Chris received and installed the new 2.1l supercharger on the motorcycle and as a result went almost back to square one with the fuel setup. We were in basically test mode most of 2018 with it all coming together at the fall Valdosta race.
For that race, Chris wholesale changed the fuel system and changed some clutch parameters, resulting in a 1.005 60 ft. time coupled with a 3.83 1/8 mile ET, then the fuel pump belt decided to shred all the teeth on it.
Chris has been through the process of freshening up the entire bike and is in the process of returning it to race ready for 2019. He received a new set of cases and is in the process of building possible engine #4
He is working on further refinements to the fuel system, and is looking for decreasing the number that resides on the bike this year.
Some of the stuff he is working on, I am not at liberty to discuss.
We would like to recognize and thank our sponsors:
PECO Foods, the first on any menu, Denny Hickman and Family
Halbrooks Huneycutt Engineering
Rob Bush Motorsports
ARP, (Automotive Racing Products)
Belt Drives Limited
Sam Wills (Racing Innovations)
PR Factory Store
BME Connecting Rods