This story could be titled “A Retirement Aged Man, His Wife, and an Intern Go Professional Harley-Davidson Drag Racing.” So just how did Sam White, his wife April, and her son Matt pull off two Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel Nitro Harley championships in one year?
When veteran racer White swept the AMRA/AHDRA Jim McClure All-Harley World Finals at Rockingham Dragway—qualifying number one, winning the race, and the championship in both series—it was the result of a determined effort by White and Hawaya Racing. Sam explained that the whole process of this double championship season was really a three year project.
“That chassis you’ve seen me ride (the Terminator Too), that’s mine. It’s not anybody else’s,” said White. “That motorcycle was built for me. Johnny Vickers (of Hawaya Racing) and I wanted to see if we could make a dominant Pro Fuel bike with new technology, and we did. I had number one qualifier every single race in both sanctions except one. We won six races and were second four times.”
A dominant performance for sure, but one that White and Vickers hope will encourage the rapidly growing class to adopt their tools and methods. “We’re not trying to discourage the other racers, but show them what can be,” continued White. “The class needs to move closer towards Top Fuel. It needs to get quicker, it can’t just be a stagnant group that runs the same numbers every time they come to the track. That’s not drag racing.
“So that’s what all these three years have been about. I’ll race more, but I’m not going to chase two championships. Johnny told me ‘If I build this machine for you, you promise me you will take your boot off their neck.’ He realized that with my budget, I can do everything now.” White is retired and has sold his very successful business.
“Without Johnny Vickers, I could never have done this. But you know, just bear in mind that the motorcycle was designed (by Vickers and Hawaya) to do this.”
Johnny Vickers talks about Hawaya Racing‘s parts and services in this video:
And designed to win without having to be a nitro expert with a crew of veteran wrenches. “I said, ‘And if we’re going to do this (embark on two Pro Fuel championships), I have to show them that Sam White, his wife, and his son—that’s just learning—can do this,'” continued White.
“So that’s what we did to prove (the success of this Hawaya Pro Fuel motorcycle) even further. You got me, who’s a no-tunin’ dumbass. Really, I’m not very good at it. I’m an average mechanic at best. And Matt, in the middle of trying to learn. He’s just an intern at the race shop. And my wife. We’re gonna do this. We’re gonna do the work on the bike and we’re gonna get this thing down the track. Because we wanted to prove that it really is dependable, and you don’t have to know a lot about it to make it go. And we did. That’s what we did.
“Johnny said ‘You can’t stumble a single race, or you won’t pull this off.’ And he looked at me and said, ‘Sam, I tried my whole life and I never did it. Few people can run on a high level and pull that off. If you somehow are fortunate enough to be in the lead, I’ll try to help you finish it up at Rockingham and make sure that your hard work pays off.’”
And they did. “This thing is an unbelievable machine, where I can alter the chassis, the wheelie bar, engine locations, ignition and just everything.”
And it works. The carbureted Pro Fuel class can still be run with old school technology, but the new school is winning races and championships. Both White and Rockingham runner-up Rocky Jackson were running state-of-the-art ECUs available from Hawaya Racing.
story, photos and video by Tim Hailey