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A Lasting First Impression

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 3

The Pro Fuel bike is hard to ride because you can't take it easy - it's either full throttle or no throttle; there is no in-between. Because I'd been over 210 in Pro Fuel, this [Pro Stock] bike didn't feel that fast, but it still takes a lot of concentration to hit all the shift points on time and keep your body tucked in.

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									      A Lasting First Impression
      by Kevin McKenna
With two final rounds in four races, Doug Horne (above left) has emerged as a leading contender for the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award. After spending
three seasons competing in the All Harley Drag Racing Association Series, Horne jumped to NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle class this year with his S&S-powered Buell.

        oug Horne’s ascent to the top of the Pro                candidates for the Automobile Club of Southern              best pass possible every time I got on the bike. I

D       Stock Motorcycle class has been so sudden
        and so unexpected that it’s easy to forget
that he is just 21 years old and that his NHRA
                                                                California Road to the Future Award, but at this
                                                                point, Horne may well be the favorite for the
                                                                prestigious award, which recognizes NHRA’s top
                                                                                                                            never really thought about doing interviews or being
                                                                                                                            on television or anything like that. It’s also a major
                                                                                                                            surprise to be doing so well so soon. I just don’t
career currently consists of only four events. Horne            Professional rookie. He certainly didn’t hurt his           think any of us expected this.”
has reached the final round in two of those four                cause by scoring back-to-back runner-ups in Houston            Horne’s father, Steve, also admits to being a bit
starts and is currently just 50 points out of the lead          and Atlanta and posting a respectable semifinal             overwhelmed by the sudden interest in his son and
in the standings, so while it may be a bit premature            effort in Madison. His Buell has also been solidly in       the team’s early success.
to anoint him as the second coming of John Myers                the six-second zone at the last three events, and in           “We were excited the first time we went on
or Dave Schultz, he is quickly earning a reputation             12 rounds of competition, he has yet to deliver             NHRA.com and saw Doug’s name on the entry list
as someone fellow riders don’t want to see on their             anything that doesn’t resemble a competitive                for Gainesville,” said Steve. “Now, we turn on
side of the ladder.                                             reaction time.                                              ESPN2 and hear Mike Dunn and Paul Page talking
   Two months ago, Horne’s name was never                           Horne’s early season success has bolstered the          about him. It’s kind of amazing how much has
mentioned in the same sentence as Spencer Massey,               ranks of his fan club, which includes ESPN                  happened in the last two months.”
Shawn Langdon, and Matt Hagan, the prime                        commentator Mike Dunn, who in his Final Take
                                                                                         column in National
                                                                                         DRAGSTER following the
                                                                                         Houston race wrote that if
                                                                                                                                         born on                  a full five
                                                                                                                            Horne wasafter SteveDec. 20, 1987, grow up Stock
                                                                                                                               months              Johnson made his Pro
                                                                                                                            Motorcycle debut. He didn’t initially
                                                                                         he had to vote now for the         wanting to be a motorcycle racer, but when he got
                                                                                         winner of the Road to the          an opportunity to ride in the All Harley Drag Racing
                                                                                         Future award, Horne would          Association’s V-Rod Destroyer class, it sounded like
                                                                                         be his pick. Despite all of        fun. With former Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Gary
                                                                                         the attention he has               Tonglet and his sons, GT and LE, helping out, Horne
                                                                                         received, Horne remains            quickly got the hang of riding the low-nine-second
                                                                                         about as quiet and                 Harley-Davidson. He won his first event in 2006 and
                                                                                         unassuming as a 21-year-old        finished seventh in a competitive class that also
                                                                                         rising star can be.                included current Pro Stock Motorcycle riders Junior
                                                                                            “This is my first year          Pippin, Valerie Thompson, David Hope, and James
                                                                                         here, and I’m just treating it     Surber. A year later, Horne posted a second-place
                                                                                         as a learning experience,”         finish behind LE.
                                                                                         Horne said. “I guess my               With a distant eye cast toward NHRA’s Pro Stock
                                                                                         goal coming into this deal         Motorcycle class, Steve believed his son needed
                                                                                         was just to ask a lot of           additional experience on a faster bike, so they
After a first-round loss in Gainesville, Horne reached the final round at the next event questions, get some seat           jumped into the Pro Fuel class, where nitro-burning
at Houston Raceway Park before losing to Craig Treble.                                   time, and try to make the          V-Twins routinely run in the mid-sixes at more than
22 ✦ National DRAGSTER
210 mph. Riding a bike                                             of a pair of fresh
built by veteran Harley                                            engines, he improved
racer Mike Romine,                                                 dramatically at the
Doug Horne did double                                              next event in Houston,
duty in 2007, finishing                                            riding the Horne
second in the V-Rod                                                Concrete/Chesapeake
Destroyer and Pro Fuel                                             Harley-Davidson-
classes.                                                           backed entry to a 6.93
                                                                                                                                                                  Dave & Dianne Himes – Owners
    Riding both the                                                in qualifying.
nitro-burning Harley, a                                               “Going into
ride which Horne only                                              Houston, I we knew         jegs SUPER QUICK ELIMINATOR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        QUICK 16 - 8 Fastest
half-jokingly described                                            we had more power,       Winner .......................................................................................... $2,000                   Dragsters & 8 Fastest
                                                                                            Runner-up ......................................................................................... $500                        Door Cars
as “just a matter of                                               so I thought we’d do     Semifinalist ...................................................................................... $200
hanging on for dear                        
								
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