NHRA: Showers' Pro Stock Motorcycle success story not about victories
29 August 2000
Posted By Terry
CLERMONT, Ind. - Many NHRA competitors gauge success by
totaling the number
of victories they earn during their racing careers.
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
For others, success comes in simpler packages.
Like determined Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Reggie Showers, who hasn't logged a victory on the track in official competition, yet proves he's a winner in life with each passing day.
For Showers, 36, success is measured in his ability to overcome adversity. He's been doing it since he was a curious teen-ager growing up around Philadelphia. That's when he lost both of his legs following an accident at a local railroad yard near his home at the age of 14.. He didn't see the dangling wire that carried 11,000 volts of electricity as he explored the top of one of the nearby railroad cars. The next thing he knew, he was recovering from being struck by the hot wire. Most of his body was scarred from the incident, and he had no choice but to have both legs amputated below the knee.
An avid motorcyclist for as along as he can remember, Showers was determined to continue his passion for riding despite the setback. In fact, he's taken that passion to the next level with the help of one of his sponsors, Prosthetic Design, Inc. (PDI). With specially designed prosthetic legs that form to the motorcycle, Showers continues to pursue his dream of someday winning an NHRA event.
Showers could accomplish his dream, and visit the winner's circle for the very first time at the 46th annual U.S. Nationals, the NHRA's most prestigious event. It is the 17th of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.
"We are making some improvements on my race legs," said Showers. "It is so important to feel comfortable on the bike and with the improvements and technology we gain from racing, it helps the everyday amputee."
Showers, who has set career-best performance numbers this season for elapsed time (7.347 seconds) and speed (181.98 mph) on his PDI/Damp Rid Suzuki, says he feels extremely relaxed on the bike. The current national records for the category are 7.154 seconds, at over 191.48 mph, both held by three-time defending champion Matt Hines, rider of the Eagle One Suzuki.
"A Pro Stock Motorcycle has a pretty violent launch," Showers said. "Without the help of Prosthetic Design and its engineers, I wouldn't be where I am today. They have taken cutting-edge technology learned from our drag racing relationship and now supply the industry with solutions that benefit both the clinical facilities and the amputee."
Acting as his own crew chief in his first full year in the NHRA, Showers has qualified for eight events this season. He's currently 14th in the NHRA Winston point standings. Last season he finished 35th in the points standings after running a limited schedule.
Throughout the season Showers has improved his qualifying position. After qualifying 16th at the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals, Showers has continued to show improvement, qualifying as high as ninth at the recent Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals outside of Denver.
"When a racer improves his qualifying position from the last race and doesn't break any parts the whole weekend it's a successful event," Showers said. "With the gains we've made in the last two events, I'm really looking forward to Indy. I am still learning how to make our combination perform at its optimal level. My dedication and love for the sport is stronger than ever."
Text provided by Anthony Vestal