Drag Bikes: Lombardi Hungry for First Rookie Win
26 August 1998ATCO, New Jersey - Pro Modified Bike rookie Dave Lombardi has one goal this season; to win his first AMA/Prostar National Event.
Making the jump into the professional leagues, 39 year old Lombardi competed last season in the Top Gas category, which runs on an 8.20-second performance index. He finished fourteenth out of over bikes, most would feel that as good enough but Lombardi felt it as a disappointing year.
Earlier this year, he sold his bike and signed up for the AMA/Prostar Pro Tour in one of the toughest classes; Pro Modified.
Knowing the tough journey to come, he enlisted class champion Billy Vose for help in the engine and tuning departments, and purchased a chassis from the master of tubular engineering; Jim Koenig.
At his first event in Atlanta, most people were unaware of Lombardi's class change and were shocked to see his name on the pro roster. Because of his riding skill, and the background that Billy Vose brought to the team, everybody knew that he would be the one to watch.
In Atlanta, he qualified fourteenth which was not bad considering it was his first time, and many others who did not make the cut.
As the season progressed, so did Lombardi. He went on to Richmond, Virginia, where he qualified #11. His next stop was Chicago where he qualified #2.
His next event in Columbus, Ohio, marked an event he will soon not forget. During his second qualifying attempt, his transmission suffered what was described as "severe failure" and Lombardi had to sit out his final qualifying attempt while they thrashed to repair the damage.
Luckily, Lombardi's first qualifying run was good enough to hold onto the #14 qualifying spot and he got to race on Sunday were he fell in the Semi-Final round to Tony Manning.
Two weeks ago in Indianapolis, Lombardi qualified #2. He also ran his first six second elapsed time, and continued that streak for seven consecutive sixes. While on that streak, he ran the second quickest pass ever in the history of the Pro Modified category; 6.88 seconds.
Although odds looked at Lombardi to win, his hopes, and his rear tire, both went up in smoke as he misjudged the race track conditions in the final round.
Lombardi travels to the events with his wife of three years Roxanne, or "Rocky" as she is affectionately known by all. She enjoys racing as much as Dave and takes sole responsibility for the critical between round maintenance that is required. She tunes the clutch, she changes spark plugs, and when the need be she does most of the work during engine swaps.
Dave says that it would not be as enjoyable, and may not even be possible, if she were not as involved as she is.
Going into next weeks race in Atco, New Jersey, Lombardi ranks number three in championship points. He is also amongst the prime candidates for AMA/Prostar Rookie Of The Year.