Veteran Nitro Harley racer Takeshi Shigematsu of Ehime, Japan, assembled a career-best outing at the AHDRA Rendez-Vous Nationals from St. Louis, MO, April 19-20. Here Shigematsu won the Pro Fuel category and finished runner-up in Top Fuel, while resetting a pair of AHDRA records in the process. He was just one victory away from joining fellow racer Jay Turner in the exclusive “Nitro Double” club.
Shigematsu’s weekend got off to an inauspicious start in the first round of Top Fuel qualifying when the bike displayed erratic behavior.
“We struggled in opening qualifying with low battery voltage that made our MSD ignition timing go crazy, ” Shigematsu said. “We could barely make it in time for round No. 2. Then to our surprise we laid down a 6.397 at 223.65 mph. We further improved our performance in round No. 3 with a 6.379 at 219.47.”
Shigematsu’s final qualifying pass led the field heading into eliminations.
“During the first round it spun the tire at the bottom half but it ran very good on the top half. I never had a speed like that,” Shigematsu said of his record speed, 6.40 245 mph win over Brook McCabe. “I felt like I was getting into a warp zone. I can’t forget that feeling. I thought the front tire might have cut the beam at the finish line but my front tire dropped hard when I chopped off the throttle then it slid to the right. I was petrified by that speed for a while. It was really hard to stop.”
Shigematsu defeated Phil Schmidt in round No. 2 with a 6.28 at 230 mph. Shigematsu said the pass felt tame after his monster speed of 245 in Round No. 1.
“When I ran 230.17 mph at 2nd round, I thought I ran like 210. I felt 230 was slow,” Shigematsu said. “Anyway I’m very happy to run the speed record and finish runner-up.”
The 230 mph pass held up for the record after Shigematsu was unable to back-up the 245 mph speed within one-percent. Shigematsu defeated Mike Romine in the semis but was ousted by defending champ Doug Vancil in the final after smoking the tire hard off the line.
In the final of Pro Fuel Shigematsu defeated Douglas Horne with a 6.55 at 211 mph. Shigematsu lowered the Pro Fuel record to an impressive 6.52
“To win Pro Fuel and set the ET record added to a great weekend. I am very thankful to my crew and my sponsors. I couldn’t do this without their support.”
Shigemastu thanked T.P.P. VP Clutch, HD Blue Panther, Super Zoil, AIM Corp. Energy One Clutches, LRB racing brakes, SHOEI, EK Chain, Forza race suits, Sundance, ASK Carbon Fiber, Chili Pin Striping, Woodeye Painting
And also his crew members – Crew Chief DJ, Frankie B, Carl