K&N FILTERS PRO STOCK BIKE KLASH
Showers claims K&N Pro Bike Klash crown
By Rob Geiger, NHRA.com
Red-hot Reggie Showers took a surprising and lucrative $15,000 victory in the 13th annual K&N Filters Pro Bike Klash when fellow first-time finalist Geno Scali jumped the gun in the money round with a .013-second red-light start. While his crew celebrated on the starting line, the double-amputee rode away for his first NHRA-level win, tripping the timers in 7.282 seconds at 182.58 mph.
"This is the leg that kicked the ass today," Showers joked, as he waved one of his prosthetic racing legs over his head in the winner's circle. "Seriously, as a disabled person, I've had to fight for everything I've had in my life. Winning races in the NHRA is no different. It's a struggle every round.
"I sure wasn't expecting Geno to red-light. I thought we'd be side-by-side all the way down the track. It was getting pretty dark and you sure can't miss the Tree with those LED bulbs. You want to react but you still have to be disciplined. I saw that red-light come on and I couldn't believe it. I was screaming all the way down the track."
It's been a breakout month for Showers, who rode his George Bryce-tuned Prosthetic Design Inc. Suzuki Hayabusa to his first career No. 1 qualifier two weeks ago in Brainerd, Minn. His win in the Klash proved he belonged among the sport's elite as he beat the current POWERade points leader despite that Scali was the prohibitive favorite in the Klash final, having run a 7.21 in the semi's.
The all-star event, which pits the top eight qualifiers from the last 12 months against one another for big cash prizes, has crowned six different winners since its inception in 1991. Riders can accumulate between 85 and 175 points per national event depending on qualifying position.
Showers began the day with a holeshot victory over Matco Tools rider Craig Treble, whose regrettable .099 reaction time allowed Showers to take the win despite a slower 7.229-second E.T.
In the semifinals, Showers caught and passed low qualifier Shawn Gann of the Mac Tools camp with a 7.263 at 182.67 mph to Gann's 7.284 at 182.26 mph. The final margin of victory against Gann was two-thousandths of a second, or about six inches.
"Taking out Craig Treble, Shawn Gann, and Geno Scali is about as tough as it gets," Showers said. "They're the heavy hitters, but I wouldn't want it any other way. To be the best you have to beat the best and we were able to do that today. This is for my crew chief, George Bryce, and my great sponsors, who have stood behind me all the way."
Scali's dominance of the Pro Stock Bike class continued to a certain degree Saturday. The Trim-Tex rider opened with an easy 7.205 to 7.282-second romp over Antron Brown, then cruised away from Brown's U.S. Army teammate, Angelle Savoie, after she suffered a .022-second foul start.
Aside from the $15,000 top prize earned by Showers, K&N presented $5,000 to Scali for his runner-up effort. Additionally, Gann and Savoie pocketed $3,000 each for their semifinal finishes, while Mike Berry, Andrew Hines, Treble, and Brown received $2,500 apiece just for making the field. K&N also awards the No. 1 qualifier at each NHRA national event a $1,000 bonus, bringing the entire K&N Pro Bike Klash series purse to $50,000.
If Showers manages to win this weekend's 49th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, he will pocket an extra $10,000 "double-up" bonus from NHRA.