Alberta’s RBR Racing team is attempting something that no other Canadian drag racing team has ever attempted….
Earlier this summer during the NHRA Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Denver, 31-year old Kristen Ashby (from Medicine Hat AB) notched herself a little bit of Canadian drag racing history when she made her first ever qualifying attempts in NHRA competition riding a Pro Stock Motorcycle. That was in fact the very first time since the class’s inception that a Canadian racer has entered class competition.
Since then she has entered two more NHRA national event races – including Brainerd MN., and most recently the marquee NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis.
Kristen was riding a Suzuki Hayabusa machine which is owned by Calgary’s Rob Blair. Blair, who is for sure a self-proclaimed gear head and drag racing enthusiast (who himself owns both Super Stock and Top Sportsman cars). Rob is behind this very major development to have Canada represented within the elite NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series motorcycle category.
“I believe we are the very first,” said Rob Blair. “I’m a car guy but my background also includes being a motorcycle enthusiast. This is in fact the last bike that David Schultz owned. After we acquired it I met Kristen and her husband Shane who race motorcycles at the Medicine Hat Drag Strip. We connected and I made her aware of what we had and made her the offer about going Pro Stock Motorcycle racing. As they say – the rest is now history.”
Kristen in fact began driving this motorcycle about three years ago with a milder motor program – and the team has been taking gradual steps forward since then – all leading up to this point.
“The last couples seasons Kristen has been cutting her teeth on the bike, getting used to riding it and gaining experience,” Rob continued. “We upgraded the bike to a newer Vance & Hines (1755 CC) motor program so that she could then make her licensing runs for Pro Stock Motorcycle class racing at Mission Raceway. She really is a great little driver and her husband is an excellent crew chief.”
For Kristen Ashby, this opportunity to race within NHRA’s top echelon motorcycle class is something she is genuinely excited about. Prior she had been involved in drag racing motorcycles for about six seasons riding both a Honda and then another Suzuki.
“It’s really a fantastic opportunity and Rob is providing the best support I could ever imagine,” she said. “According to NHRA I am the 18th female racer ever to attempt to qualify in the category. I’m a very proud Canadian and to be the first Canadian to attempt the class too is also very exciting.”
“Our first races in Pro Stock Motorcycle have been using a smaller but still competitive CC motor and we are using that to make strides forward,” Kristen added. “Our short team objectives include running our first “six” (she has a 7.16 secs best to her credit) and to get qualified. Long term – we want to race this class more extensively and be in the top 16 on a regular basis.”
“We have some great ideas coming up – including a bigger motor and fuel injecting the bike,” Rob confirmed. “2016 is really a gain some experience year for us and we will move forward from there.”
In addition to extensive family support, the RBR Racing Pro Stock Motorcycle group receives valued associate sponsorship from DCB (Dave’s Custom Boats LLC), Arctic Edge Motorsports and Vossler Mechanical Inc.
Rob Blair is a very successful land development businessman from Calgary who’s primary passion now is within drag racing. Kristen and her husband Shane both work within the Alberta oil patch industry based from just south of Fort McMurray.
Post by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bruce Biegler, Brennan Shortall and Randy Anderson
EDITORS NOTE: DragRaceCanada will post a separate feature on Rob Blair’s uber cool Super Stock Ford Mustang project (below) in the near future.