While maybe a degree or two off the mainstream drag racing fan radar — some Canadian drag strip motorcycle history was made this past summer….

There are some very fast motorcycle drag racers from Canada – but it was Oakville Ontario’s Jesse VanBetlehem who became the first to an important milestone during 2021.

Racing his VanPal Racing Suzuki GSXR 1000 – VanBetlehem eclipsed for the first time on a “Street Bike” the 200 mph mark — doing that at fabled Cayuga Dragway (TMP).

Jesse VanBetlehem

“While it is technically a Street legal Bike – this Suzuki was purposely built for the drag strip – we don’t run it on the street,” Jesse revealed.  “We started out with it two years ago – evolved it from a Street Bike – 2021 was our first year out with it in this form.”

Using a turbocharged engine, Jesse’s VanPal Racing machine is rated right around the 500 HP mark.

“It’s now pretty much “full on” it has a big turbo and all out everything,” he continued.  The CCs are still 1000 (stock bore and stroke) but we run aftermarket rods, pistons and heads.  Our turbocharger is a Garrett GT3076.”

Jesse’s fastest run of the year was a pretty darn amazing 204.77 mph terminal speed – coming last June.  

The VanPal Racing Suzuki broke through as Canada’s first 200 mph Street Bike – last summer.

“We did get over the 200 mph mark multiple times,” he affirmed. “Once we got the bike streaking up and running over 190 mph – the 200 mph became a target and objective for us – so it was special and rewarding to actually become the first (for Canada).  But you know in drag racing it’s the ET that you’re really seeking – so now our focus is back to doing that.”

At season’s end Jesse’s quickest run was 7.52 secs 1/4 mile and a 4.95 secs 1/8th mile.  And while all the incremental math on the drag strip was and is impressive – he was also accomplished as a racer too — winning the KOTS (King of The Street) points championship title for CHU (Canada Heads Up) circuit racing for this year.

Jesse is one half of VanPal Racing which also includes teammate Regan Pallett – who also drives Suzuki’s (2 of them).  VanPal Racing are supported by sponsor LakeShore Pools and Hot Tubs.

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler