This weekend, the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will kick off at theE3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals! Reigning Mello Yello champion Andrew Hines and Harley-Davidson teammates Eddie Kraweic and Angelle Sampey will compete at their first event of the season.
This week, we take a look through the Archives at of one of the most influential individuals in Top Fuel Motorcycle and Pro Stock Motorcycle: Terry Vance.
Vance began racing his motorcycle at Lions Drag Strip in Southern California in the early 1970s when he was just old enough to drive. It was at Lions that Vance would meet Byron Hines, who was building Vance’s bike at the time. With Vance’s riding talents and Hines’ engine-building and tuning ability, the two formed the most famed pairing in motorcycle drag racing.
Vance, left, and Hines worked for Top Fuel Bike racer Russ Collins before forming their own company, Vance & Hines, in 1980. The company is best known for building custom exhaust systems and other motorcycle parts and accessories. Vance & Hines quickly grew into one of the world’s largest aftermarket motorcycle companies.
In 1984, Vance recorded the first six-second pass in Top Fuel Motorcycle, a 6.98 at Orange County Int’l Raceway in Southern California. He later ran the first seven-second pass in Pro Stock Motorcycle, a 7.990, at the 1987 Dallas event.
Vance ended his riding days by winning four national events in 1988, including the World Finals, the last race of his career.
Vance earned 27 NHRA national event victories in Top Fuel Motorcycle and Pro Stock Motorcycle, and his 101-21 record in Pro Stock Motorcycle eliminations ranks among the sport’s all-time best, regardless of class. He has also remained a highly visible figure in motorsports after his retirement from riding. In addition to the Vance & Hines business, he operated a successful AMA Superbike team with Yamaha and later the Ducati brand. Vance was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999 and was named to NHRA’s Top 50 Drivers list in 2001.
Today, Vance helps to guide the motorcycle careers of Hines’ sons, Andrew and Matt. Andrew secured his fifth NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship in 2015, and Matt, a three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion, took over as crew chief of the Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson team in 2003.