The Last Pass - Ken Kent Retires from Racing
It takes a wise person to recognize the right time to retire, and an even stronger one to follow through with the decision. Ken Kent of Harley-Davidson® of Edmonton is such a person. After an illustrious competitive career spanning more than 30 years, Ken Kent and his Prairie Fire Racing Team have officially retired from the circuit.
I didn't meet Ken until 1980 and I remember with great fondness those original motorcycle drag races in Prince George that ultimately spawned the birth of the CMDRA. In those early days, many (most) racers rode their race bike from their hometown to Prince George, BC, removed the mirrors and turn signals, taped up the headlights and taillights, bolted on wheelie bars, and inched their way forward to often temperamental staging lights. Once launched, they pinned throttles and careened down tracks that by today's standards would be deemed dangerous. In those days, elapsed times of 12-14 seconds in the quarter mile were considered FAST!
Joining Prince George were venues in Mission, Ashcroft, and Edmonton that formed the basis for a Western series that exists to this day. The veterans got faster and faster, and were soon flirting with Top Fuel technology that introduced a whole new level of excitement to the game. Ken was one of Canada's first Top Fuel riders.
The Prairie Fire Racing team (PFR) made their debut in 1993. (of course, there's a story behind that name!) With a monstrous (at that time) 132 cubic inch motor, Ken Kent roared onto the strip. With 20 years under his belt in gas racing, Nitro was new and exciting for Ken and his team of techs, Ray, Glen, Duane, and the beloved, late Dave White. Soon Ken and his team were traveling south of the border to compete in AHDRA events as well as the CMDRA events back home.
In 1998, riding that 132 cu. in. drag bike, the well-seasoned Ken Kent and his team of professional technicians made a significant and notable impact on the racing world when Ken became the first person in Canada to break the 200 mph mark in the quarter mile. I was there and can tell you that it counts as one of my top 10 motorcycling memories over nearly 40 years. Watching Ken hit a top speed of 202.33 mph in the 1/4 mile brought every single spectator in Mission, BC to their feet with shrieks of disbelief and exhilaration!
1998 was also the last year of the original track in Las Vegas before the new motorsport complex was unveiled the following year. Riding that same 132 cu. in. drag bike on the old slow track, Ken accomplished what many experts said was impossible; he made not one, but three, consecutive 200+ mph passes in Las Vegas for a thrilling Hat Trick that remains one of his fondest memories. Notably, on the final pass, he was running against the legendary, late Jim McClure and was only beaten by 1/100th of a second!
Those American race events are something else. The presentation, professionalism, and sheer numbers of racers and spectators make for sensory overload. Traveling to both Phoenix and Las Vegas to cheer on Ken and our other Canadian Top Fuel racers was sheer heaven.
Las Vegas continued to be good to Ken. In 2006, he was invited back to race at an exclusive and prestigious NHRA event that counts as one of his all time favourite experiences. He quipped that listening to 50,000 spectators in the stands cheering him on â€œcurled his toes.
Five years later, back in Las Vegas, it was fitting that during what ended up being Ken's final weekend of racing in November 2011, he made his very best pass ever - 6.48 seconds and 219+ mph.
Deeley Harley-Davidson® Canada
Deeley Harley-Davidson® Canada
Prairie Fire Racing
The Prairie Fire Racing team made their debut in 1997. With a 132 cubic inch motor, Ken Kent, pilot, roared on to the strip. With 20 years under his belt in gas racing, Nitro was new and exciting for Ken and his team of techs. PFR races in Canada with the C.M.D.R.A. and in the United States with the A.H.D.R.A.
In 2000 PFR upgraded with a new 175 cubic inch V-Twin engine with 800 horsepower! This new and improved machine features a 16 gallon fuel pump running Nitro Methane, 2 complete fail proof ignition systems, 2 stage clutch with cannon, 14' tire as well as both a fuel timer and a clutch timer. With a team of professional technicians, and a veteran pilot, PFR has achieved a significant and notable impact in the racing world, doing the 1/4 mile in just 6.8 seconds, and reaching a top speed of 207 mph in 2002. In 2004, the team achieved an even faster top speed of 214.62 mph in 6.84 seconds! We are proud to announce that in 2005 Ken Kent and PFR took second place in points in the C.M.D.R.A.
We would like to give special mention to our previous crew chief and good friend Dave White who helped Prairie Fire Racing become what it is today. Diagnosed with Cancer, he had to leave the team and pursue his health. On March 21, 2004 Dave left us to build his own race track in the sky.
......we will miss you always Dave.........
Ken Kent: Owner/Pilot
Ray Rozon: Crew Chief
Glen Elliot: Crew
Duane Lewis: Machinist
Dave White: Special Mention
Best E.T. = 6.49 sec.
Best MPH = 219.62