Interview: Kristine Peach – Vintage Class Bonneville Racer

| July 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

I’d met Kristine Peach last year during Bonneville Speed Week as she waited for the Four Aces Cycle team to prepare her bike for its next run.  Unfortunately I hadn’t brought anything with me that day for recording, so I was left to only taking pictures as I continued to wander the pits.

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Photo courtesy of Kristine Peach

Fast forward almost a year later we do an interview with Dan Daughenbaugh on his record setting BSA, and come to find out he was one of the Four Aces crew.  I mentioned speaking with Kristine while visiting their tent and Dan hinted she had a pretty cool story on how she got into racing. He offered to ask if she’d be interested in talking, and lucky for me she was!

I hope you enjoy my interview with racer Kristine Peach.

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Utah Cafe Racer: So how exactly did you get started racing?

Kristine Peach: I met Wes White ( Four Aces Cycle http://www.fouracescycle.com/ ) about four years ago and he’s really into motorcycles and racing, and I ended up tagging along with him to Bonneville to two years later to be apart of his crew. Once I saw what was going on I told him I really wanted to try racing, so he told me if I got some leathers I could race his bike next year..

UCR: Wow! Right on!

KP: Yeah, so I found a pair of used leathers at a swap meet for about $100 bucks, and the next year I got to race his 500cc Triumph and things just kinda went from there.

UCR: Had you ever ridden a motorcycle before?

KP: You know, I had just taken a rider safety course six months before I met Wes, and then six months after that I bought my first street bike, but I went from pretty much not riding at all to racing.

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Kristine Peach and the Four Aces Cycle crew

UCR: That is bad ass! Are you racing your own bike now?

KP: This is the first year I’ll be racing my own bike, a 1953 Triumph 650cc that Wes just finished. He was an invited builder for Born Free 6 http://www.bornfreeshow.com/down here in California, and he used this event as a perfect excuse to build a really cool race bike. So the first time we’ll take it out to race will be at Bonneville this year.

Wes White of Four Aces Cycle and the Humblebee

Wes White of Four Aces Cycle and the Humblebee

UCR: Nice! When I met you last year you’d mentioned you also race at El Mirage.

KP: Yeah, we also race at El Mirage, typically try to race at both, but the rain has been so bad here that the lake bed is too unstable right now, and that just doesn’t work for vehicles that are hitting 200 mph.

UCR: So what exactly has gone into the making of your motorcycle?

KP: Wes actually built this bike for me, and just by luck he found a 1953 which is my favorite year for the Triumph motorcycle, and he found the frame just sitting next to a guy’s house. Wes saw the old guy peeking out when he was looking at it and asked, “Is that a Triumph frame?” and the guy said “Yeah, you can have it if you want.”

UCR: Holy shit!

KP: Yeah, so he brought it home and so I was like, “Is this gonna be for me?” and Wes said “Well, we’ll see.” So we really started building it from the ground up and trying to find the best racing position. I’ve raced Wes’s 500, and then last year ran a 750cc that was just one of coolest Triumph race bikes ever but it was really uncomfortable and difficult to ride, so we wanted to combine both the stance of the 750 with the practicality of the 500 .

UCR: So tell me about how you named this bike.

KP: We were driving home last year from Bonneville and talking about building, and I said we should name it “Humblebee” because there are so many people that we look up to, so this is a way of paying tribute to those that have come before us. Every month we have dinner with a lot of older racers and you can’t help but be humbled by these people who were setting these records back in the 50’s and 60’s and we’re still trying to break them now. So, it’s a humble bike, but we’re gonna kick some ass when we get out there this year!

UCR: laughing – nice!

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UCR: So what’s it like being out on the salt, flying like a bat out of hell?

KP: laughing – What’s so great about it for me is that it’s all that matters at that time. When you take off, you don’t think of anything else like ‘Oh, I have to go back to work in 8 days’ or ‘Rents due’ or anything silly. All you can think about for 2 miles is trying to hit that flag, and half the time I forget to look at my RPMs because I’m enjoying it so much.

UCR: How fast have you gone so far?

KP: Every year I get faster, but the fastest I’ve gone so far is 88 MPH.

UCR: And what is the record that you’re shooting for this year?

KP: The record in my class I believe is about 124 MPH, but what’s great about Bonneville is you’ve got a whole week to try and hit it. At El Mirage you’ve just got one day to play around, but at Bonneville you’ve got time to really get dialed in. But like I said, this year it’s my bike and I won’t be borrowing one of Wes’s and the one I rode last year was owned by two people, so this will be dialed in just for me.

UCR: I noticed in the picture you’ve set the bike up with a flat, scrambler type seat instead of something down against the fender, so why did you choose that setup?

KP: Well, it’s mostly for the class that I’m racing in. The rules are pretty crazy about where the seat has to be, because we were going to do something different, but Wes was reading the rules for the class and using modified vintage fuel and they were pretty specific, so Wes decided to make it more like a drag bike from the 50’s so I can move back and get flat.

UCR: And what class exactly is it that you are racing in?

KP: I’m racing in modified vintage fuel, and when we go out I’ll just use racing gas, but the bike is built to handle nitro.

UCR: Wow!

KP: Yeah, so if you look at the gas tank you’ll notice that it looks like there are three tanks, but the two on the sides are for fuel and the one in the middle is for oil because when you run nitro the bike goes through more oil and it gets dirtier much quicker.

UCR: Nice!

KP: Yeah, I’m so excited about it!

UCR: So, you’ve mentioned El Mirage but have you ridden the bike at all yet?

KP: No, this is a race bike and Wes is really concerned about the safety of the rider and bike. You can’t take these out on the road because the steering sucks on them and they’re just not safe for the road. To even take it out and just ride around it won’t work because it’s meant to do one thing, and that is to go fast in one direction. He’s put so much work into it, and to risk possibly wrecking it and ruin our racing would just be horrible. He’s started the bike, but the first time this will be ridden will be at Bonneville.

KP: This is how I do everything. The first time I raced we were out there and he just said “Okay, you’re up next” and I just went out and did it. This is how my dad was with me too. I just kinda get thrown into stuff, and I think it’s the best way of doing things instead of sitting back and getting nervous about it.

UCR: Do you meet a lot of other women out at Bonneville racing?

KP: Not really. It seems the only other women out there are the ones racing Hayabusas where they’re going 250 MPH .

UCR: Woah!

KP: Yeah, I’m pretty much the only woman in my class racing an older bike. And it’s funny, when I do see other women out there racing motorcycles and I tell them that I race too, and they ask what I race, I tell them I race a 1953 Triumph they say,”Oh, that’s really slow..”

UCR: laughing

KP: Yeah, but it’s just not what they’re used to. Or, when people ask me how fast I’m trying to go and they’ll say, “Well shit, I do that on my bike all the time on the freeway.” So I just tell them, “Well, you’re not racing a motorcycle that’s 60 years old either.”

UCR: Right! So what avenues are out there for women to get into racing? Where would you recommend someone to start?

KP: You know, it’s kind of hard because you need a bike and you need support. I would checkout Hells Belles http://www.hellsbellescarclub.com , they are a women only racing club who post a lot on racing. You can also contact the clubs at SCTA ( Southern California Timing Association http://www.scta-bni.org/SCTA_Clubs.html ) and they’ll recommend people to talk to like myself that can tell you what to expect and how much money you’d need to put up for it. Just

UCR: Well thanks for your time, I’ve really enjoyed this. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

KP: You know, a lot of people don’t realize there aren’t any grandstands or trophies or confetti or champagne. When I first raced two years ago, and I came home and told my mom about it she asked, “Did you win?” I had to explain that we all win every time we get out there. You’re not trying to get first or second place. You’re pouring your heart and soul into something to just go one mile an hour faster, and so just getting the chance to do something like this makes you a winner every time.

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