Awesome 2014 Season for Syck Bubblegum

Syck Bubblegum at the start gate

Syck Bubblegum at the start gate

Heather's 9th place trophy

Heather’s 9th place trophy

Syck Bubblegum has had a second chance this 2014 season. At the start, the driver, Heather Rowe, ran into some issues with the ignition system on Bubblegum (the KZ1000) sidehack, but with help from fellow racers, she got Bubblegum running and was able to join up with Michelle “Ducky” Sanches for a second season.

So far, the twosome have competed in 13 nights of racing, which equals about 50 heats. Of those, their best finish was second place and they’re currently sixth in points overall for the season. The biggest race of the year – the Matherson Cup – is coming up this weekend at Costa Mesa Speedway, which is the main event for the sidecars. Both girls are anxious to show the boys what’s up. “It’s been a challenge to read the track as it goes away through the night,” Heather says. “My monkey – Michelle ‘Ducky’ Sanches is a tiny mite! Her finger tattoos read ‘pint’ and ‘size.’ I love that!”

The best part for Michelle is feeling like a hero to the younger generation who go to see the races. “It’s been pretty amazing being a female racer/monkey,” says Michelle. “I feel like a celebrity because all the little girls call my name and want autographs or pictures with me. It’s pretty RAD to say the least.”

Heather has also ridden three nights with another monkey, Heather Gledhill, and together they’ve been training to make Heather Rowe a better driver. “I click with her,” said Heather Rowe. “But we are all great friends and super happy.”

Click here to see the race schedule.

 

Video of Heather and Ducky

Video of Heather and Heather

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Sidecar Racing Needs Your Help!

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“HEY RACE FANS!!! On 9-28-2013 our sidecar nationals take place at Costa Mesa speedway!!! We NEED your HELP!!! Heat race sponsors are needed!! To sponsor a race is 100.00, for that, you get to go onto the track after your heat has been raced and get your picture takin with the sidecar team that wins your heat!! Also, your name (or company) will be printed in the program as such sponsor!! It’s a great way to show your support and we would really appreciate your help!! C’mon peeps- lets fill the seats as we know we can!! Main events can also be sponsored for 150.00-200.00!! Love yas!!! Fire-up!!!” – Robert Dent

 

Rough Season for Syck Bubblegum

Jeff Godfrey and Michelle Ducky Hovanec in the thick of a sidecar pile

Jeff Godfrey and Michelle Ducky Hovanec in the thick of a sidecar pile

Before the crash, Michelle and Jeff G. managed to acquire a few trophies while the goin' was good.

Before the crash, Michelle and Jeff G. managed to acquire a few trophies while the goin’ was good.

It’s been a tough season for Syck Bubblegum to say the least. What started off with a lot of optimism definitely ended up with events testing both the patience and endurance of all involved. But if I’ve learned something about Heather Rowe and Michelle Ducky Havonec, it is that they’re not quitters.

With the loss of her first partner at the beginning of the season, Heather set out to find a new one and that’s when she met Michelle. Michelle rode for the first time with Jeff Godfrey (who flew out for a brief time from Australia) on Syck Bubblegum at Victorville and placed third in the main. Then Michelle rode with Jeff Rowe on Superbeast, the R1 powered sidehack, at Pirate. If you don’t know what to expect, nor what muscles are needed to hold onto a sliding beast on three wheels, the fact that Michelle dove in with no experience is my definition of pure balls. But Michelle’s luck ran out at Costa Mesa, where she injured her leg.

During Michelle and Heather’s first team appearance at Pirate Speedway, several hands were involved in Syck Bubblegum’s set-up and with a quarky throttle cable and hard starting issue, Heather and Michelle found themselves dead in the water at the starting line. It was a disappointing first showing for the twosome, but they were determined to keep practicing until the next race.

While Heather and Jeff G. were racing at Industry Hills Grand Arena, however, Jeff found himself in a gaggle of third wheels and whipping clouds of sand. While doing his best to snap the handlebars back from oblivion, Heather was sent flying off Syck Bubblegum’s keel, head first into the dirt.

The sidecars are one of speedway’s most grandiose yet dreaded attractions as without the presence of much safety precautions, racing sidecars in the United States is an extremely dangerous sport, especially for the monkey’s riding the sidecars stern with nothing much to hold onto other than a grab rail, a piece of the rider in front of them and the floor board. Broken limbs, broken backs, fingers and collar bones are common, and those who are said to love this sport are just a hair short of bonkers. In the words of a spectator, “Every time my wife hears these guys get onto the track, she disappears. She’s fascinated by them but they freak the heck out of her!”

Unfortunately, Heather’s get-off sealed her season for her, as she suffered a severe case of whiplash after the fact and will probably spend the rest of the season recuperating. With Heather and Michelle both suffering injuries, they will have to wait until next season to get back behind the bars.

A starting line shot with Jeff G. and Heather.

A starting line shot with Jeff G. and Heather.

In the aftermath of injury and mayhem, Jeff Rowe, Heather’s husband attempted to resurrect Syck Bubblegum after Jeff Godfrey’s departure by racing it at the track himself. However, Ms. Bubblegum seemed hesitant to leave her usual suspects at the sidelines and declined to start, running with two cold cylinders. After checking the header pipes, it appears one of Ms. Bubblegum’s pick-up coils decided to conk out, perhaps out of sympathy for her team. Still, she will have to remain in the garage until she is repaired and perhaps, her cohorts are ready to return behind the bars.

Until next year when the dirt is flying and the audience is gasping with clasped fingers and phones held out to capture the carnage, I bid you goodbye until the racing starts once again.

Racing photo, mid-drift through the corner.

Racing photo, mid-drift through the corner.

A corner shot of Jeff G. and Heather.

A corner shot of Jeff G. and Heather.

Syck Bubblegum takes two second place finishes despite set-backs!

400596_570943086272297_1431061606_nSyck Bubblegum Racing had their first race at Pirate Speedway on April 19th. Due to an unfortunate turn of events, Shawnay Aguilera will be sitting out the season, but Heather was able to find a temporary replacement monkey just in time for the first race.

Heather and her stand-in took two second place finishes on her first race night ever and she made it to the main event. What an awesome night despite some set-backs.

“It was a great first race and I couldn’t be more happy,” says Heather. “Thank you Josh Bennett for trusting in me and jumping on bubblegum with me. You are a blessing!”

Heather is currently looking for a brave woman to ride “monkey” with her aboard the KZ1000 Syck Bubblegum sidehack. If you love action-packed racing and don’t mind dragging your butt in the dirt, contact Heather.

Heather and Josh at Pirate Speedway.

Heather and Josh at Pirate Speedway.

A happy girl with some great race results!

A happy girl with some great race results!

 

The only brave soul in America who dangles his foot off the back of a sidehack.

The only brave soul in America who dangles his foot off the back of a sidehack.

 

MI Featured Rider of the Week: Living Brakes, Heather Rowe

Photo by Tony T-Bone Colombini from Blacktop Magazine.

Heather Rowe has an interesting hobby. She likes to hang her “ass” off the edge of a Sidehack, which is a speedway motorcycle with a third wheel attached. She races with her husband at local Southern California speedways every chance they get. The Sidehack has a 1000 cc motor and no brakes, which Heather says is the fun part! The Sidehack can reach speeds up to 100 mph in the dirt, which can get exciting when you have several Sidehacks racing on a small oval course enclosed by a wall.

Husband and wife team – Heather and Jeff – in action.

“People love the Sidehacks,” she says. “It’s pretty strange to see a person driving while another person hangs their ass over in the dirt.” Since the Sidehacks have no brakes, the person hanging off acts as a brake as they shift their weight over the back axle, thus helping to propel the machine out of a corner and avoid the wall.

Heather and Jeff having some fun between races.

So what is it like to hang your body off a slammed, over powered machine in the dirt? Heather says “It’s like a dance with an 80-year-old woman who wants to kick your ass!” I’d assume you’d have to be a racer to understand what that means, but I’ve met some pretty tough old ladies, so I can relate.

Superbeast Sidehack racing under the lights.

Heather and her husband race their Sidehack at the Inland Motorcycle Speedway in the San Bernardino-Industry Hills area on Wednesdays, and they also race in Victorville and Costa Mesa. She said that her and her husband also plan to race in Las Vegas and Auburn this season.

Heather in true rocker style aboard a bike just a little bit smaller than what she’s used to.

As you can see, Heather is fully inked from head to toe. Her right arm is made up of skulls with different kinds of pony tails, as she believes a woman can be strong but feminine at the same time. A saying by Pablo Picasso is inscribed on her left arm, which reads ‘It takes courage for a man to listen to his own goodness and act on it.’ Do we dare to be ourselves? “That is the question that counts,” she says.

Heather has full sleeve tattoos on both arms.

Heather’s cake toppers and portrait. Pretty cool.

Heather’s Day of the Dead cake toppers and portrait. Some pretty alternative, yet fascinating art.

A chilling portrait of her great, great grandfather who was the war chief of all apache is showcased on her left cafe while her mother’s portrait adorns her right thigh. She has a Day of the Dead-style wedding cake topper with the words “better together” over it. She and her husband have been married for 17 years and say this phrase to each other often.

Heather’s war chief on her left calf.

Heather’s back is completely inked with the same scheme that is painted on her and her husband’s chopper. Additionally, she has a bird and “steam-punk” gear tattoo on her back designed by artist, Jason Greely of Lowbrow Ink in Grand Terrace.

Heather’s full back tattoos.

“I love racing for the fans and I love the family of Sidehack racers we have,” she says. “We’ve got each others back, at least until we get out on the track, then it’s all about racing!”

To find out more about Heather’s Sidehack racing, visit her Facebook page or check out her website. If you’d like to learn more about the schedule, Heather or Sidehack racing in general, you can email her.

Photo by Tony T-Bone Colombini from Blacktop Magazine