In this Sneaky Fast Spotlight, we switch gears and focus on 27 year old Land Speed Racer Charles Freeman.
Tell me a little something of your childhood; like what where your interests up through high school?
I always loved cars, planes and motorcycles. Before I was able to own my first car I had a bicycle with a speedometer. I would ride that bike everywhere and find the biggest hills to race down. It came natural to go fast and push the limits of my bicycle. I would day dream about doing something more with it but never had the means to get started. My father and I use to hot rod with some of the cars he had when I was a kid. I will never forget when I got in the challenger, fasten the seatbelt and my dad looks over and says “don’t tell mom”… roasted the tires, then we raced a mustang. That was my first experience for a drag race. I was hooked! As the years progressed my dad drifted away from the car hobby and it would have been forgotten if it was not for me. I have held onto our 72 Nova since early 90’s so him and I can rebuild it. I always had the passion and I said one day I will live my dreams.
What was your first exposure to motorcycles?
My dad bought a 06’ Harley sportster and brought it home. He said try it and gave me a few pointers, needless to say I dropped the bike with less than 100 miles on it. I told him that I don’t want to get back on the bike and mess it up again. He replied, get back on the bike and try again. So I did, I rode that bike in field for 30 minutes and the next day signed up for a MFC class. After that I bought a new 07’ Harley Davidson nightster that I put 20k miles on it. Then, in 2010 I woke up on a Saturday in August and said I want a ZX14. Drove to the dealer and bought one. Kind of crazy they gave me the keys to the zx14 with no experience with a bike that powerful! However, it’s all about throttle control.
What was your first exposure to racing (of any kind)?
Excluding going to the NHRA as a kid with my dad my first exposure was an auto cross event. I bought a 80’ vette and wanted to race. I met up with Texas Corvette Association members at a local meet. While there I met a guy who told me about road racing and auto cross events. I decided to take the vette to the autocross and had some fun. However, I wanted more speed. Doing a run in 1 minute in 1st gear was not fun for me. The guy I met with the autocross introduced me to Wayne Meinert. Wayne is a wonderful person who knew the right people to get started. Originally I worked with him for a open road race and became great friends since. He built St. Louis International Speedway in 1967. Wayne told me so many wonderful stories of all these great racers running at his tracks and made me want to race more. The vette I strated off with was being modified so I bought a ZX14 to occupy my time while I finish the vette. I then decided to go to a track day after owning my ZX14 for 2 months. I wanted to learn how to drag my knee in a safer environment than the street. Everyone was amazed I bought a ZX14 to a track day! By the afternoon I was dragging knee on a ZX14 and no one could touch me in the straights. I was once again hooked and wanted to go faster…
How did you get involved in land speed?
I wanted to see what my bike can do so I loaded up and went racing. I knew it is safer than the street and I will receive proof of my accomplishments. I entered my first land speed event in October 2010 at the Texas Mile. I was hitting the electronic limiter with 30mph side winds with a top speed of 186.6. I still wanted more and set a goal of joining the 200mph club. I decided to take the next step and go to the Texas Mile and see what my bike will do. I had no friends, family or vehicle to accompany me on my trip to the mile. I was not going to let that stop me and loaded up my race gear into a bag, one change of clothes and strapped it to the back of my bike. I arrived at the event before the sun came up after 4 hours night drive dodging deer and hogs. I found one little spot that was empty so parked my bike there and went to register. When the sun came up I noticed I actually was in someone’s pit and kindly asked them if I could stay. They said sure and asked where is my friends and truck? I told them I rode here to race. Well, I could not have pitted next to anyone better. The person I was talking to is Karl Gunter, member of Team Fat Ass (TFA). I set a good impression that I am willing to drive my bike, race it and hopefully get to drive it home and that’s exactly what I did. I always said if you want it bad enough you will figure out a way to do it. Once I did my first pass I was hooked.
What’s your daily driver (car, truck)?
Depending on the day its either the ZX14 I race or a 1980 Corvette that has been rebuilt with a LS1 setup.
Do you have a hero:
Of course my father but for someone who I admired it would be Burt Munro. All the information I have read about him describes myself for doing the similar things. He took nothing and made it something. Bill Warner is also a inspiration. He sacrificed a lot to break that 300mph barrier.
Texas Mile Goliad – October 2010 – 186.6mph all stock – First time to the track and only owned the bike for month and half.
Texas Mile Goliad – March 2011 – 201mph and melted the cylinder head on spray.
Loring Timing Association – July 2011 – mps/f 2000-4 – Set record at 221.18mph (previous was 211.978)
Mojave Mile Oct 2011 – 213.2 – 1st place in M2 class.
Texas Mile Beeville 2011 – 210.5
Current race bike / class: 2009 ZX14, Brocks CT exhaust, GPR stabilizer, Michelin pure tires, airshifter, Horsepower Mafia spray bar/nitrous setup, 13:5 JE pistons, tuned by Johnny Cheese performance, engine built by Rich Halverson at Horsepower Mafia.
Crew Members: Rich Halverson
Sponsors: Johnny Cheese Performance, Cycle Gear, Horsepower Mafia
Texas Mile Goliad March 2011 – First 200+mph run at 201mph
Big Bend Open Road Race – April 2011 – 105mph class – 1st place
Loring Timing Association – July 2011 – MPS/F 2000-4 record 221.18mph
Mojave Mile M2 class 1st place at 213.2mph
Goals: Meet great people, have fun, go 200+mph at all land speed events, practice more drag racing, take the all time nitrous record for the standing mile 228.803mph, race at Bonneville.
Interest outside of racing: Modifying/rebuilding cars/hot rods and salt water reef aquariums. I gave up everything else to race.
Favorite movie: World’s Fastest Indian & Burt Munro: Offerings to the God of Speed
For more information, pictures, videos and race updates check out horsepowermafia.com.