Jones/Fernandez Dominate Super Street2009-11-24 03:10
“At the beginning of the season I was simply happy to have a win at the opener,” said Chris Jones, the builder/tuner of the Jones Performance Cycles Kawsaski ZX14 ridden by John Fernandez. “But after a win in Atlanta the whole program shifted towards a championship.”
“Taking the opening win from seasoned veteran Rickey Gadson put things into perspective for what we had to do for the remainder of the season,” said Fernandez. “We then won in Atlanta against the ‘08 championship bike. At this point, Chris and I were in sync and dead set on our championship.”
Mission accomplished for the pair, who until this year were better known as nice guys who over achieved on a limited budget than as world-beaters. But now that’s all changed.
“We knew going into Atco that we were probably good enough in points to win the championship,” said Jones. Indeed, the team had won every race by that point. After Valdosta and Atlanta came Memphis, Michigan, and Indianapolis. “And then our focus went towards laying down a number.”
But it turns out that the Jones Performance Cycles ’14 thrives on race winning consistency, not record seeking gambles. “We posted some amazing wheelies, but no records,” laughed Jones. “We were willing to take that risk, but only after our main goal of locking in a championship was accomplished.”
Fernandez leapt out in front in the Atco final round but had to back out and give up the win when the ride got too hairy. “The cold weather and powerful turbo got the best of us in Atco,” reported John. “We headed to Norwalk with the intentions of resetting our ET record and qualified first with a tenth ahead of the field. But we all know trying to break records with some big wheelies on a 63 inch ZX14 is not a simple task!”
Fernandez lost in round 2 at Norwalk, but teammate Eddie Murphy went to the final. “I was happy for Eddie to runner-up at Norwalk on a bike that I built,” said Jones. “We’re still fighting some chassis issues with that bike, but we tore into it along with our main bike to prepare for a good finale back in Valdosta.
“Any race in Valdosta is by far the most important ones for me, due to the fact that I know that the stands will be filled with friends, family, and customers from the local area. Even though I’m from Florida, the majority of our testing takes place at South Georgia Motorsports Park due to the great prep work and the good old southern hospitality provided by track manager Wade Rich and his crew. They are a very motorcycle friendly track and appreciate your business, unlike another track right in my back yard.”
The team arrived at the AMA Dragbike Finals in Valdosta determined to put their Atco and Norwalk performances behind them and finish the year off looking like the championship team they are. “We experimented at the last couple of races trying to get into the 7.70s and got nowhere but sent to the trailer when the front wheel went flying toward the sky,” said Jones. “I decided Sunday morning in Valdosta to set the bike back up exactly like it was when we were running consistent .80s and winning.
“After the first round I had some confidence once I saw the bike go down the track smoothly with very little power thrown at it. I couldn’t help but notice what Stacy Smith was doing with that little monster GSXR1000, but I knew he was playing with fire. Once we made it to the finals to face Stacy it was not even a tough decision as to keep the bike the same or not. For the last two races we had seen the effects of turning up the bike in the cool air and it simply was not working for us. I decided to leave everything the same and depend on proven consistency to get us to the line first, and it worked.”
And so the team finished the year the way that champions are supposed to, with a win at the Finals. “Simply put, this season has been a good one,” said Jones. “I feel a strong sense of pride with our winning efforts this year, because the majority of R&D on the ZX14 turbo products we are racing with were tested and developed here in-house at Jones Performance Cycles.
“I am very grateful for the support that we received this year from Coby Adams and Adams Performance, Scott Casper of Western Power Sports, Shinko Tires, Doug Ray of Spencer Cycle, Barry Henson and Velocity Racing, Kim, Matt and Jeff at Carolina Cycle, Ken at Motul Lubricants, Andrew Pearce, my loving family, the Fernandez family, and God above. And I can't leave out the class and contingency sponsors such as Kawasaki, Orient Express, MTC, VP, Tiger Racing, World Wide Bearing, MPS, and Vortex. And of course, Scott Valletti and AMA Dragbike. And I surely appreciate the promotion and press that Tim Hailey, Straightliner magazine, and Matt Polito have given to us and the sport of motorcycle drag racing.
“Our plans for next year are to defend the Super Street championship—or whatever class it becomes or not—along with running a Pro Street bike owned by my long term friend Bobby Fisher of Roaring Toyz. We have recently acquired the support of AEM, and Speed & Strength leathers through a deal with Bobby.
“John and I are able to be focused and consistent. We both are lucky to be married to women that understand the drive and determination we have for racing, and work with us regardless of the time we spend in the shops and at the track racing and testing. If I'm not racing I try to use Sunday as a church and family day to keep the family bond close, and John does the same thing also.”
Jones and Fernandez start next year off back at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta, Georgia for the Bikeweek Nationals, March 5-7, 2010.
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