Vance & Hines is setting its sails towards a new generation of racers, tabbing Gaige Herrera to ride its NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle Suzuki Hayabusa in the 2023 season that begins in Gainesville, Fla. the second weekend of March. Herrera, 29, began racing NHRA’s PSM class this past season after earning wins in XDA’s pro Street and Outlaw racing classes. He’s got plenty of experience with Suzuki motorcycles, with several runs down the quarter-mile in the 6.30-second range at over 200mph. He showed his mettle against some of the best in NHRA’s two-wheeled master class in the latter stages of the 2022 season.
Herrera first raced in NHRA’s tough Pro Stock Motorcycle during the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals over Labor Day weekend. He competed in another five races after that with a Gary Stoffer-equipped Suzuki, qualifying for four out of the six contests he entered. Herrera impressed crew chief Andrew Hines and now-teammate Eddie Krawiec during a Monday test session after the penultimate contest of the season, on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he rode Krawiec’s Suzuki.
“This is such a tremendous opportunity,” Herrera confirmed. “I never expected to get a call with an invitation to join the Vance & Hines team, and when I told my dad, he was as excited as me.” Herrera is a fourth-generation racer, whose father Augustine Herrera is a drag racing fixture.
Vance & Hines co-founder Terry Vance acknowledged, “We love finding and supporting talented young riders. We have another guy on the team that we hired before he had ever qualified for an NHRA PSM race. That worked out really well,” Vance said of Krawiec, who has earned 49 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Wally winner’s trophies and four championships, in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2017. Krawiec was also the first member of the V&H team to join the Denso 200mph Club. His current best speed is 203.49mph.
Hines, who has six NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championships to his credit, is the son of V&H co-founder Byron Hines and has segued from full-time riding to full-time crew chief in the past year. He was impressed by Herrera from the first time he saw him on a plain, black Suzuki. “I watched Gaige’s first run at the U.S. Nationals and immediately knew this guy was something special. He’s a long-time Suzuki rider and it was easy to see how confident he was on the bike. I can’t wait to help him develop into a championship-level rider in PSM on one of our bikes.”
Herrera’s exploits on Suzuki motorcycles include his record for the fastest Nitrous Suzuki Hayabusa in the United States. He’s also familiar with the Vance & Hines brand, as he’s been riding V&H equipment for the past five years.