“I’m excited to work with Keith and Cecil (HTP boss Cecil Towner III) and get back where I started—streetbikes!” said Schnitz, who was unbeatable in his Supersport days. But it’s been a while since Ryan’s put his solid reputation to the test on a competitive streetbike. Is he nervous at all about jumping back into the title-defending fray on a bike with a reputation as strong as Thompson’s GSXR? “No way, man. HTP’s built some of the quickest streetbikes in the country and I can’t wait to see what we can do with them.”
Cecil’s equally excited. “With the proven performance of our Real Street bike, we’re confident that Ryan will be competitive from the start,” said Towner. “He’s a proven winner and we can’t wait to start testing. We couldn’t think of a better way to expand our Real Street program than to add one of the smoothest clutch hands in the business. We are very proud to officially announce the addition of Ryan to the HTP team.”
Thompson is moving up to Orient Express Pro Street, competing against the ubiquitous turbocharged bikes on a nitrous huffing Suzuki Hayabusa. “We’re going to see what we can do with it this year with some focus and a steady
clutch hand,” said Keith. “We may not set the world on fire, but we’re definitely going to turn some heads.”
“I’d like to thank Keith for putting in 110% effort last year,” said Cecil. “I couldn’t ever expect any more from a rider. Keith’s risen to the challenge the last two seasons and we continue to have high expectations for him on our nitrous Pro Street ‘Busa.
“Our nitrous Pro Street program had fairly good results in ‘09. There was a big learning curve for me, and now I can take all the data that I collected last year and move forward for the 2010 season. We’ll also be running Lavar ‘Lil’ Charlie’ Delee on another ‘Busa. He showed his skill in 2009 and we look forward to him piloting our second bike.” True enough, Lil’ Charlie tested the nitrous bike at Valdosta and qualified strongly in the ultra competitive field of dialed-in turbo bikes. His performance raised a lot of eyebrows amongst the jaded railbirds.
In addition to their other rides, Thompson and Schnitz will also be competing on ’08 Hayabusas in the new MiRock Crazy 8s class. Silver haired Richmond racer Wayne “UBWARE” Robertson will captain HTP’s Crazy 8s program. Team HTP will be also be competing at all four Grudgement Day events at Virginia Motorsports Park, running Pro Street, Real Street, and—of course—grudge races. Thompson and Schnitz will switch bikes at Grudgement Day.
“2009 ended almost as good as I could have planned,” said Towner, and that was despite the fact that he spent a good portion of fall in the hospital recovering from severe burns from a dyno accident. “The end of the season was definitely a little rough, but winning the MiRock championship for the second time in the row and almost winning the AMA Dragbike championship on the same bike was a pretty big feat for us. My accident didn’t seem to phase the team at all. Keith and my dad (Big Cec) went racing without missing a beat, bringing home a win while I was in my hospital bed. My dad did one hell of a job taking over for me at the track and running the shop when I was gone.
“All this couldn’t be possible without the help of the whole HTP family. My guys and gals put in some serious OT at the shop to help the team be so successful. My dad Cecil Jr., engine builder and mechanic Lester Jenkins, and office manager/PR/parts lady Leah Quinn are all part of the team.
“I have to thank Richard Gadson big time for helping me with our nitrous Pro Street program in 2009. He’s decided to focus on his career outside of the racetrack and I wish him the best of luck with that. He was excited to give up his seat to one of his best friends, Lil’ Charlie, and he’ll always have something to ride at our shop.
“I also would like to personally thank Brock Davidson at Brock’s Performance for his contributions and continued support, and Trevor Langfield of Wizards of NOS for his innovative nitrous technology.”
The 2010 HTP Performance stable:
Pro Street 1 — 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa supported by Wizard of NOS, Brock’s Performance, BST, CP Pistons, Carrillo Rods, MoTec Systems, and Schnitz Racing.
Pro Street 2 — 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa supported by Wizard of NOS, Brock’s Performance, BST, CP Pistons, Carrillo Rods, MoTec Systems, and Schnitz Racing.
Real Street 1 — 2008 Suzuki GSXR1000 supported by Wizard of NOS, Brock’s Performance, BST, CP Pistons, Carrillo Rods, Bazzaz, MSD, and Schnitz Racing.
Crazy 8s — 2008 stock Suzuki Hayabusas supported by Brock’s Performance, MPS, Bazzaz, and Schnitz Racing.
Want to run with the best? Take advantage of this unique sponsorship opportunity by contacting us at (804) 340-0800.
HTP Performance races next at the Honda-Suzuki of Sanford Spring Bike Open at Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, North Carolina, March 27-28, 2010.