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Salt Addiction: Shane San Miguel

Thursday, February 23, 2012
Like we said  you cant ride your entire life unless you start out as a baby. Shane rode with his dad while still in diapers!
Shane San Miguel, pictured above in
diapers, got an early start on two wheels
and has been pushing the limits ever since.
Like the old adage, “You can’t drink all day unless you start first thing in the morning,” Shane San Miguel has been riding motorcycles his whole life - literally since he was a baby.

“I have a picture that my mom took of me on my dad’s DT175 Yamaha Enduro somewhere in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when I was still in diapers,” he recalls. “I would sit on the gas tank and hold onto the handlebars.”

“The first time I remember riding my dad’s motorcycle, he was stationed at McClellan AFB. He took me to a field by our house; I was maybe three or four years old. I remember the butterflies in my stomach and the giddy thrill it gave me. When I was eight, I would ride on the back of my cousin’s Sears mini bike and chase cows on their farm in Texas. We’d ride for hours until we ran out of gas. At 13 I mowed lawns for $5 bucks a piece and saved up $200 dollars and bought a 1976 Suzuki DS100, my first real dirt bike.”

“At 16, I got a summer job cutting firewood and saved enough to buy a Suzuki GT-380J, a two-stroke Triple. Talk about fast... That’s when I started drag racing. That old 380 humbled many a 600cc sport bike. Since I had to earn the money to buy my bikes, I didn’t always have the current technology. Using my dad’s tools, I would take my bike apart and look for ways to make it faster. Instead of buying fancy lightweight parts, I would remove parts to make the bike lighter. Strip the mirrors, ditch the tool bag, cut the ends off the handlebars - everything I could think of to make it faster.”

Shane grew up racing at Sacramento Raceway. His best time at his home track is 9.50 seconds at 150 mph on his 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa. He also occasionally races a Ford Pinto with a V8 engine that he built himself. Shane’s quick to point out that he’ll race anything on the drag strip. “I would drag race a horse if they’d let me.” I’d like to see that one posted on his Facebook page…

Shane tucked in and boogying on a 198 mph pass at El Mirage in Southern CA.
Shane tucked in and boogying on a 198 mph pass at El Mirage in Southern CA.
Take a close look at the speedometer and the tach. At redline at 212 mph on the dirt.
On the work side of things, Shane’s an engineering manager for Intel Corporation, the largest micro-processor manufacturer in the world. He’s worked in the electronics field for almost 20 years and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Electronics Engineering.

“My favorite part is figuring out the answer to complicated problems. It’s quite a thrill to work with many of the smartest people in the industry and call them my peers. Many times I’ve used the debug skills learned at Intel to solve problems with my race cars and motorcycles. I’ve used my electronics background to design many gadgets and circuits for my racing such as nitrous controllers, oxygen sensor circuits, intercooler pump systems and ignition systems.”

I asked Shane how he got involved with land speed racing: “One day I was at a family function talking to my wife’s grandpa about how I wanted to go 200 mph. He said, 'If you want to go that fast, you have to go to Bonneville.' Vic gave me an SCTA rule book which showed that the world’s fastest production bike - something you could walk into a dealership and buy - was the Suzuki Hayabusa, and that the record was around 201 mph. I saved my money for three years fixing people’s bikes at night while working at Intel during the day and driving my old beat up car. When I paid cash for that first Busa, I knew I’d found my bike. You can be on a 600 and have an awesome bike, but if you’re at a stop light and a 750 pulls up, what then? If you’re on a 750 and a big bad GSXR-1000 pulls up, you’re toast. No matter what you’re on, if a Busa rolls up, it’s over.”

I noted that in addition to running at Bonneville, he was also a regular at El Mirage. I asked him to compare the two venues: “I spent my rookie year on my 2006 Hayabusa at El Mirage learning the ropes and licensing up. I ran later that year at Bonneville Speed Week posting a top speed of 191 mph. The surfaces couldn’t be more different. The Mojave dirt at El Mirage is hard packed and covered in dust and surface cracks. It’s also shorter, 1.3 miles with a 5/8 mile shutdown area, whereas Bonneville has a three-mile course, and that’s the Short Course.

Shane from a different angle on the same 198 mph pass at El Mirage on his street bike   racer. He also rides this bike to work…
Shane from a different angle on the same 198 mph pass at El Mirage. Shane also rides this LSR bike to work…
A minimum qualifying run of 175 mph gets you onto the Long Course which is five miles in length.

“That’s where the big boys play. El Mirage is all about launching the bike as hard as possible while maintaining traction on the dirt and avoiding soft, sandy areas that the cars tear up. At Bonneville my bike takes two miles to get to 200 and then I have three miles of timed speed sections to claw for every RPM to make top speed. At El Mirage your speed is the timed average of a 132-foot speed trap at the end of the track. At Bonneville, your speed is the average speed over an entire mile! To get into the Bonneville 200 MPH Club you can’t just go 200, you have to break an existing record that’s already over 200 mph, so you have to beat somebody else that’s already set the bar really high.”

Shane made the cut in 2008, earning his red hat by beating the existing production 1350cc land speed record of 201 mph and was only the second person to ever do so on a production bike. Shane acknowledges Scott Horner of Heads Up Performance for assisting him in his 206-mph record run.

Shane plans to run the production class for another year before switching to either nitrous or running a turbo in hopes of joining the ranks of a select few who’ve ran 250 mph on two wheels. I’d tip my hat to him, but blue hats are hard to come by and he just might take mine…

Enjoy the ride…
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ATL7XBob   March 12, 2012 09:53 AM
Great article on Shane, Ive known Shane and his family for about 36 years, sold him the GT-380 and have watched him grow.I am very proud to know Shane and his family and wish he and his family the very best of luck and success in the future.
adel   March 4, 2012 08:29 PM
Awesome article about Shane. Glad to see Shane's accomplishments and hardwork published!!!
adalee   March 4, 2012 06:07 PM
Great article, Rocky! Thanks for sharing Shane's life-long passion. We're proud of him on and off the racetrack!
innuit21   February 29, 2012 05:17 PM
It was great experience to hear Shane's passion and achievement.
Shane, the fastest person on two wheels!
pgrimes49   February 28, 2012 01:37 PM
WOW, nice!
saj   February 28, 2012 08:53 AM
not to mention, he is a hell of guy off the track as well... good luck buddy...
EKELANGI   February 28, 2012 12:04 AM
I know Shane professionally and I am very suprised to see how he manages his work and passion for bikes at same time. Awesome...keep it up Shane.......Lot of hardwork to buy bikes..interesting to know.
MustangMan   February 27, 2012 09:29 PM
I'd never heard of two wheel nitrous or turbo! Over 250 on two wheels? That's pretty serious stuff!
MustangMan   February 27, 2012 08:31 PM
I didn't know you'd been addicted for so long! :) Great pics and details!
MustangMan   February 27, 2012 08:31 PM
I didn't know you'd been addicted for so long! :) Great pics and details!
canwecable   February 25, 2012 08:58 AM
It's been almost 30 years now that I've known Shane, and it's no joke, there has always been a motorcycle in the yard, the driveway, or the garage. It's in his soul. We are very proud of everything you've accomplished, and will accomplish. Great story, Rocky.
RIFLEMAN   February 24, 2012 07:51 PM
Great article Rocky! Kudos for giving Shane his due!
ecox   February 24, 2012 08:50 AM
Great article! Here's to 251 Shane!
dinesh   February 23, 2012 11:02 PM
Keep rocking Shane!! Sure you gonna get the 250 soon... And, yes, the work/life balance you maintain is a serious inspiration for all us!! :)
jgoles   February 23, 2012 04:29 PM
Way to go Shane, cant wait to see you break 250mph.

waynester   February 23, 2012 03:53 PM
When I was young I was fascinated by the guys who would drag race out at el mirage, soggy dry lake, anderson dry lake, etc. My first trip to the salt flats and I was like - holy cow this is a rad place to race. To hear that you broke 200MPH out there - AWESOME!
v8pinto   February 23, 2012 03:05 PM
Thanks for the opportunity to tell my story, Rocky!!
Soroush   February 23, 2012 02:48 PM
I've known Shane for nearly 2 decades now. He has always been pushing the limits no matter how complicated the situation was and with minimal resources he gets the job done with pride. You can give him most daring challenges and his answer wouldn’t be anything other than “yah, I can do that”, especially if there is speed involved. At the time where everyone is about to give up, Shane is utilizing his skills of ‘thinking outside of the box’ for better solution. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him giving up on any task no matter how many times he failed. He just gets right back up until he gets it. I have no doubt he’ll get a blue hat soon if he sets his mind to it. Good luck Shane! You have my respect and support.
petraangelic   February 23, 2012 02:44 PM
Wow - pretty amazing stuff. Shane seems to have the whole work/life balance thing down to a pat! Great article!
TechFan   February 23, 2012 02:31 PM
WoW! talk about an early start!