Cory Reed on his new Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle program: “I expect us to win races this year, 100-percent.”
A straight line might be the shortest distance between two points but oftentimes, it’s far more rewarding to take the scenic route. After a long and arduous struggle to gain a competitive foothold in the tough Pro Stock Motorcycle class, teammates Cory Reed and Joey Gladstone understand that better than anyone. Reed left the former Star Racing outfit to form his own team following the 2016 season. Since then, he’s has raced Victory, Buell, and EBR bikes and had a variety of tuners and teammates. Reed has even made his way around the country, leaving his native Colorado for stints in Georgia, Florida before settling in his current home in Ashland, Va., a suburb of Richmond.
It's taken five long years, but Reed believes he’s finally found the combination for success. The multi-talented Gladstone remains his teammate, and respected tuner Cecil Towner is manning the wrenches, but the team has made a major change this off-season, trading their V-twin EBR bikes for a pair of Vance & Hines Suzuki entries that are powered by the new four-valve engine combination. The Vance & Hines team not only developed the new engine but also will handle all the between race maintenance at their Brownsburg, Ind. headquarters.
Its not really a secret that Reed and the Vance & Hines crew didn’t always see eye-to-eye. In fact, they once engaged in a fairly heated debate in the pit area of Sonoma Raceway. That episode is water under the bridge as the two teams embark on their new business relationship.
“I sat down and had a drink with Eddie Krawiec the other night; who’d have ever thought they were going to see that happen?” said Reed with a chuckle. Reed and Gladstone didn’t lay eyes on the new Hayabusa entries until last Monday, where they went to Bradenton Motorsports Park for a two-day test session. It took only a handful of runs for them both to fall in love with the new combination. “Honestly, they’ve been great to work with. They delivered the bikes on time and so far, we love what we’ve seen. When we tested, the Vance & Hines guy could not have been more helpful.”
“I couldn’t be happier right now. Every nut and bolt on these bikes are brand new and within 5-6 runs both Joey and I were running low 6.80s. That made a big impression on us. The bikes are really nice when you look at the craftsmanship and obviously, they run great and we’ve just scratched the surface of what we can do with them.”
On day one of the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals, Gladstone was sixth-quickest with a 6.828 while Reed spun the tire and still ran a 6.98 to put himself solidly in the field. In the meantime, Reed and Gladstone both watched in amazement as Angelle Sampey, aboard a similar Vance & Hines four-valve Suzuki, steamrolled her way to the top of the charts with a 6.746 on a run that was far from perfect.
“Angelle ran 1.03 in the first sixty-feet. That’s moving on a Pro Stock Motorcycle,” said Reed. “Joey and I were in the 1.05 to 1.06 range in the first few runs which is a big step forward. We still need to work on a few things because they are different to ride than a V-twin. That’s for sure. They’re so smooth it almost throws off your timing. I expect us to win races this year, 100-percent. I also think we can be in a position to race for the championship.”
While Reed is infatuated with the new Suzuki program, he’s quick to point out that the Reed Motorsports team is very much still invested in their V-twin EBR program. They have two competitive bikes at their shop and one of them has been sold to David Barron, who raced it this weekend. There is a strong chance that both bikes will make an appearance at some point this season. Richard Gadson, the son of former Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Ricky Gadson, is among the riders rumored to be on his way to the Camping World NHRA series.
“This is a good opportunity for us to help grow the class,” said Reed. “It takes a lot of resources and I’m not sure we’re ready to come out here with four bikes but we’ve had a lot of interest and I’m sure we’ll expand this program at some point.”
Given their early success with the new Suzuki entries, it’s only fair to ask Reed if he wished he’d have made the switch sooner?
“I don’t think so,” he replied without hesitation. “The timing had to be right and I don’t think it was right until recently. I feel like we’re in the right place at the right time. I really stoked about this season.”