NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Geno Scali set to return for final seven events of 2024

After a successful return in Chicago, Geno Scali, the 2003 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, plans to compete in the final seven events of the season aboard a Vance & Hines prepared Suzuki.
18 Jun 2024
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Geno Scali

After nearly two decades on the sidelines, 2003 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Geno Scali made a somewhat unexpected return in Joliet at the recent Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by Peak. Although he didn’t qualify, Scali enjoyed the experience so much that he’s made a stronger commitment to the 2024 season by returning for the final seven events of the season aboard a Suzuki that is prepared by the Vance & Hines team.

Scali plans to return at the NHRA U.S. Nationals and then finish the season at the final six Countdown events in Reading, Charlotte, St. Louis, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Pomona.

“When I went to Chicago, I’d been off a [Pro Stock] bike for 18 years, and part of me thought I didn’t have it anymore, but I surprised myself a little bit,” said Scali. “I was within 50-rpm on all my shift points and made some straight runs and event had a decent .028 light. A part of me wishes I didn’t still have it because I could save a few dollars, I’m retired now and I really want to do this.”

During his career, Scali has won four events, the most recent being the 2003 St. Louis race. He’s also the last rider to win an NHRA event aboard a Kawasaki, riding Pete Briggs’ bike to a win at the 2002 Brainerd race. In 2003, Scali managed to hold off three-time champion Angelle Sampey to win the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship.

Scali is quick to acknowledge that today’s Pro Stock Motorcycle are much different, and much quicker than the bike he last rode nearly two decades ago, but again, he admits he’s up for the challenge, and has set new goals for himself.

“When I stopped riding, these bikes couldn’t run 200-mph and now they can. One of the things I’d like to do this year is run 200,” Scali said. “Other than that, I want to hopefully win a few rounds and just have fun.”

“I am almost 60 and I’m retired now, and have some money in bank and I’ve thought to myself, ‘Am I nuts for doing this?’  I’ve talked to my wife, and she’s good with it and I feel like I’m still sharp and I’m in good shape. I also figure if John Force can race a Funny Car at 75, I can ride a bike at 60. My only drawback is weight. I’ve lost some but I’m still above 160. I wish I could starve myself and be 137 like I was when I won the championship but that’s not going to happen.”

The thought of racing with the Vance & Hines team, alongside world champion Gaige Herrera, up-and-coming rider Richard Gadson is also something that appealed to Scali as he pondered his return.

“To have Eddie [Krawiec] and Andrew [Hines] tuning my bike, I can’t ask for better,” said Scali. “Before I came back, I’ve watched Gaige on NHRA.TV and he’s the Michael Jordan of Pro Stock Motorcycle right now. He’s the complete package. I think it’s going to be fun just to race out of the same trailer as Gaige and Richard.”