by Keith Courson
circa April 1995
Shawn Higbee Wants To Dominate His Sport
While the task requires nothing short of sincere dedication, hours of work and the passion to succeed, Jamestown native Shawn Higbee, now in his second motorcycle racing season with Team Bartels Racing in the AMA Super Twins Series, won't stop until he attains that level.
After winning the 1994 Harley-Davidson Twin Sport National Championship with four wins and eight of 10 pole positions, Higbee wants more.
"I have a continuing goal of retaining the title," noted the Southwestern Central School graduate, "but this year I want to win as many races as possible. I want to dominate."
Higbee and three-time series champ Scott Zampach recently dueled during Bike Week at Daytona Beach.
They put on a spectacular show, exchanging the lead about 12 times before Zampach edged Higbee out for checkered flag at the completion of seven laps on the 4-mile road course.
The race, which was the first of the season, was shown last weekend on American Sports Cavalcade on The Nashville Network.
"I felt like I rode pretty decent," said Higbee. "I've been working with Keith Code (a road racing instructor who offers classes all over the country) and his instruction has helped me out a lot. I felt like I could have won. I just didn't put myself into position."
Code has assisted some of the top riders in the world, including Superbike rider Scott Russell who fell, lost several positions and still blitzed through the field to win the Daytona 200, which was live on TNN.
Higbee and Zampach especially thrilled the crowd on the banked portion of the Daytona course.
Higbee, while trailing, utilized the draft on several occasions to come from some 20 to 30 feet back and shoot by Zampach for the lead. "It's fun to be in the draft and be able to pull up on somebody like that," he said.
The two popular riders and the rest of the Super Twins Series will be competing at Pomona, California this weekend.
"Scott and I are definitely going to be two contenders for the title," Higbee said, "but there are probably four or five riders that could be on the podium at any race."
Originally, Higbee was scheduled to make his debut on the Harley-Davidson ZR 1000 this year and get a taste of Superbike, the highest level of motorcycle racing in America.
However, the Bartels stable has decided against the move for now and will probably field a bike for Higbee next year - and maybe in the later stages of this season.
"They've made the bike relatively quick," said Higbee. "That's my main goal - to move up to Superbike."
While Higbee has attempted to better himself on the track, Bartels Racing has done the same.
The Harley-Davidson dealer has jumped from existing as a two-member team a year ago, to five riders this season. All are competing in the Super Twins series.
"We are all kind of crossing over (racing on asphalt and dirt surfaces)," said Higbee. "I am concentrating on road racing, but I will probably run on five or six dirt tracks this year. Altogether, I think we have 12 bikes now."
Besides seeking the professional riding instruction of Code, the defending champ is also trying to better prepare himself for race conditions.
"That is an area I have tried to watch. I've tried to prepare myself mentally and to watch my diet. Physical conditioning and mental preparation are the key," he added, admitting that he enjoys riding bikes without motors every once in a while.
Right now Higbee is at the top of his game and already has an impressive resume - but to him that simply isn't good enough.
"I'd like to make it even more convincing," he concluded. "My goal would be to win a runaway race. I need to make it stand out a bit to make it show for the other Superbike teams."
Going fast has become an obsession for Higbee and with his drive to win - and win big - we should see him standing on that victory podium quite a bit this year.