NDRC All Stars: Ace Edwards – Champion on Two or Four Wheels

Born into drag racing, Queenslander Ace Edwards has been racing with two and four wheels throughout the sportsman ranks. While the NDRC Ambassador has found record setting and championship success across several disciplines in the sport, it is the challenge of sportsman racing that keeps him competing.

“For me personally, I love the mental game and I love the strategy involved, but the great thing about sportsman racing is there is no right or wrong way to win races. At the end of the day, you need to have a plan, but then you need to execute it,” said Edwards.

The National Drag Racing Championship (NDRC) is the pinnacle of sportsman drag racing in Australia and one of the biggest attractions is, and unlike many other forms of motorsport, racing and winning is obtainable for anyone equally. 

“I love sportsman racing because it is such an even playing field for every competitor. You don’t need to have the latest and greatest equipment to be competitive,” said Edwards.

“Anyone can win on any given day. You can’t just sit back and rely on past results; you need to consistently show up and perform at your best otherwise someone is going to put you on the trailer. Over the years I have learned to take losing much better than I used to, but I would say I have an addiction to winning. Sure, drag racing is a hell of a lot of fun, but winning is the most fun.

“That said you shouldn’t be afraid to race at NDRC events just because you don’t think you are good enough. I still get those first round jitters, but over the years I have managed to control them much better than I used to, but the only way to normalise that first round feeling is to put yourself in the situation more often. If you can just get through that first round, you’ll feel the weight fall off your shoulders and you could find yourself going rounds.

Edwards’ father started racing in the late 80s and as happens young Ace Edwards grew up at the race track with no question what would be in his future.

“Growing up around drag racing I knew that I wanted to race as soon as I possibly could, so I bugged my parents for years for a junior dragster and finally got the breakthrough in 2005 when I licenced in my junior dragster,” recalled Edwards.

With the team needing space in the race trailer, and the difficulty of trying to run a Super Sedan and now two junior dragsters (Ace’s sister has also begun racing) all at the same race meeting, Edwards’ father switched to a more maintainable Suzuki Hayabusa, it was a move that changed the direction of Ace’s drag racing career.

“When I turned 17, my dad bought me a brand new Hayabusa street bike to race. All his mates thought he was mad putting his 17-year-old son straight onto the world’s quickest production motorcycle, considering the quickest bike I had ridden before that was a 125cc dirt bike,” laughed Edwards.

“We ended up travelling around racing street bikes together for a couple of years, trying to master the art of launching a stock wheelbase bike. We had a lot of fun and did a whole lot of unplanned wheelies. In 2012 the urge to go much faster had taken hold and I purchased a turbo Hayabusa out of the States. It was very much a street bike with a turbo kit and a longer swingarm but was missing a lot of the major components to really push too hard at breaking any records – the best ET I got out of that bike in that configuration was an 8.0 at 175mph.

After a trip to America watching Pro Street Motorcycles blast out six second ETs, Edwards was inspired and knew what he had to do to go quick. The ECU was upgraded, and the bike converted to methanol, after battling some handling issues the bike broke well into the sevens for the first time in 2016 with a 7.57. The desire to go even quicker now entrenched Edwards set Australian history in 2017 with the first six-second no-bar motorcycle pass in the country (6.93).

“I would say my dreams had come true, but to be honest I never could have even dreamt of running a six-second pass until it happened,” said Edwards.

Much of the credit Edwards gives to one of his inspirations in drag racing.

“Blaze Hansen is someone who has taught me the majority of what I know about drag racing, that goes from power management, clutches, suspension and chassis tuning, autos and everything in between,” said Edwards. “Not to mention the calibre of welder and fabricator he is. I mean, he could literally build you a race car from the ground up, tune every aspect of the car and go out and win and set records along the way! Blaze played a massive part in me being able to run that first six-second pass, without him, I would probably still be trying to break into the sevens.”

Family life changed Edward’s priorities after that, only running locally at Benaraby Raceway until 2022 when Edwards decided to jump back into something on four wheels. A third generation Pontiac Firebird out of America was bought, the same make and model as his father used to race and because he loved the shape, the car also had some TV fame featuring on Pink’s All Out with big cube nitrous power. Edwards was eyeing up the challenge of Super Sedan as his bracket of choice and a 468ci carburetted Big Block Chev was dropped in with a FuelTech ECU managing the ignition control and datalogging.

“The whole idea was to run Super Sedan and after making our first few test runs, we had run mid 10s which fit us into Super Sedan perfectly,” said Edwards. “Since I was a kid, I had always been of the opinion that Super Sedan was the toughest sportsman class in the country, especially before Top Sportsman kicked off. I remember 100 plus Super Sedan cars at the Winternationals in the mid-2000s and I just always wanted to test myself one day against the biggest field and toughest racers.

Success came quickly winning the 2023 Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway, continuing an impressive streak at an event that has a special place in his heart – it was Edward’s third straight Winternationals win all in different brackets. After winning the Winternationals in Modified Bike in 2015 – also claiming the National Championship in the bracket in 2016 – Edwards won Performance Bike in 2021 and Extreme Bike in 2022 before his Super Sedan victory in 2023.

Back in the groove the focus now shifts to the thrilling NDRC Aeroflow Championship Series platform.

“I am so excited for the new NDRC series and what it can bring to our sport. Bringing everyone together from the Pros to Sportsman will continue to build it into Australia’s greatest motorsport,” said Blaze. “I have pencilled in a rough calendar for the year, and it is very NDRC heavy. I love eliminations racing and I love racing for Gold Trees, so it is the perfect series for me. To me, the gold tree is the pinnacle of the sport and I want to end up with a truck load of them before I hang up the helmet.”

Edwards is also heavily into producing digital content documenting his racing exploits, not only does it help his own racing program, but it also provides an enormously interesting insight into what is involved in sportsman racing.

“My YouTube channel ‘Aussie Bracket Racer’ was just something I started out doing because I had seen a lot of great bracket racing in car videos, but with no pre- or post-race commentary. So, I basically took it upon myself to start my own,” explained Edwards. “It has served multiple purposes in my racing program, one of them is that it keeps me accountable. In my pre-race chats, I will outline my plan and then obviously in my post-race chat I can reflect on how I executed the plan. There is no hiding or changing my story after the run.

“In my latest videos, I have even added an in-helmet microphone where you can listen to me from the burnout pad all the way through to the return road. I also use the channel as a racing resume, as I have a burning desire to go big dollar bracket racing in the USA sometime in the next few years. I hope that if I can continue to have good results, it will help me to be able to cut a deal to race some big events over there.

“As for the viewers, I hope I am providing entertainment and some basic knowledge and tactics around sportsman racing. I may even have some of my competitors watching it and coming up with new tactics to use against me when we line up, although I got plenty of tricks left in my book yet.”

You can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/@aussiebracketracer

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