Jan Sturla Hegre knows best of both worlds, Top Fuel and Super Twin
In only its second year, the number of championships in the EDRS Pro Nordic Motorcycle Championship will go up to four. For the first time Top Fuel Motorcycle, the fastest category in motorcycle drag racing, will be an official championship in 2015. One of the favourites to win that first EDRS title is Jan Sturla Hegre, generally recognized as one of the most talented motorcycle drag racers in Europe. The young Norwegian racer already made a name in Super Twin, but will now concentrate on the Uggerud Bros Top Fuel Motorcycle, to claim that first EDRS Pro Nordic MC Top Fuel title for Norway.
The now 27-year-old Jan Sturla Hegre already scored some great results in Super Twin, when he was asked by the Uggerud Brothers to ride their brand new Top Fuel Motorcycle. And although Jan Sturla still raced, and will race, his Super Twin, from that moment he focussed on the new Top Fuel Motorcycle. “They offered me to ride their brand new Top Fuel Bike. You really can’t say no, can you? And, after some big explosions in the USA, my Super Twin needed an overhaul to be competitive again. The bike was fast and easy to ride, but started to fall apart. So their offer came at the right moment”, Jan Sturla says.
“It’s a simple bike, built with some good parts. The frame, and a lot of the engine and related parts are from Puma. The head is a modified Wortex II. A Swedish made CNC head will be ready soon, which is a further improvement. The bike net weight is 420 kg, so rider included just under 500 kg. The clutch is a custom made titanium version of the MTC clutch and the exhaust pipes are custom made to the rider. The team was very happy with last season. We only used a few parts and got the bike running faster and faster. The ET was never very good. Like many others, we struggled to get the engine run over the full quarter-mile. But the 60ft and 1/8 mile times were getting better and better. The team itself was also working very well, and everyone had a good time. Too bad we had a really big detonation on our last test race at Kjula at the end of the season. That destroyed most of our engine, from the con-rods and up. We want to get the engine to run the full quarter-mile this season and then a low 6-second run, or even faster should be possible.”
Jan Sturla started in motocross, before switching to drag racing. “Family friends and my father, who was big in Harley Drags and Super Twin back in those days, were involved in Hawgs Racing. I actually met my father for the first time on a dragstrip since my very early childhood. The guys at Hawgs Racing made it possible for me to start racing. They lent me a bike, a Buell 1200. I was 14 years old at that time. There it all started for me.”
The next step was a big one, as Jan Sturla stepped up from Junior Bike to Super Twin. “I think the experience from motocross was very helpful, and I’m quite calm, can focus and concentrate. But the first time I hit the throttle on a supercharged Super Twin, it was very extreme. I remember it as the world shrank to a tunnel for every hit at the throttle, but this effect wore off after some runs. The difficult thing is to find enough time and money to put into the bike and team to be on top. If you are lacking one of these, everything gets more difficult and even more expensive. So when I race, I must be fully dedicated to enjoy it. This can be very difficult at times. In many ways my mother supported me a lot through the years.”
Jan Sturla, who lives in Skreia, Toten, is very proud of the win in the Hungarian Super Twin race in 2011. “I’m most proud of my old crew chief, he made it possible to win that UEM race. He worked the clutch like no other, both before and during the race, and was out-tuning all the others on a really slippery track. Ingar Nettum is also the clutch guy for Svein Olav Rolfstad, who made the world’s fastest eight mile run on a Super Twin so far.” Jan Sturla hopes to run his own Super Twin again in 2015. “I hope to finish the build-up of my Super Twin by mid-season. The Old “Blown Cat” will be riding again, but now with the new Twin Cam engine from Rolfstad Pro Dragracing. In 2016 I hope to run both bikes and in the long term, when the Twin Cam engines start to run stable low sixes, I would like to do some USA tours.”
With a personal best of 6.60 seconds and 340 km/h with the Super Twin, and 6.55 seconds and 320 km/h with the Top Fuel Bike, Jan Sturla can compare both types of motorcycles. “My old 13” Super Twin was like riding a horse; stubborn and fast, but agile. The 14” and very long Top Fuel Bike is like riding a rhino, very fast but a full day job to steer. The riding position is somewhat more natural on a Super Twin, they are more like bikes. A Top Fuel Bike is often built by a different person than the one who rides it. So only the principal and technical aspects of going fast are taken into account. Bikes like the one I drive, also require a lot of power from the engine to control them. “Safe setups” are not always a good idea. To feel the difference, try to sit on the Uggerud Bros bike, then Jaska’s “Nitro duke”, which is probable to best riding frame all over. You will be surprised.”
In June at Tierp Arena Jan Sturla Hegre and Uggerud Bros Racing will start their hunt for the title. In his Top Fuel title fight Jan Sturla will be supported by Otto Olsen (www.oo.no), Arias Pistons, JCC Enterprises, Ekspert.no bildekor and Beconor AS.