GRAVENHURST — By day Brad Rundle quietly manages the entertainment lineup at Gravenhurst Opera House, but by night he roars down the track at speeds of up to 145 miles per hour on his four-cylinder, 180-horsepower Suzuki GSX-R1100 drag bike.
Brad Rundle gets set at the start line at Toronto Motorsports Park on his Suzuki GSX R1100 drag bike. The manager of the Gravenhurst Opera House finished fourth overall in the bike/sled class of the Ontario Street Car Association 2011 race series.
Photo courtesy of TG Photography
The 48-year-old theatre manager is celebrating an outstanding season on the racetrack after finishing fourth overall with 117 points in the bike/sled class of the Ontario Street Car Association 2011 race series.
After attending all seven events, Rundle found himself in the top five, six points ahead of his closest competitor, another local resident, and one spot shy of the podium.
Rundle said it was his final event at Toronto Motorsports Park Sept. 17-18 that gave him the edge.
That weekend Rundle qualified first out of a field of more than 20 bikes with a personal best time of 9.209 seconds in the quarter-mile. He had two perfect reaction times off the start line, comparable to a hole in one, Rundle said.
“Qualifying first gave me additional points, the advantage of the lane of my choice and moved me up in the standings,” he said. “That last weekend was my best event.”
Although Rundle has had a long-standing affinity for two-wheeled hot rods, he took his passion to the racetrack after accompanying his friend and fellow drag racer John Oake to the track.
“I’ve been riding bikes since I was nine, starting out with mini-bikes. I always had a motorcycle,” he said. “When I went to the races with John I noticed they were holding time trials for bikes, so I started to trailer mine down and do some time trial events.”
Rundle has been drag racing competitively with various street bikes, purpose-built and converted for the track, for the past four years. His current drag bike combines a 1989 frame that has been cut, welded and lowered with a 1300cc 1991 motor with different pistons and a race fairing. The whole package, modified with a seven-inch slick tire and wheelie bars, weighs about 350 pounds.
His interest in the breakneck hobby grew as the OSCA created a series for bikes.
“It’s great fun,” he said.
Over the winter Rundle enjoys spending time working on his bikes, adding tricks like air shifters, but reserves the major work for a mechanic.
Other racers too, have had successes with his past machines. Mark Stein of Blaine’s Automotive in Severn Bridge came fifth in the bike/sled class on a drag bike Rundle sold him last year.
“I plan to join the same series and try again next year,” Rundle said. “I’m looking at another bike or a bigger, faster motor for my current bike.”
One day he hopes to race on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats where a number of world land speed records have been set.
“It’s on my bucket list,” he said of the 10-mile flat run. “I’d like to do that next year.”
Those who know Rundle are quite surprised that his day job and weekend life are at two different extremes.
“It takes people off guard that I’m involved in the arts and drag racing,” said Rundle. “They are two very different preoccupations. But I was interested in motorcycles long before the arts, so don’t make me choose. I enjoy them both very much.”