It seems like forever since NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle class has competed in a national event.

Especially for reigning world champion Gaige Herrera.

After dominating the season-opening Gatornationals March 8-10 in Gainesville, Fla., qualifying No. 1 and collecting his 12th career Wally at the 4-Nationals in Charlotte, N.C. (April 26-28).

“I feel like it's like a little teaser,” Herrera said. “You get the first race over with and then you got to sit out six weeks until Charlotte. “So, it's kind of hard. You get in the groove to go racing and then you got to sit out and then it's all of a sudden, it's, oh, we got to get back to it and get back in the right mindset to go out there and continue racing. And then after that, I think we have a couple of weeks off until (Chicago). I would say it's kind of a little difficult to stay focused, but I'm so busy outside of racing (as a pipefitter). I think it might be a little easier.”

Herrera, who pilots the RevZilla/Mission/Vance & Hines Suzuki, is correct. Following the Charlotte 4-Wide event, the Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors will not return to action until the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by Peak Performance May 17-19 at Route 66 Raceway in Chicago.

​A year ago, Herrera made his inaugural appearance at the 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte and looked like a seasoned veteran qualifying No. 1 and winning the event.

“I’m always looking forward to running there,” Herrera said. “The track surface is very nice and it just an all-around nice facility. Last year was my first time there in Charlotte. I saw it on TV and stuff, but as far as being there and experiencing it with the nitro cars and everything it is something you can’t experience at all. Not just being on the starting line, but just being in the stands with four nitro cars, four bikes, four Pro Stock cars, it is pretty cool. There is a lot going on.”



Herrera acknowledged he was concerned about his starting line routine the first time he competed at the 4-Wide in Charlotte.

“My biggest worry just getting thrown off my normal routine,” Herrera said. “You have to worry about three other competitors, not just one so you have to pay attention a lot more. You have to make sure you get two-step soon enough before someone gets timed out or you get timed out. There is so much going through your head, and I feel like you are sometimes more worried about that than getting in pre-staged and staged and cutting a light. There’s just so much going on. You are trying to do all that and cut a light, it is very difficult. You have to stay on your toes the whole time and it’s exciting. I like it.”

When Herrera and his fellow PSM competitors compete in Charlotte, there will be a change they will face in the class.

“After Gainesville the NHRA tech department switched from Sunoco Cyclone 17 to Sunoco SR18,” Herrera said. “SR18 and Cyclone were both allowed to be ran before and now they (NHRA) are making it to where there’s only one fuel that is allowed (which is Sunoco SR18). We were running Cyclone which is called the called the red fuel and now we are going to run SR18. I’m sure it will have a little change (in the performance). A different fuel always reacts different to different engine combos. The SR18 was more prone to the Buells, and V-Twins and the Cyclone was better for the Suzukis. That’s going to be a learning curve for sure, but I have a good team, and with all the EFI technology I don’t think it will be so bad.”

Herrera said his team has not been doing any testing since the Gators – just plenty of work being done at the Vance & Hines headquarters. Herrera, meanwhile, is still trying to digest the fact that he has won 12-of-16 races and been a No. 1 qualifier 15 times since joining Vance & Hines prior to the 2023 season.

“There’s still a lot to take in and it almost seems like it is not real, I have just been living the dream,” Herrera said.