Pablo González Matos had one drag bike, and he raced it to six national championships in Puerto Rico. But when his son Pablo showed a real interest in following in his father’s treadmarks, Dad quit to throw his resources into his 16-year-old’s program. It was a smart move, for Pablo González went on to match his father in Puerto Rican motorcycle titles.
That was 24 years ago, and Friday at Gainesville Raceway, at the start of pro qualifying for the NHRA season-opening Amalie Oil Gatornationals, Pablo González Matos’ son was paying him back, paying tribute to his sacrifice.
The younger González, a Southeastern Drag Bike Association 6.0 Index bracket-racing champion who lives a couple of hours away at Orlando, made his debut in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, riding Blake Gann’s EBR V-twin that honored yet some else who helped his career flourish. González’s bike was one that his longtime friend Shawn Gann used to compete in what’s known today as the Camping World Drag Racing Series.
The popular, flamboyant, and friendly Shawn Gann passed away suddenly last May. But this remembrance has brought his and González’s relationship full circle. This was the race at which the González family met the Ganns, exactly 30 years ago.