Rider Spotlight: Shane Narbonne
NEWS September 13, 2012
Photo by Brian J Nelson
AMAP: Where are you from?
SN: I’m from Tyngsboro, Massachusetts. I’ve lived there my whole life.
AMAP: Any good riding areas in that part of Massachusetts?
SN: It’s not too bad. There aren’t too many tracks around here. We only have Loudon, NH, which is considered my home track. But, there are a lot of dirt tracks around here, so we’re pretty big into dirt track racing. It’s what I grew up doing. I dirt tracked, then switched over to road racing.
AMAP: How old were you when you first started riding motorcycles?
SN: I started riding when I was seven years old. My dad and I went to a motorcycle show. Sideways Promotion had a booth setup there, and ever since then we’ve been racing around New England doing amateur nationals and such. When I turned 15, I started road racing an RS125 at Loudon. In 2006, I turned AMA Pro. From there, it was my dad and I doing everything we could to go racing. In 2008, I got a Triumph Daytona 675 ride for the season with F Schwartz Racing. In 2009-2010, we went SuperBike racing on a GSX-R1000. I was pretty much the top privateer, which was really good for being on a very stock bike. In 2011, we did the same thing, but didn’t do it as much. We did race in East Coast rounds.
AMAP: Do you think having a flat track background helps you as road racer?
SN: I think it helps you big time. I’ve been doing it my whole life and am still doing it. Being on the bike, you have the rear wheel spinning up all the time, so it benefits you big time when it correlates to road racing.
AMAP: This year, you’ve debuted on the Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson team, and then moved to the MOB Racing team to race AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike and AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 classes. What’s it like competing in two classes on an event weekend?
SN: It was great. I can’t thank MOB Racing enough. The first of the year, I was riding with Suburban Motors on the XR1200 and MOB Racing on the 600. Then, halfway through the season, MOB Racing developed a program for the XR1200 class. I felt like I became best friends with Suburban Motors, but it was a little bit easier to be on one team. Suburban Motors understood completely, so there were no hard feelings. We’re still good buddies.
AMAP: Lately with MOB Racing, you’ve really stepped up your performance to recently win at New Jersey Motorsports Park. What’s it like to finish on top of the podium, even though you’re not in the XR Showdown?
SN: Well, we’re not in the chase because we had some bad results and mechanicals in the beginning of the year. It’s great to be up there in the last lap. I’m not trying to screw anything up… I’m just out there to go race. It’s race after race for me, compared to the guys who are worried about the championship. It’s definitely cool to ride right up against everyone in the class. It’s pretty neat because they’re aggressive, but aren’t dirty riders.
AMAP: What class do you enjoy riding in the most?
SN: I like riding in the Daytona SportBike and XR1200 classes the most. Those two classes are just so much fun to ride in. Not that I can’t ride SuperBike, but it’s tougher than riding in Daytona SportBike or XR1200. I’d probably say the XR1200 class is the most fun right now because the bikes are just so equal and we’re all on the same equipment.
AMAP: Prior to your first place finish at New Jersey Motorsports Park, tell us about your weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
SN: Indy wasn’t the best for us. I fell in qualifying and didn’t have the setup right. The front tire we used wasn’t the greatest for me, and we couldn’t get it right. There are always weekends like that though, where you can’t get stuff right.I finished 9th my first race and 10th in my second. Going into New Jersey, it was a close track to me and was the team’s home track. It was cool to show everybody how I really ride.
AMAP: What are the last two rounds on the schedule looking like for you?
SN: We’ll be going to both Homestead and NOLA, and I’ll be racing in the Daytona SportBike and XR1200 classes. I actually have quite some time at Homestead. I used to race CCS and stuff a while back, so I’m pretty familiar with the track. Homestead’s a cool track, and I’m excited to get back there, especially after my riding this past weekend.
AMAP: When you’re not racing, what’s a typical day like for you?
SN: A typical day for me is waking up at 5:30am, working 10-11 hours, come home, run four miles, spend time with my girlfriend and that’s about it. I’m a plumber. I’m doing as much as I can, so it’s nice having a great boss that lets me take off the time that I need to go racing.
AMAP: What draws you to the sport? (The thrill, competition or the speed)
SN: Everything. The speed, of course, but I’ve been doing it my whole life, and I can’t get it out of my life. I love the whole racing community. At the end of the weekend, you come home and you’re just so happy. I love going out there and giving it my all.
AMAP: What are you expectations for the rest of the season and possibly next year?
SN: For the rest of the season, my goal’s to get a podium in the next two XR1200 races and get a top-five or top-10 finish in the Daytona SportBike races. For next year, it’s too early to say. I hope MOB Racing will bring me back. We’re going race by race right now.
AMAP: Who’s your racing hero?
SN: Nicky Hayden. I grew up as a little kid hanging out with him at the AMA Pro Flat Track races when he raced dirt track.