© 2001 Dwight Drum
CHRIS 'CANNON' HANNAM
Select quote…"Fat…fast…and good looking."
When you first see the 'Cannon', you don't expect to see him straddle a beefy motorcycle and race others half his size. Expect the unexpected. Chris Hannam is a competitive and competent motorcycle drag racer who loves to defy his size and seek the speed. This 'Cannon' enjoys the crowd marveling over his hefty efforts. At nearly four hundred pounds, you might expect Chris to be fixed to a couch. As I said, expect the unexpected. This 'Cannon' chooses instead to rip down the track at great speeds. Read on and see what motivates this huge man.
DWIGHT CHATS WITH CHRIS HANNAM:
What personal quality (one trait) would you want to be admired for the most?
Birth Town: Keighley, Yorkshire, England
Home Town: Leeds
"I'm big. I live life to the fullest. I try to beat the little guys at their sport. I shouldn't be penalized for being big."
What's most important?
"Thrill and the fun. I get recognized and I get sponsorship. I weigh over twenty-seven stones. One stone is fourteen pounds. I've dropped about twenty pounds, so now I weigh about 390 pounds."
Do you have a nickname?
Who are your Heroes?
"I've never really thought about that. I look up to Jay Regan."
Are you happy?
"Definitely. I've done stunt riding before 24,000 spectators. There I did wheelies for a quarter mile on a Suzuki Bandit at 168 mph. I had the world wheelie record on that Bandit. Suzuki gave me the bike. I rebuilt it in three weeks, as I do my own engine work. Stunt riding is dangerous. In eleven years I've gone from a standard street bike to a Funny Bike."
What could make you happier?
"A six second pass. We finished second in England this year with only 25 passes. I want to win a championship."
When driving a car, do you always wear a seatbelt?
1. Yes. 2. No. 3. Sometimes?
Is racing your full-time occupation?
"I have an engineering business, clutch parts. Parts you can't buy. I manufacture them. People wonder how can a guy my size can go so fast? Answer: I added my turbo system."
Do you have time for a hobby?
"This is my hobby. Motorcycles are my hobby."
What vehicle do you drive on the street?
"Suzuki 1200 Bandit over…1216…nice street bike. I also have a Mitsubishi Lancer."
Do you work out?
"Yeah. Recently. I do now. To lose weight so the bike will go faster next year."
Name one other sport, you feel you could excel at or master?
"Do well at? I was a Rally driver for three years. I've won a couple of road rallies."
If you could make one part of your body stronger, what part would that be?
"The mind. Mind over matter. It would help me lose weight. Keep me out of the pie shelf."
Do you have pets?
Do you have a special diet?
What quality do you admire most in other people?
"People who take you for what you are. I talk to everyone."
When frustrated. What do you do first?
1.Erupt. 2.Withdraw 3. Try to be cool. 4.Other
"I handle pressure very well. If it's my fault, I can work through that. Wind people up. Give me five minutes, and I'm fine."
What mental routine prepares you for each run?
"I don't have a routine in England. We're fast enough to win. Over here everyone's nervous. Nervous is food. Racing here is a reality check."
What are (or have been) your scariest moments?
"First time I did the world wheelie record. I never road the bike before and it came up violently and went 168 mph. I couldn't see where I was going. Black visor at night…7.70 Best time was 7.33 at 191 mph. Then at Bradenton when I first got the funny bike. G-forces and shifting were awesome. I was shocked, but not scared. I want to qualify. I need to get my weight down. I don't like to do anything I can't win at."
What do you do to unwind?
If you could change one thing about drag racing, what would you change?
"I wouldn't change anything. In our organization the people making decisions aren't the right people. It's professionally done here in the US."
When asleep do you ever dream you are racing?
Where do you find the most peace in your life?
"I don't know. I don't have a problem with anything, when I'm around friends."
You're a skilled racer… On public highways, what's different about you and other drivers?
"I'm a good driver. You've got to think ahead, and be on the ball. I've never been off the bike or crashed a car. I have good reflexes. I drive and think about bikes. I do."
What do you worry about the most?
"I don't worry about anything now. Financially I went out on my own…after two years it's fine."
Can you describe the G-forces at the tree…The launch?
"Phenomenal. The weight transfers to me. You'd better hang on."
What does your fastest speed feel like?
"In drag racing 181 mph. The helmet was pushing my face. I've done a 192 mph wheelie…that pumps up the body arms and shoulders ache."
Most people learn something from mistakes. What mistake caused you to learn the most?
"When we set up the bike, we run. After that we are careful about setting. Only change one thing at a time."
At the end of the track just after a run, whom do you think about first?
"I'm impatient. I want overnight success."
If you could acquire three traits from three people, what traits would you take from whom?
"Billy Vose..ability to pull It out of the bike. The US..The way the American drag racing is done. Good environment. Good presentation. Dave Beck...He dominates racing in England."
How did you get started in drag racing?
"1989 on my street bike. Andrew Richards, my uncle, was heavily involved in drag racing."
In a few words, how would you sum up…yourself?
"Fat…fast…and good looking."
"I'd like to thank everybody who supports drag racing. I want to thank the good support from my crew. I couldn't do it without them. I thank Jay Regan. He got me back into this."
When a racer weighs nearly four hundred pounds and can still punch a hole in the air and attain respectable Elapsed Times aboard a growling Funny Bike, you'd have to agree that is rather remarkable. Chris 'Cannon' Hannam ignores his weight, and goes straight away to the speed. Because he chooses to compete, I found a word that recognizes his determination and his girth. Gary Larsen agreed, Chris 'Cannon' Hannam is a…