Motorcycle Drag Racer, Artist, Journalist.            




When I first corresponded with Ian Turboville from the United States to the United Kingdom I questioned the authenticity of his last name. Turbo ville? He explained that is was his real name and went on to describe the history of his aristocratic heritage. TURBOVILLE is his real name, a name power-fitted to modern day speed, but a name honestly his by family. (Attention Robin Hood fans, Ian presently lives in Sherwood Forest) After two years I finally met Ian in Gainesville at the World Finals, and I discovered something else about this man with the name made for speed….at the track wall, it's hard to keep up with Ian as he runs from one photo snapping to set up for the next photo. Ian is whirlwind. He has also drag races motorcycles, so his knowledge of every second before the green light is put to good use as a motorsports photographer.

I'll share some of the images I snapped of him working, but first I'm pleased to introduce Ian Turboville, and I'm even more pleased that we got him to sit still.

DOB: 28 June 1952
Birth Town: London
Home Town: Nottingham. "We live in Sherwood Forest."

What personal quality (one trait) would you want to be admired for the most?

"Grace. I hate people with no grace."

What's most important?
1.Fame 2.Money
3.Thrill/fun 4.Winning


Do you have a nickname?


Who are your Heroes?

"Don Garlits. Many motorcycle drag racers are my heroes, mainly the Harley guys especially the nitro-mafia but on a more personal level the pro-stock boys like Dave Feazell, Bill Hannon and Dirk Higgins, they are my inspiration."

Are you happy?


"I guess. I'm a positive sort of guy and don't dwell on bad things but times are particularly hard in England at the moment and it does get me down from time to time. I try to keep focused. I think I was meant to be an American but I am not from a third world country so they won't let me stay. They can't stop me visiting though! Marty Kane's death hit me hard, we were good friends, I hope he is OK now. Godspeed Marty."

What could make you happier?

"A part from living here instead of there (US vs UK)! I guess winning a season of Supertwins top-gas and having my daughter want to be my crew chief when she grows up!"

When driving a car, do you always wear a seatbelt?
1. Yes. 2. No. 3. Sometimes?

"Yes. The roads of our small country are so overcrowded you need to."

Is photography your full-time occupation?

"At the moment. Normally I work in Design. I'm a draftsman, but the trade has disappeared. I am trying to get the race garment side of my business to grow alongside the paintings and CD's etc."

Do you have time for a hobby?

"No, I have a healthy obsession…drag racing. But I do enjoy working on the Web site and design stuff. "


What vehicle do you drive on the street?

" Stripped down,1981 FL Electra-glide."

Do you work out?

"I used to, but I don't have time now. I have a family. I used to play a football as a linebacker. That's US football in England, an amateur league sponsored by Budweiser, but I got my knees busted pretty good and I am too old for all that now."

 If you could make one part of your body stronger, what part would that be?

"My mind, and my right leg. My bike has a kicker and it's a stroker."

What quality do you admire most in other people?

"Integrity. Perseverance."

When frustrated. What do you do first?
1.Erupt. 2.Withdraw 3. Try to be cool. 4.Other

"Try very hard to be cool and stay positive."

Many Racers have a mental routine to prepare them for the run. Do you have a routine to capture your best photos?

"I'm worse with a routine with a camera, than I am with a mental routine in the staging lanes waiting to run."


What are (or have been) your scariest moments?

"The first time I launched hard on the line, I hit the wheelie bars to one side and the bike went straight toward the Christmas tree. It cost me that round of the Championship but I was glad I didn't end up with green lamps for eyeballs!"

What do you do to unwind?

"I try desperately not to get wound up, so I don't have to unwind. I take action to avoid stress. I also like to play with Laura, my five year old daughter."

If you could change one thing about drag racing, what would you change?

"It's status as a 'bizzare American minority sport' in this country, that is what the top motoring magazine here called it! Boy was I pissed at them, they wouldn't even consider the subject for a feature! Narrow minds and the establishment, the 'wall

What do you worry about the most?

" Family."

Most people learn something from mistakes. What mistake caused you to learn the most?

"I make mistakes all the time, but I learn from them. Dwelling on mistakes is a mistake. Go on and forget about them."

Who means the most to you?

"My  daughter."


How did you get started in drag racing and photography?

"Both at the same time. I went into a News Agent in the early sixties and bought a copy of Hot Rod Magazine. (US translation…a news agent is a newspaper and magazine store…a news stand) I went into to buy a comic, and I got hooked on hot rods and dragsters."


In a few words, how would you sum up…yourself?

"Old Fart."


Additional Comments?

"Drag Bikes are my obsession, and I really want to promote this sport, because I really love it. I'll keep doing that. I'll ram it down everyone's throat until they are sick of it. Watch out for some big news on my race team in 2001, I am in negotiations with my main sponsor, S&S Cycles, to try and step up to the next level of performance…so it is fingers crossed!"


Ian returned to the UK after this interview, but I'm sure he will be back. With him he took many valued photos. You can see those and other captured images by Ian on Wherever Ian Turboville is in the world, the world of drag bike racing is better off owing to this avid participant and fan. When I searched for a final word for Ian I looked for a word that combined speed and images.

Gary and I fumbled over adjectives for a while before we found a word that fits Ian's Photography and energy … We know he is focused, but like the sharp racing edge that Ian is always seeking, we believe Ian Turboville is…



Dare to Wear it!