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.
DWIGHT CHATS WITH… IAN… What personal quality (one trait) would you want to
be admired for the most?
DOB: 28 June 1952
Home Town: Nottingham. "We live in Sherwood
"Grace. I hate people with no grace." What's most
"Friends."Do you have a nickname?
"Turbo!"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
"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.
"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. "
vehicle do you drive on the street?
" Stripped down,1981 FL Electra-glide."Do you work
"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
What quality do you admire most in other
"Integrity. Perseverance."When frustrated. What do you do
1.Erupt. 2.Withdraw 3. Try to be cool. 4.Other
"Try very hard to be cool and stay positive."
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."
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
"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?
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
few words, how would you sum up…yourself?
"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 www.Turboville.com. 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
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…POINTED