Over the course of thousands of runs by NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycles over the years, accidents have been relatively rare. Instead, the wild rides — hanging off the bike to keep it upright, rider separations, backflips — have been reserved for more powerful and unpredictable bikes like those in Top Fuel Harley, Pro Street, and elsewhere. The track record of safety and absence of hair-raising moments might suggest the NHRA’s two-wheelers are easy machines to maneuver and master…but then, an accident like the one endured by Jianna Salinas on Sunday afternoon highlights the danger these bikes still possess.
The second-generation professional drag racer, daughter of Top Fuel ace Mike Salinas, experienced a weekend of extremes at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals outside Chicago. The 21-year-old series rookie, one of six women to qualify for the Pro Stock Motorcycle field at the Route 66 Raceway, was on cloud nine after earning her first career round win in an upset defeat of a higher-qualified Hector Arana (five of the six females advanced to round two in an upset-filled day of racing).
But in round two, the pendulum of good fortunes swung the other direction while racing opposite of Hector Arana, Jr. Jianna, with a sizable advantage out of the gate, drifted toward the centerline and fought valiantly to keep her Scrappers Racing Suzuki in her own lane. The striking of the 1,000-foot speed and elapsed time blocks ultimately led to her undoing, as the bike turned right, laying over onto its bodywork before careening into the guardrail. Fortunately, Jianna utilized her instincts to bail from the bike before it could carry her into the wall with it, thus helping her escape without major injury.
Noted Jianna, who suffered only bumps, bruises, and hurt pride in the incident, via social media: “This weekend was definitely filled with highs and lows! Not only did I run my personal best, but I also won my first round during E1. Unfortunately, I took a spill during E2 and I can’t thank the NHRA Safety Safari enough for the speedy response and assistance they gave me through the process. It was truly amazing. For now I will remember the happiness from E1 and learn from E2 as I heal. Thank you for all the kind wishes and support from everyone this weekend!”