with Cory Dukehart | Mossy Oak ProStaffer
It’s a question we have to answer probably a few hundred thousand times in our life, from when we are in grade school and throughout our adult life. Whether you are choosing a t-shirt to wear or picking a new truck to buy off of the lot, we are always faced with the question, “What is your favorite color?” For me that answer has always been “camo,” and more specifically Mossy Oak camo. But I am not alone; there are millions of folks across this country with the same opinion. Mossy Oak is their favorite color!
We can all find a t-shirt in our favorite Mossy Oak pattern without a problem. But what do we do when we find ourselves looking for an automobile dressed up in our favorite color, or if we have a vehicle in need of a facelift? This was the question Brian Canoles found himself pondering last December when he decided his drag bike could use a new look.
Brian is well established as one of the best Top Sportsman drag bike racers on the east coast, but he is also a diehard outdoorsman. I met Brian a little over a year ago when I ended up buying a hunting dog from a friend who had bred to Brian’s male dog. Since then, Brian and I have seen each other at a few coonhound events in our area and have kept in touch.
Last December Brian reached out to me explaining that he was looking for a product that he could wrap his motorcycle with so that it would all be finished in Mossy Oak Break-Up. I knew right away that I had to send him to Mossy Oak Graphics.
If you are not familiar with the company, Mossy Oak Graphics is the only officially licensed source of Mossy Oak camouflaged patterns for vinyl graphics. They use industry leading cast vinyl as well as state-of-the-art print processes. And they are without a doubt the best option for anyone looking to turn anything from a car, ATV, a firearm, or even a motorcycle that will run a quarter mile in less than 8 seconds into a redneck’s dream!
Having used Mossy Oak Graphics on my own truck I knew someone like Brian would have no issues installing the product on his bike, but I didn’t realize how great it would really look until I saw the pictures for myself.
Coming from someone who knows little to nothing about motorcycles or drag racing I decided to sit down with Brian and conduct a quick interview so we could get the real answers from a guy who knows both very well.
Cory Dukehart: How long have you been racing? And how did you get involved in the sport?
Brian Canoles: I’ve been racing regularly since 2004. I have always been a so called "hot rod-er" ever since I was a kid. I was fixing up lawnmowers and mini bikes. I first went to the drag strip when I was in high school. I had a 1977 Dodge Aspen R/T that I thought was pretty fast. I learned real quick what fast was, and it wasn't my car! Through the years I built and sold lots of cars...losing money on all of them. I had a really fast Duster that would run high 8 second passes but soon realized my wallet wasn't big enough to go fast in a car.
My brother in law at the time was getting into drag racing bikes and it seemed to be the way to go fast on a lot less money. To a certain extent that is true but like any drag racer, fast isn't fast enough. I had the first two bikes built by others as I was a car guy and was out of the loop on drag bikes. I still remember the first time I twisted the throttle on my first drag bike; I almost took out my chain-link fence! They are nothing like a street bike; the tire is square, not rounded and they do not like to turn. But I figured that out soon enough. After the first two bikes I had, I decided to build my own chassis and purchased the equipment to do so. It seemed I built a different bike every year for a while until I refined what I felt was the ultimate Bracket Racing Bike.
CD: How long have you been hunting? And how did you get involved in the outdoors?
BC: As far as hunting, I was raised like so many others around the outdoors. My Dad and uncle were my biggest influence as far as deer, squirrel and turkey hunting. As a kid, I always looked forward to hunting camp at Short Mountain, WV every year. When I was a kid it was all about the actual shooting. As I am now 40, I am just as satisfied in watching and enjoying the peace and quiet of the outdoors. Don't get me wrong, I would love to harvest a trophy buck, but it seems as though they are few and far between.
My real passion as far as hunting goes is coon hunting. My grandfather and Dad used to take me as early as 10 years old. It left such an impression on me that I enjoy it over all hunting. Throughout my 20s I would try to get back to coon hunting off and on but it seemed life always got in the way. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I got fully into coon hunting again. I found two lost coon hounds while driving a mile or so from home. While I had them, I fed and watered them while awaiting their owners; they sparked that flame again. There is just something about a good hound. As most look forward to the first day of deer season, I look forward to the first day of coon season.
CD: Tell us a little bit about the series that you race in and some of your accomplishments in that series?
BC: I race at my local track, Mason Dixon Dragway, in Hagerstown, MD. I have raced there since 2004. During the 9 years I raced in points, I have finished no lower than 3rd. I have 4 Track Championships, two 2nd place finishes, and three 3rd place finishes. I sat out 2012 in bikes and raced a car for a change but soon discovered there’s nothing like the acceleration of a drag bike.
I won my 4th Championship this past season (2013), even though I missed 4 races due to the MIROCK SERIES that I also race in. I had really just started racing the MIROCK events last year. These events run up and down the east coast from Atco, NJ to Rockingham, NC. I built a bike that would qualify for Top Sportsman, which is the fastest 32 bracket bikes out of over 500-600 bikes at these events. Top Sportsman is a points class and I finished 2nd my first year, missing 1st by only 30 points. I have won 2 NHRA National Dragster Challenges, 2nd in a NHRA King of the Track race, 2nd Place in two NHRA Summit Racing ET Division 1 Nationals, 1 Pro ET MIROCK win, and 1 Top Sportsman win.
Just like hunting, with racing you become part of a family and develop a close bond with fellow racers.
CD: What are some of the hunting accomplishments you have had in your life?
BC: My accomplishments in hunting are not as glamorous as racing. I have shot a few nice turkeys and a few nice bucks. I really enjoy bow hunting. I like to be up close to the deer. Like I said earlier, coon hunting with my hounds is my favorite type of hunting. I really enjoy the sense of pride you get from training your young hounds and watching them perform in the woods. It’s always nerve racking when you cut them loose at night with all the dangers they could encounter.
I currently have a NiteChampion, Bench Show Champion, and Hunt Test Titled (HTX)Treeing Walker coonhound named "Sleepy Creeks Tough Times Rowdy" that I am extremely proud of. He has won quite a few shows and hunts in UKC. He also doubles as a house dog along with my Blue Gascon hound and both are very spoiled.
Along with hunting, I also enjoy bass fishing when I get time from hunting, racing and work. I have been fortunate enough to have caught and released quite a few 4 and 5 pounders plus Smallmouth. I used to do a lot of Bass tournaments years ago and always finished pretty well.I’ve always wanted to do a black bear hunt and elk hunt but being a small business owner, time and money just hasn't allowed me to pursue those adventures yet. I do, however, plan on trying to make more effort to do a black bear hunt in the near future.
CD: Tell us about your bike. What are some of the specs?
BC: My bike that I currently have is another that I have built from the ground up. I do all the chassis work, wiring and engine work, paint and assembly myself. I used to pay a chassis builder and engine builder, but I am the type that likes to do things myself. When you do it all there is only one person to blame when things go wrong. I currently have run a best ET of 7.89 at 169.9 mph. I still haven't hit that 170 mph mark quite yet. It is a turbo charged Suzuki Hayabusa powered 10-inch car tire drag bike. The engine is actually all stock with a 1-2-3 auto transmission and a slider clutch. It is capable of a lot more, but racing on a budget tends to make one a little apprehensive to turn up the boost. I plan on putting together another engine with some stronger internals so that I can turn up the power a little. My plans are to qualify #1 at a MIROCK Top Sportsman race. I have qualified a personal best of #2 so far.
CD: Is there any comparison to the thrill of a race to that of a hunt?
BC: There is definitely an adrenaline rush with both. With hunting, lots of things are out of your control. So you have a sense of not knowing exactly what’s going to happen at any particular time. With racing there is always something that can go wrong but things are in a controlled environment. So you usually know what’s going to happen. Both require focus, but when you are riding something that pulls that kind of g-force and doesn't care if it kills you, you tend to focus a little more! As with coon hunting, there is always the suspense when arriving to the tree. The same as when you reach the finish line on a close race and wait to see whose win light comes on.
CD: What is your favorite animal to hunt or type of hunt?
BC: So far, it is coon hunting. I don't competition hunt as much as I used to but pleasure hunt every chance I get. I think by racing all summer, I enjoy the laid back pleasure hunt over the sometimes high emotions of a competition hunt. I say favorite "so far" because I would love to hunt bear with hounds or even mountain lion. I believe it’s more the thrill of the hounds running and treeing more than the game you are hunting. But I think seeing a black bear up in that tree or mountain lion would be pretty awesome.
CD: Your bike looks amazing, what made you want to wrap the bike in Mossy Oak?
BC: I have always preferred Mossy Oak over the others. As soon as that Break Up design came out I was hooked. So when I was given the opportunity to wrap my drag bike there was no other choice for me. I had wanted to do it for years. I love to hunt and love to race, so my thought was to combine both of my passions. There are a lot of racers that are also outdoorsmen, so the decision to do it was a no brainer. This bike attracts the attention from the people I want to attract, the outdoorsmen. It has gotten far more positive attention and compliments than I would have imagined. It is THE ONLY camo bike at any track I have raced. Even at the events that have over 600 entries.
CD: You completed the entire install process of Mossy Oak Graphics to your bike on your own. Tell us a little bit about the process.
BC: I decided after watching the videos on MossyoakGraphics.com that I would do the install myself. The material is beautiful with lots of detail. As far as the application process, with the complex curves of the body of the bike, it probably wasn't the best choice for a first time project. But like I said earlier, I like to do things myself. So with the help of my wife and 10 hours of heat gun, stretching and forming, we got it done. It was surprisingly easy to form and very forgiving. Being it was my first time attempting this, it turned out great. Now that we have done it, I think I could do a little better if I had to do it again, maybe on my next bike!?
I would like to thank my wife for always supporting me in my hunting and racing that consumes so much time and money, Mossy Oak Graphics for supplying me with the material and interest in this project, and last but not least, Cory Dukehart for showing interest and jump starting this whole thing. Thank you all!
CD: Thanks Brian. We appreciate your time!
You have to appreciate the speed and power of these bikes regardless of if you are into that sort of thing or not. But I appreciate it even more when I see it being done in Mossy Oak Break-Up. Camouflage has been the calling card for hunters and outdoorsmen for years. But now with the advancement of technology and companies like Mossy Oak Graphics, we are able to apply that lifestyle to just about all of our other hobbies. It allows us to make the statement “It’s not a passion, it’s an obsession” without saying a word. And anytime you see someone driving down the road with your favorite color on their vehicle, you know they are one of your own.
Good luck to Brian Canoles in this season MI Rock Series and at Hagerstown Drag Strip. Thanks for sharing your time and awesome bike with us!