My name is Sgt. Mark Welch, and along with some fellow officers at my Sheriff’s Department, in 2010 we established a local chapter of Beat the Heat, Inc. In case you are not familiar, Beat the Heat is a 501(c)3 charity that uses Law Enforcement themed race vehicles to teach young drivers about the dangers of Illegal Street Racing as well as other related issues such as Distracted Driving. Our chapter, Gwinnett County, GA-Beat the Heat, has a small team of 3 race vehicles, and a staff of 6 people. During the school year we take the vehicles to our local schools and events where we can reach out to the students and young drivers in the hopes we can make our roads safer and save lives. And during the warmer months, we “take it to the track.”
Unless someone has stepped up in the past few months that I am not aware of, I am currently running the ONLY Law Enforcement themed drag-bike in the program. I rescued my ’05 GSX-R 1000 from an impound yard in late 2010 and did my best to bring it back to life on a very limited budget. While on display at the NHRA Southern Nationals in May of 2011 it caught the eye of someone who thought he could help take things to the next level…and he did not disappoint. Within a few short weeks we had support coming in from people around the country, including Dusty Schaller of DynoJet, and the unbelievably generous Brock Davidson. They were able to help us obtain some much needed parts to turn our “junkyard bike” into a pretty stout little Gixxer. A fresh coat of paint, a full titanium exhaust, air shifter, and a PC-V was just the right medicine to get this bike running 9.4’s. Since then it has been featured in several publications, and on numerous websites.
The bike has seen quite a bit of track time since the rebuild in the summer of 2011. Its first major event was the 2011 Beat the Heat World Finals in Chattanooga where it became a quick fan favorite. All through 2011 and 2012 it has drawn a crowd everywhere it goes. From shows, to events, to schools, and to the track…everyone seems to love seeing the blue police strobes flashing through the sound of that Suzuki motor.
But, we felt it necessary to tear down the bike this winter to see what “damage” we have done over the past 18 months of track action and found we need to make some repairs. So, that is what brings me to you. When we pulled the clutch out we found one of the clutch plates broken in half, and it had managed to do some damage to the basket and hub. Unfortunately our resources barely cover our day-to-day operations and fuel costs. I am now at a point where I have to reach out to the racing community for some help. We are looking for a complete clutch assembly…hub, basket, fibers, and steels. I am hoping we can find someone who has the ability to help us collect these parts so we can get it ready for 2013, or the bike will be reduced to nothing more than a display piece. We are currently scheduled to appear at the 2013 Great American Motorcycle Show this coming January 27th in Norcross, GA, but the calendar is not our friend right now. If we can be fortunate enough to cross paths with someone who has the resources to help our program, we keep this one-of-a-kind Suzuki on the track where it has been showing kids how to race the right way….on the track, not the street. I am hoping there is someone out there who may be the link that helps us get this bike back on the racetrack. What I am asking is if you know of someone who would be capable and willing to assist our program, could you please forward this information to them so that they can contact me. ANY help we can get will be greatly appreciated.
Sgt. Mark Welch
Gwinnett County, GA – Beat the Heat