Ashon “Capo” Dickerson – Killer Instinct
I met Ashon “Capo” Dickerson while shooting Rickey Gadson’s Drag Racing School in 2011. He took notice of my passion for photography as I noticed his unrelenting passion for racing.
With his cool, laidback style and eagerness to show others his passion for racing, combined with our passion for our respective craft, it was inevitable that we would shoot together.
I arrived in Newark, NJ for our shoot as Capo and his team were loading “Goldie” his Suzuki GSXR 1000 in the trailer. As cars rode by his busy street, the home boys were blowing their horns and giving shout outs. Teenage boys and girls walked up in astonshiment and exchanged fist pumps with Capo. It was immediately apparent this young racer had mad love in his community. After our photo shoot I met Capo’s wife Stefanie, kids, mom, and father; all of which are just as passionate about racing. I had brief conversations with the family with no intent of doing an interview. However, realizing afterwards what a great story this would make. One particular comment from the conversation with Capo’s father stood out and that was, Capo really has that “Killer Instinct” as a racer. In addition to racing, you can also find his monthly drag race column “Capo’s Cut” with Sport Bikes Inc. magazine. Enjoy the one-on-one.
Roadkill: How did you get into drag racing sport bikes?
Capo: My Mom and Pops were both sport bike drag racers. As long as I can remember I wanted to be a drag racer. As a kids we would drag race on my BMX and dirt bikes. We even set up mock drag races with my Hot Wheels racing cars in the house when we couldn’t get outside. I was always challenging my boys to races. I born to drag race.
Roadkill: When did you actually begin racing?
Capo: During the summer of 1999 my Pops was loading up the trailer headed down to Englishtown, NJ to race. I asked him if I could race also. He began talking trash and said if I wanted to race I had to go ride my Mom’s 1994 Honda 1000cc CBR to the race track. So I jumped on the offer and followed parents to the track. My first pass on the track was over 100 mph. After that I was hooked.
Roadkill: So when did you decide to go professional?
Capo: After my serious accident in 2003 from street racing. I stopped street racing and focused on developing my skills as a racer. I watched films of races in the off season. I started winning bracket races up and down the East Coast from Orient Expressâ€™ Top Street Bike Series, MIROCK, NOPI,to NHRA. I was awarded the NHRA divisional “The Wally” trophy, an accomplishment not many racers can claim. In 2008 I won Pinks “Arm Drop” race, receiving a $20,000 custom “Pinks Arm Drop” bobber.
Roadkill: What was one of the worst times in your history racing?
Capo: My life-threating accident in 2003. I actually died in the operating room and was revived, remaining in a coma for nine days. I realized life was too short and it too precious. I have zero tolerance for bull shit. Since then I can count no more than 15 times riding on the street like that.
Roadkill: Has been hard getting sponsors?
Capo: Hell yeah! You must invest in yourself first before even stepping to a corporate sponsor. Getting corporate sponsorship isn’t only about doing well on the track, but also off the track. Having a positive image in the public eye and how to conduct business is a must. If you’re fortunate to get a sponsor you have to work hard to keep that sponsor. Nothing is guaranteed. I like to thank my title sponsor Schampa, Pirelli Motorcycle Drag Racing, K&N Filters and Scorpion Helmets for being part of my team. Fans can see more of my sponsors at www.adickersonracing.com.
Roadkill: What has racing done for you in general?
Capo: It has taken me places I would never have seen. It’s also provided me the opportunity to meet people from other parts of the country and the world. Racing has also allowed me to help motivate and inspire young people who have similar a background as I do. I love this sport!
Roadkill: What is your advice to the young racers looking to be the next Capo?
Capo: I would never, never advise anyone to do any level of street racing what-so-ever. Do your racing on the track where it is a controlled environment. I also learn a lot from watching video footage. I’ve actually learned more this way by observing experienced racers. You also can’t listen to everybody’s advice. If they see a Capo or Rickey Gadson come holler. Find that someone who will not steer you wrong and get that seat time in. Last of all, you have to be mentally tough to jump in the shark tank.
Words and Pix:
Samuel “Roadkill” Still / Buffalo Soldiers